Waaaait…this is the Frikkin’ Top!

All in all, hill repeats last night went well. I say all in all because, depending on when you talked to me at repeats, my answer would have ranged anywhere from really well to “@!#!” (that being the indescribable grunt I make when I can’t breathe, not some four-letter word that I’m afraid to type…not that I can think of any words I wouldn’t type if they were appropriate anyway).

And now for a medium to extremely lengthy, occasionally over detailed break down of each repeat that I always claim is “short”.

  1. Normal-mode: I actually started this round one gear above the lowest. Yeah, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but I could tell the difference! I ended up downshifting about 60% of the way up; hey – it’s a start, right? Struggled a bit (mentally more than anything) on this round, but made it all the way to the last bend in the road.
  2. Spinnin’: It seems like I should be able to claim that I actually dropped a gear this week, but that may be exaggerating slightly. I did, whenever I wasn’t thinking about breathing, manage to keep the cadence up a little higher. Easier than round one, even though I had to keep up some pretty set breathing patterns to do it.
  3. On Your Feet: I get better at this every week, but I still can’t go the whole way out of the saddle. Word to the wise: Sweaty palms (even with gloves on!) really puts a damper in the sway motion you get while standing. I had to sit down the first time after nearly losing grip on the hoods, but…for the first time ever…I got back out of the saddle twice more up the hill. Woohoo! This was the round where I yelped out loud “What the hell? This is the freakin top!” upon hitting that very last bend a third time in a row. I apparently haven’t been paying my “fast people please climb quickly” dues!
  4. Pushme-Pullyou to the top: Circle pedaling is a nifty animal, as you definitely can feel a change in performance to energy output when you do it. I actually try and do this pretty much anytime I’m capable of rational thought, which apparently could stand to be a bit more often. This was my best round overall. I hit the top without much of a struggle, and wasn’t even doing my fish-out-of-water impression for too long at the top. Yay me!
  5. Down and Back to the Summit: For every good round, there must be a corresponding not-so-good one. My legs were basically rubber at this point, and I had at least two moments of “there is NO way” thoughts that I had to work hard to push through to stay in the saddle. I did make it, and I was panting. Sometimes, I guess, just getting there is enough.

The descents were good, although I couldn’t quite reach my top speed from last week – and not for lack of trying. I got a second wind out of nowhere on the ride home and decided to chase pretty much anyone that flew by my as best I could. Granted, the very fastest smoked me all but instantaneously, but I hung with the middle-front pack pretty well. Interestingly enough, my top speed for the night came on the very last downhill stretch right before the park, not from Mt. Eden. I topped out at 34.9 (damn you elusive 35!), and was feeling pretty darn proud until Ruth blew by me like I was standing still. Oh well – I still get my small victories, right?

Just to show that I’m always learning at the repeats, I thought I’d give you a taste of this week’s lessons:

  • You aren’t really in shape until you can do hill repeats while singing. Apparently it’s thought to be more socially acceptable than cursing, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the tune to fit in between gasping for air. #@!@ and !#@# fit nicely.
  • it is considered a faux pas to kick teammates down the hill in a fit of jealous rage just because they can sing and you can’t. Actually, kicking anyone down anything is rather frowned upon. Shockingly. How did I end up on this team again?
  • “Rolling up Mount Eden” to the tune of Proud Mary is really catchy and you can (and will) sing it for days, even when there are no hills in sight. Try it now if you want to see…go on, do it!
  • People with shaved legs are more aerodynamic and therefore ride faster. I am the obvious, freakish exception to this rule. I personally blame the fluffy red ponytail, but as of yet have been unwilling to sacrifice my head of hair to test the theory.
  • “That’s my spot” during hill repeats refers to that steep-ish banked part of the road that I find mentally challenging, and nothing more than that. Pointing this out to Patrick as he rides by is funnier than hearing him talk about men who shave their legs (at least to me).
  • Don’t fly by someone on the left with very little warning, unless you want to be on the receiving end of a spit out bug. Lucky for me I was the spitter this time. Well, not so lucky for the recipient or the bug, but I’m due at least a little selfishness after 5 repeats…no?
  • Hill repeats are fun enough that people who can’t ride them still come to the dinner afterwards. Often! Well, maybe said people just really like Chipotle (or theoretically the company) but …whatever. If you haven’t come to repeats yet, the post-ride food/people alone make it worthwhile.

I’m sure there are more, but it’s late and I’m sleepy. See you all for the “Not your Buddy” Buddy Ride on Saturday! And yes, that makes three posts in one day, as it’s still before midnight. At least I’m caught up now and can no longer be harassed for slacking…about blogging.

Distance: 14.75mi

Time: 1:12:00ish

Avg MPH: 12.6

Max MPH: 34.9 (grrrrrrrrr!)


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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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