Climbing Hills

The weather this morning was perfect for cycling. A few white puffy clouds, temperatures between 65 and 75, and a light breeze. My training plan had 60 miles scheduled, but since I was not able to ride outside last week, I road 52 and will save the 60 miler for next week. I left from my home following a course I mapped out. The first twenty miles go through the hilliest parts with a net drop in elevation of about 300 feet. Do not assume it was all fast, it is rolling hills with several good climbs. Around 22 miles in I ride along a river out and back for the next 24 miles. It is mostly flat with a few significant climbs. Then there is the six mile ride home. That would be a 300 foot elevation gain in six miles, with the majority of it in the last four miles. At this point I drop into my “granny gears” and push home.

Along the ride I made sure to refuel with gels and Stinger Honey Waffles (great for eating on the bike) also taking an electrolyte capsule every hour. I am focusing part of my training on nutrition and stretching to prevent cramping on the run. Climbing as many hills as I did today, I knew this would be a good test. I made it home averaging around 15 mph (pleased considering the hills), changed into my running shoes and ran two miles. My run felt good, my right quad had a subtle feeling of tension, but no cramps ever materialized. When I finished I felt I had accomplished a good workout. My half iron distance triathlon is seven weeks away and I feel I am preparing well, on target with my training.

A few things came to mind while I road. Since I was alone, it gave me time to think through a few things. The bike course for the race in September only has one significant hill and it is not a long distance. I know the hills I ride are making me stronger, but I also want to get a few rides in closer to my race pace. I know I should be able to ride the 56 mile course between 17.5 to 18.5 miles per hour. Next week I may drive out to the Cuyahoga National Park and ride a much more modest terrain. Also while I road I was passed up by a woman cruising very fast on her bike. I didn’t know how far she had ridden, I was at 44 miles at that point. My legs were feeling the 44 miles and she was able to practically float by. I was riding at a 17 mph pace too, so she had to have been at 22 mph or more. While I admired her talent I also wanted to train to reach that level. If I want to be there by next year I will have to continue with my hills a few rides a week but also ride all year long. In the past I have hung my bike up in late September only to dust it off in April. That may be changing this year…

As I climbed the big hills home I acknowledge that pride is also a hill I have to conquer. I don’t like having long rides where I average 15 mph when I race well over 17 mph. It was humbling to be passed up too. But I also have to remember that this is my journey. There will always be someone faster than me and I will be able to pass others up too, even on the swim and run. My worth is based on far more than how fast I can finish a race. What I choose to do with each day, each moment, I am give on my journey through life matters most. If I am able to motivate or encourage one person to see the joy in life, then I have won my race.

Published by elisariva

I want to encourage everyone to follow your passions, not just what is easy. It is in overcoming hurdles and barriers that we truly test our limits and abilities. There is much more we are capable of if we only believe in ourselves.

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