A Shocking Revelation

It occurred to me last night, bounding into Chipotle after our ride that I might…gulp *insert pause for dramatic effect*…like hill repeats. Now whether or not this is simply a result of the brain-happy-endorphins working their magic on my mind is up for debate, but I fear that I may be morphing into one of those cycling obsessed, wishes-they-were-riding-rather-than-normal-fun-activities types! Granted, I haven’t gone all “Death Ride” or “STP in one day” crazy yet, but if I’m in possibly the best mood I’ve had all week after five arduous trips up a large hill…can a double century goal be far behind?? (Realistically, yes – very far behind actually, as I currently fear Saturday’s upcoming 45 miles.)

All of this is not to say that repeats last night were easy. Mother nature was being a bit of a tease, and the cool winds I had up in Dublin decided not to follow me down to Foothill. The first three trips up were overly hot, and I had to maintain some very strictly cadenced breathing (let’s not mention the sweating) to keep going. Then, the sun went down, the sweat dried, and my warmed up muscles contracted. A lot. I went from overheated to freezing in literally 10 minutes; I would have killed for my arm warmers, which were safe and sound in the front seat of the truck. Sigh.

Weather issues aside, I actually thought this was one of my best hill repeats performances yet (despite missing almost all my rides last week). A quick rundown of the trips:

  1. Moderate exertion: I felt really strong the first time up, despite the heat. I hit my personal best for distance up the hill, although I was still in my lowest gear. Maybe next week I’ll try it up one…maybe…
  2. More Spinning: I couldn’t drop a gear, but tried to spin more when I could. Surprisingly, I hit almost the same spot on the hill before coming back down.
  3. Standing: This is still hard for me. I started in way too low of a gear and had to sit down a couple times to bring the gears up (which is super easy to do when already on the hill. Riiiiiight. A bit of gear crunching later and I got out of the saddle for a good bit. Unfortunately, by this run up, the heat was really getting to me, and I had to sit and spin it in the low gears…doing a bit of gasping.
  4. Circle-pedal – to the TOP: I found a gear faster than last time, and focused (when I could breathe) on the push-pull pedal method. Surprisingly enough, with the newly cooled off weather, I made it up in pretty good time and feeling better than the repeat before.
  5. Down and up again (aka torture time): Coach Dave gave some quick instructions on descending before our last down-and-up repeat. Now, I was already a master (or overconfident novice) at “inside foot up” and “get in the drops”, but the added note of “put your weight on the outside foot” was new to me. Logically, it made sense, but I never really consciously thought about it before. And what a difference it made in my descent!! I didn’t go a ton faster – maybe 4-5mph, but I felt much more in control, especially on the tighter turns. Who knew descending would be SO FUN?! I did make it all the way to the top again, huffing and puffing (and freezing) a good bit.

And then it was back to the cars, off to dinner, and commence with the bouncing. (Apologies to anyone I bowled over with freakish-happy-Jamie at dinner.) Speaking of food, I tried out some new stuff last night:

Brand Flavor Rated (1-10) Notes
GU Orange Burst 5 My least favorite of the GU brand’s flavors so far. Something about the orange flavored gels really seems to let the chemical-y ingredients taste through. Not horrible, but not a fan either.
Clif Shot Bloks Cran-Razz 9 One of my favorite flavors, turned into a block. Mmmm raspberry.
Powerbar Gel Raspberry Creme 7 “Borrowed” from Ron, the first Powerbar product I didn’t instantly hate. Actually not an overpowering flavor, nor was there a pasty texture. A decent gel option, and again…yay raspberries!
Clif Bar Cranberry Apple Cherry 7 A bit lighter than some of the other bars, possibly due to the fruit bits. Still a bit long on the chewing side, but OK for a before-ride food.

That’s about it for now. Note that we’ll have to monitor this potential obsession closely over the next few weeks (I mean, I seriously can’t afford to let it make me spend more!). Perhaps the intimidating sounding 45miles this weekend will be a good counterpoint to this developing love-affair. Bring it on!

Distance: 14.75mi

Time: 1:17:053

Avg MPH: 11.5

Max MPH: 35.4 (woot!)


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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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