It's a really good thing that the bike portion of my race this month is on flat ground or I might come in last or dead.
After watching the cyclists on Saturday I decided it's time to face my climbing fears. Is it that I am weak or is it the clip less pedals that has me freaked out? You are right, it's both.
So the canyon that I ran down last year for my marathon was THE goal today. I had a 2 1/2 hour ride scheduled on the calendar. However far I could get in half that time [making an out and back ride] was my first step towards kicking this fear and pushing myself to become a better rider.
I took a familiar route to the canyon and reached it in about 9 miles. Then the ascent started. I am sure I looked like a snail. I had 2 riders pass me. My quads and hamstrings were burning. Still, I didn't allow myself to stop. I put it on a lower gear and kept spinning.
Looking at the map now I can't believe that the climb was only 4 miles. It felt like 10. And took about as long as my ride to the canyon. I've obviously got some work to do. And just a side note, clip less pedals are awesome for hills. How do you take hills without them?
And get this, the racers on Saturday averaged a 7.8% grade for 15 miles. Me today...yeah...2.3% for 4 miles. Felt like death. Maybe because it was like 96 degrees during my ride. It was like exercising in hell. I kept thinking, "I can't wait to take this in the fall. It's gonna be great!" [I downed 1.5 L in my camel back and 1 1/2 bottles of water during the ride. I guarantee I sweat that all out though. I was crusted over in salt by the end of my ride. Sick, right? ]
All in all thought, I really did actually enjoy it. You may call me crazy. But with the memory of the marathon, it was nothing as hard as running 26.2. Biking is so much easier -- MENTALLY. Plus when you get to the top of the mountain you get to turn around and soar down, which is so rad. Makes you feel like a superhero. Or a bad ass. Depends on the day and how many/how fast you take the corners. [Something about cornering feels more bad ass than superhero...I can't explain it. It just does.]