Do any of you ever measure your fitness? See where you stand now compared to last month, last year.
I'm not a racer, just a trail rider but I do like to push myself and I'm always striving to become faster and fitter on my bike.
Yesterday morning I headed out to a trail near my house to do some hill intervals. On the way to the trail the fog was really thick, in fact it was so thick that is looked like it was raining. It was damp, windy, and very cold. I wasn't quite prepared for this type of weather. I almost turned around and went home but I decided to at least get the intervals out of the way. I did a very fun 3.5 mile downhill which took me down to the bottom of the Preserve. The climb out is about 4.3 miles with 1600' of elevation change. It starts out relatively flat at the bottom and becomes increasingly steep as you go up. I used the bottom part as a way to warm up my legs before getting to the steep sections for the intervals. Get to the steep stuff and start out my first interval...OUCH! These things hurt! My legs were still tired from the previous day. I was in too much pain so I wussed out and cut the interval times down to 5 minutes. I ended up doing three 5 minute intervals up the climb. I finally get to the top of the climb and start to wonder if I'm fitter now than I was at this time last year. So, I decide to see how long I keep riding out here.
Last year I did two loops of these trails and they kicked my arse. My ride ended up being 20 miles with 8.6 miles worth of climbing and 3400' of elevation change. But I had to stop halfway up the climb on the second loop and I suffered the entire way. I wanted to know if I could do better than that.
I came back down the hill and back up another climb which I hadn't successfully climbed without stopping. The climb is 3.3 miles with sections of 15% grade. Let me tell ya, climbing a 15% grade that is muddy hurts to no end. I was wishing I had a granny gear but for some reason, maybe I enjoy pain, I kept going and made it to the top without stopping. But as if that wasn't enough suffering I decided to do it once more. Well, I'll spare you the rest of the excruciating details but here is the final tally:
3 hours and 39 minutes worth of riding.
26.5 miles total
13.9 miles of climbing
5,050' of elevation change.
I've climbed that many miles before but I believe that is the most elevation change I've ever done. Next goal is 6k. I have now set my sights on doing 10,000' of elevation change during a ride in October. I don't know if I'll make it but I'm definitely going to keep pushing myself.
I think you'd probably leave me in the dust Carlos. Don't know if I could keep up with you. I'm sure age has something to do with it. But I do try to constantly improve too. I've come a long way since I started riding. When I started last year I'd do a 4 mile loop (very hilly), and have to stop several times to catch my breath. Today I did 15 miles nonstop and twice as fast. It's a great feeling when you know you've gotten better.
I met a guy from Kansas who I've been riding with who wants me to do the Flint Hills Death Ride in Kansas with him in August.
We've been training hard but I'm not sure I'll be ready for it. It definately won't be cold and damp!
If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough...
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Isn't a great feeling seeing yourself improve on a daily basis?
I still remember my very first mountain bike ride. I snapped my chain a couple of times , fell down an embankment and pushed my bike up every little hill I saw.
But I think that's part of the appeal of riding, the challenges.