I mean, really. I found this place 6 months into my current journey. To know you are not alone -truly not alone- really helps to keep the motivation high. It proves that just because we're over 50, we ain't dead. Not by a long shot. We are share the common ups and downs of pursuing a physical dream -to ride- at a "certain age". Some -many? most?- here do some pretty wonderous things and we constantly push to be better. And if you push, you WILL get better. Isn't it a wonderous thing?
And when I read of people who have never climbed before and try just because they haven't.
And when I read of people who do climb who work to make harder climbs, longer climbs... climbs beyond their abilities, maybe. For now anyway.
It makes me try harder. And I win. Like tonight. As I've mentioned a few times, there's no way out of Pacifica that doesn't involve a 600+ climb. I've tried a couple with varying degrees of success. They're hard. Climbing with asthma is just going to be. OK, fine. But there's one way out that I've sized up a number of times and it has always convinced me I wasn't ready. But I've never tried any of the climbs with the LeMond and certainlt not this one. Until tonight. I've never actually analyzed the geography of my rides in toto. Tonight I did and it was revelatory.
I live at 202' above sea level.
From here it's a pretty rapid drop and by the time I get to my central jumping off point, I'm at 89'
So, I head for this beast of a climb and I go 3/4 of a mile to get back to 202' - a 3% climb.
From here, I broke it into segments where I would stop, more to mentally collect myself before moving on.
1096' at 7.8% followed by 660' at 13.5%. Then things get easier: 750' at 11.8% but after that comes 495 ' at 16%. I'm somewhere in the vacinity of 500' above sea level. At no time did my HR get over 167bpm. That's a first. I worked at timing my breathing and taking "belly breaths". Wow, it really works.
So, now I'm riding pretty much level for a mile, mile and a half, then I drop down considerably.
I'm ready to drop back down toward home. But I see another climb and I know what's at the end of that climb. What the heck... I climb 1460' of a 13.2% grade and just below the top I see a side road drop down. I take it; spirit of discovery, right? And find that know I have to climb 1287' at 5.8%.
And I made it. So, where am I and what's waiting for me? I'm at 685' above sea level and I get to drop back down to 202' (lower actually and then I have the last climb home. That one I did all out of the saddle). The 483 feet drop first down a 17% grade -the sign says so- followed by a 19% drop.
Believe me this is an accomplishment. I just cannot believe I did this. And except for a few ocassions where I wanted to give myself a break, I didn't use my granny. OK, I'm convinced: road bikes really are different. Now I know, I'm free.
I never would have tried this but for all of you and for that, I thank you.
Pictured to follow