Our local race team had try outs today -- a 3 mile time trial up a hill. I ride the hill several times a week but I haven't tried riding up it as fast as I can. I enjoy the scenery too much to blow by at high speed. Today was a different story.
Granted, this was a dog-and-pony show to show the team sponsors that we're really serious about qualifying our racers. Most of us are over 35, a good half-dozen over 50 (), and none of us (except our Fearless Leader, a former CAT 1/Pro) with more than a couple years' experience. In all there were about 15 of us -- including CGallagh, who didn't want to participate. Talk about guilt by association.
Several of us were perturbed that we had to try out at all, let alone in the off-season, with a few extra pounds and less fitness to carry around. Once we understood that it was to appease the sponsors it was easy to get that this was a mere benchmark for future reference.
It was the opposite of simplified biking. I watched my speedometer, I watched my HRM; one showed numbers too low for my liking, the other, numbers too high. My lungs ached, my quads burned, my eyes focused a few feet in front of the bike. My peripheral vision caught the herd of cattle combined with the herd of donkeys, all close to the road and watching dispassionately. I shifted up, pedaled faster, and wondered briefly what they thought.
The fastest man up the mountain was a really talented guy who loves to race. His time was 10 min. and change. I'm the oldest woman on the team and did it in 12:45. Second-fastest of the 5 women who rode it. And that's just fine by me. Secretly I was pleased that I was faster than some of the men, but I won't be resting on that laurel, because a few of them are seriously p*ssed about it. Hey, motivation is where you find it, right?
And that's my bike ride for the day -- 21 miles, 12+ minutes of pain, and a new PR. It doesn't get much better.