I rode the Seven Hills of Kirkland today.
I picked the shortest route (40 miles with 7 hills, with a 3,000-ft climbing elevation). I rode with a few other guys who are far, far more experienced than I am. I wasn't sure how I could keep up with them before we started. In the end, I did okay. I'm sure they set a good pace for me. Otherwise, I would have run out of gas before the goal.
What made me proud of myself was the hills - I was able to climb all the hills with relative ease - at least without running out of breath or stopping. I'm sure the granny gear (32T) helped, but I'm still happy.
But boy, those guys I rode with - they were FAST on descents. I had a real hard time keeping up with them there, and I was doing 35 MPH! I will need to start practicing riding downhill.
It's been a great experience for me. Not only has it been a lot of fun, it has encouraged me to keep riding and training - 'cause the more I do, the better I get.