I did my final training ride today in preparation for my first organized metric century in the Tour de Foothills next weekend. In the past month, I've ridden at least a full metric or more every weekend, and today rode 50 but did 87% of the climbing (including the two toughest hills) at a challenging pace. The hills seem flatter, even Baldy Rd! My HR is a few beats lower on that climb every week. In spite of feeling a little tired when we started today, I finished strong in the front of the pack.
I know this is small potatoes for many of you, but feeling good on Baldy Rd. and thinking it seems flatter is BIG for me. Last month, that hill scared me; I got serious about it only last month, and now I can talk while climbing, and encourage the other riders around me to "believe in your legs!". It could be that I've climbed it each weekend, or increased my fuel consumption (including gels) on rides, or the wonderful people I've ridden with, the spin classes and workouts with weights, or just believing I can. I'm thrilled to feel the results after weeks of hard work, going to the gym after work when I didn't feel like it, getting up before 6:00 on my Saturday off, and pushing through fear and apprehension when I wondered if I could keep pace with the other riders or conquer the hills without stopping (I did!). When the hard hills get flatter, I know I'm getting there. Every week, my confidence grows.
My only challenge now is putting this out of my mind this week so I will get some good sleep!