Something is wrong with my bike. I can’t believe it, I’ve only had it for a few months, but I’m going to have to load it up in the rig, haul it down to the shop, and have a little chat with the fella who built it to see how we can resolve the issue.
The problem is, it doesn’t seem to like to go up hills. If you’ve been following along for any length of time you know that I have a hill in my normal 12 mile loop, The Ravena Hill, that likes to beat me up. There are actually two hills, the one that eats me up for breakfast, and the one that I can make it up without too many problems…’the girl hill’ as my wife likes to call it — to point out just how much of a sissy rider I am. She’s the Mick to my cycling Rocky….
Anyway, Ravena…she’s been an evil hill temptress to me from the first time I laid eyes on her. Since I found out earlier this week that there will be 3000+ feet of elevation gain in our 70 mile ride in September, I’ve been focussing mind and body power on getting prepared for that ride. Nick thinks I’m pretty worked up about it, and well frankly, I suppose I am. So this morning, first thing I got out and decided I would attack some hills…and since I didn’t have a ton of time before needing to be at the office, I just headed for Ravena and figured I’d run up and down it a few times…but Ravena had other ideas in mind.
Since I hadn’t tried the steep side since the last time I went up it on my comfort bike, I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve got a hot, fast bike, I’m 25 lbs lighter than the last time, I’m stronger, faster, tougher, with more stamina and endurance than the last time I almost popped my head off trying to make it up that side…so surely I could get up it…right? Wrong. Even on the easiest chainring, in nearly the lowest gear, I got 1/3 of the way up, and hit that same wall. Stopped. And I knew it was coming fairly soon on, and this time I had a new challenge…I was clipped in, and all I could see was me getting to the place where I had no leverage, and had to pick which one of three ways I wanted to fall down…left, right, or straight back down the hill!
Fortunately, from somewhere deep down inside, I dug down, heard the Eye of Tiger playing, knew the giant I was facing, and found the strength to push myself….and unclip my shoe. Really, that’s all I wanted to be able to do at that point, just not fall over and slide back down that hill. I then found the strength to get off my bike, and do the walk of shame up the hill to where I could re-mount without falling down. Oh the shame. If you’re following along, that is now: Ravena 2, Paul 1.
Since I had one defeat under my belt for the morning, I figured I’d better find a way to have some success, so I headed out past Brooklake, down the Wheatland hill where I can rip it up past 30 mph for a few seconds, and as soon as I hit the bottom of the hill, I turned around, and headed back up. I then went back to the ‘girl side’ of Ravena, went down it, turned around, and came back up. I repeated this process another time, so I could get two good climbs at both hills, for a total of about 600 ft of elevation climb for the morning. Nothing amazing, but I am still hacking a bit from my cold, so it was at least a little victory for the day.
Somehow I need to figure out how to attack that steep side of Ravena and make it another notch in my belt, but it’s going to have to wait for another day…maybe even another month. For today I’m just happy to have the extra calories for Paddingtons tonight!