Power ups

For my first night back at hill repeats in awhile (7/21), the friendly folks at IPF (aka evil Al) decided to up the ante. Instead of just working on my “most favoritest thing ever,”  we’d combine two ol’ favorites and add zooming fast descents into steep inclines which, of course, require getting out of the saddle. Sounds like the most fun ever had on two wheels, right?! Yeah… I thought so too. To be fair, the coaches did give everyone an easier option. The C-pluses through Es had four 3-hill loops of short and steep climbs, while the As and Bs were sent up and back Concepcion – middle ring only style. As a self proclaimed solid C-minus who’d taken two weeks off repeats (due to work, of course), I was sorely tempted to roll with the A-B team. A good amount of harassment from teammates and coaches alike, I decided to give the hard mode a try… at least once.

With a glare at the ever-pressuring universe, I rolled out onto Concepcion for the first round. Truth be told, my performance was something of a mixed bag. My speed up the first climb was pretty average and I built up some decent momentum on the descent, but I didn’t downshift nearly enough heading into Westwind. Whatever grade that bastage of a hill possesses, it cannot be accomplished by me in my lowest mid-ring gear… even while standing. As my speed slowed to nearly negative, I began frantically dropping gears – until I dropped them right off the cassette and embedded the chain in my frame. Sweet. I managed to unclip before faceplanting, but was forced to abandon the rest of the climb and just head into the descent. I did manage the entirety of the Viscaino climb (despite additional downshift fail), but my persistant breathing issue led to some incredibly exciting panting along the way.

I couldn’t really call hard mode quits with only a high level of utter fail behind me, so I decided to press on. Round two was pretty much a direct repeat of round one, with bonus skateboarders to ruin my descent into evil Westwind. I managed to get into my little ring, but the loss of momentum into the climb wasn’t enough to hit the summit. Grrrrrr. After some labored panting recovery time (and possibly a packet of luna moons), I rolled out again for round three. This loop went a bit better. I sacrificed some power into the descent and dropped into the granny gears before I ever hit Westwind. I had to stand up earlier, but was able to keep turning the cranks all the way to the summit. Finally

I celebrated by… finishing the third loop climb up Viscaino (successfully, thank you very much), and heading back out for a fourth. No sense wussing out now, right? I continued my good climb karma and hit the summit of all three hills without incident (assuming you don’t count huffing and puffing constantly). As I gasped my way back to a normal heart rate, we waited for everyone to regroup in the parking lot for a demonstration on cornering. Jamii and Al gave an excellent talk on how to turn — without falling (always important).

Who even knew you could demo from a standstill?

Everyone took a few turns (pun intended) at low speeds before heading back to the park. With four rounds of difficult climb time under my belt, I was definitely ready for some Chipotle-reward dinner!

Hills and skills 4


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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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