Having participated in the superstitious rituals of my choice last evening, I was free to go on my search for ever bigger and hairier hills in the area this morning. Near Louisville lies the Jefferson Forest, one of those local treasures that I didn't know about until I started biking the roads.
In it courses Mitchell Hill Road, which goes up a 270 ft hill at about an 8% grade. Oh yes, I know some of you consider that a warm-up spin, but for us mortals its our personal Mt. Ventoux, and the largest hill I've ever attempted.
About two thirds up I was ready to quit. "Just get to the next turn so you can dismount safely", I thought. And when I got to the next turn, I had some leg left and I wasn't ready to puke, so I went one more turn and just one more turn until I was at the top of the hill. It was pretty cool.
I have a bike brochure (I'm blanking on the name) in which they recommend that you count up to 100 or recite the alphabet to distract you during the climb. I tried this and found it required too much effort. I had also reead that you can imagine that you are throwing a bungee-cord up to the next tree and convince yourself that the cord is pulling you up. This helped, believe it or not.
I felt so good about this that I had an option to climb Barralton Hill Road about 5 miles down the road. Of course I went for it. It goes up about 330 feet at about a 9-10% grade.
I used the bungee cords for a while, but I came to a stretch where the forest had been cut back away from the road and I lost my distraction. I also came close to blowing chow. I've decided that the 95% chow-blowing level is where I best back off, lest I hurt myself or stroke out or something.
So I made it up about 2/3 of the way up, then dismounted and pushed the bike for about 100 yards. I hadn't seen a roadie all day until that moment, and I'm sure he sneered as he sped by me going the opposited direction. I didn't donate any feces.
I'll get it next time, maybe.
Anyone have any other brain-washing or self-hypnosis techniques that they've found helpful climbing? I never listen to music because I don't think it's safe, but I bet it would be distracting. Any other ideas?