Making friends with the hills and mountains

After my last blog post, I was in a strange place.  I was feeling slow and weak.  I was frustrated because I felt like I should have been much stronger and faster at the beginning of this season considering how far I’d come by the fall and with everything I’d been doing during the winter.  But no, I was feeling like a lousy rider and riding like one!  At the same time, I was heavily stressed.  So, the thought of doing exercises to cause more pain in my muscles gave me a deep sense of angst.  To top it all off, I’ve been fried and in major need of a vacation.

Well, I am happy to report that things have been looking up – quite a bit!  First off, we are finally looking at places to rent for a week down at the beach and will book something in the new few days.  So, our vacation is less than a month away – hurray!

Next, I have been able to turn around several things with regards to my riding.  The first thing I did was “make friends” with hills.  After I wrote that last blog post, it was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders.  Apparently, I just needed to get all the “stuff” out, write it out.  (This is a technique I’ve used many times in the past when I had something I couldn’t on my mind but couldn’t fully figure it out.  So, I started writing and following my train of thought, and ‘lo, the true cause of my dark clouds was revealed as I hammered away at the keyboard.  Then ::poof!::, the sun begins to shine once again.)

So almost immediately after pressing the “post” button, I felt much better and started to smile, right away.  (Now, that’s my usual self!) 


I went out the next night and had a fantastic ride!  A couple of my friends joined me, and we did hill repeats.  Strangely enough, that felt really, really good.  I started to feel “in control”, again, and best of all, the endorphins returned in full measure!  That following Saturday, my friends and I hit a really nasty hill – one I hadn’t conquered, previously (b/c I didn’t know it was there).  It was a bear, but again, I was feeling like I was getting back into a good groove. 

So naturally then, I did something really crazy!

I organized a ride up those same 3 mountains I conquered back in the fall – the mountains of 3-Gap (Neel’s Gap, Wolfpen Gap, and Woody’s Gap).  Yeah – what?!  Was I nuts?  Perhaps.  Sharing how I did on that ride is a separate post all by itself.  So, scroll down when you’re done reading this, and click the red text button “Next Post” on the bottom right.

However to sum this post up, the work I’ve been doing both with hills and general time in the saddle is paying off.  Lately, I am getting back to using only my big chainring for most climbs, and I am hitting more even hills – ones I haven’t conquered previously or just haven’t tackled in quite a while.  Last night’s ride is a perfect example of that.  Plus on the steepest of the hills, I beat the others in my group to the top.  That Felt Good.  (You should have seen the look of surprise in one of the riders, a guy who is 18 years younger than I am! Hee hee hee.)

Progress.  Yeah, baby.