We participated in the City of Angels Fun Ride today, a benefit ride for the Childrens Hospital Bloodmobile Fund. Like the memorial ride in February, it started and ended at the Los Angeles Police Academy, with the same big hill at the end. Today's route was different in that it included other hills (though shorter ones) in addition to this hill -- the memorial ride did not.
Last time, I huffed and puffed to the top on my 30+ pound hybrid. I thought my chest would explode. This time, I was riding my Roubaix. Not feeling quite up to par after not riding much the past several weeks -- and knowing what that hill is like -- I dreaded it but tried to stay optimistic until that point. I knew what to do on the bike, I just needed to keep my mind strong.
As we approached, I shifted into the granny in front to prepare for the hill. This hill is where riders get off and walk. As I began to ascend, I reminded myself "You can do this... you did it on the hybrid and you can do it now." I reminded myself to not look up, just focus. I thought of my dad.
Suddenly I realized - "hey, this isn't as bad as I remembered!" Unbelievably, I was passing other riders like they were standing still. Halfway up, I looked down at the RD -- I still had two more rings left! Whoohooo! I'm doing this well, and I still have more rings! I shifted down to conserve my energy. I glanced into my mirror to check on Hubby... he's still riding! I made it to the crest with energy to spare, prepared for the next section, and made it to the top.
1-1/2 miles from bottom to top (with a short crest in the middle)... I have no idea the grade, but trust me, it's tough for a typical recreational rider (and some roadies too).
I was pulling approximately 22 fewer pounds this time (about 17 fewer on the bike and about 5 fewer on me), and I noticed the difference. Was it the bike? Was it me? I'll never know. But I do know this: I'm no longer afraid of that hill.
EDIT: The ride was 34+ miles and we completed it in 3.11 hours. There were two groups of riders - advanced and recreational. We chose the recreational group/route, but both ended with "the hill".