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The difference a year makes.

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The difference a year makes.

Old 10-21-18, 08:06 AM
  #1  
Harvieu25
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The difference a year makes.

This is the end of my third year cycling and the learning process, constant possibility for improvement and never ending challenge are what motivate me to keep going. A year ago I rode the Hincapie gran fondo and if you aren't familiar with it, it has three hard climbs separated by lots of rollers. It's 80 miles and 8K climbing. The first climb is 24 miles into the ride and is 3.95 miles long and averages 9%. This climb alone last year did me in. Averaged 170 bpm for 40 minutes with a max of 183, my max to date. I was toast the rest of the ride. This year I had been building on a progressive program and felt much better going into this ride again, yesterday.
Anyway, I worked my way into the climb starting conservative and smooth. Slowly increasing my pace throughout the climb I realized I was smiling and in a pretty jubilant mood. I'd chat with folks as I passed and all the while smiling. I was having a blast and this was the most fun I have ever had on a bike, the climb seemed very easy and I bettered last years time by 4 minutes. One guy I passed said I was making it look way too easy, and on this day it was. I was in such high spirits it carried me through the next two climbs with similar joy, although the second climb is a brute. Went into the third climb thinking I'd only cruise since I had maybe used a little too much on the first one, but the legs came back and I sailed up it as well. Now, I am by no means a good/fast climber, but the feeling I experienced while tackling it was something new.
I have read many times about positive feelings and thoughts giving a positive outlook and outcome but this was much more than imagined. I went into the first climb in a neutral state mind just wondering how it would go and if it would kill me again. But, as I got into it the legs were feeling good and I started to up the pace. That is what brought my thinking of it into a positive light and from then on I was very happy.
Each person I passed I tried to share the positive emotions with and that fed me even more. This will feed me through the winter...
Do you guys/gals have similar stories from your years of riding? Feel free to share.
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Old 10-21-18, 02:06 PM
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rollagain
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Sounds like you got an endorphin rush. Congrats on your progress; it always feels great to basically walk over something that used to knock you down.
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Old 10-21-18, 02:17 PM
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I get a chuckle every time I dart up a hill that I looked as an insurmountable mountain when I first started riding.
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Old 10-22-18, 04:39 AM
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My climbing goes through a similar pattern every year. At the beginning of the season I am in the small ring/big cog lagging seriously behind my gf and almost all the other riders on our clubs' B ride. By the end of the season I am going over the "sprinter's hills" in the big ring and a smaller cog. By then I'm also climbing with my gf and am mid-pack on B ride climbs. That's a really good feeling. Congrats on your progress.
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Old 10-22-18, 12:15 PM
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I had a moment like that a few months ago--I thought I was "dogging it" and was momentarily worried about my lack of energy on a long ride (very hot day). I looked down at my gps/phone and realized I was cruising at what would have been my top speed a year earlier. I just wasn't feeling like it was a huge effort, and realized there was no real limit on how long I could maintain that pace, with plenty of room to accelerate beyond that when I felt like it.
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Old 10-22-18, 01:44 PM
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I helped a friend start riding just a few years ago. And this summer he completed his first 100 mile ride with a smile on his face and his legs on ice.
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Old 10-22-18, 02:01 PM
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Old school riders talk of having a "no chain day." Sounds like you had one. It's an awesome feeling, isn't it?
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Old 10-22-18, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Old school riders talk of having a "no chain day." Sounds like you had one. It's an awesome feeling, isn't it?
Indeed!
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Old 10-22-18, 08:11 PM
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Last year I started cycling again. A friend of mine who came to visit bought a bike for me (I paid him to pick it up) and came out and we did a few rides together to start. I will say that Its pretty hilly where I live. My flattest 20 mile ride is 1200 feet of climbing and it hits 12% on a section of one of the climbs.

My first couple times out I couldn't make the hill. I literally had to stop and get off the bike and lay down because I thought I was going to pass out. Grateful that my friend waited for me, phone at the ready to call 911.

The winter came and the bike went away. FFwd to this summer and my goal was to get the bike back out and get in the top 10 on Strava on this climb (Its remote where I live and there are like 40 people total who have made this climb so not like Im up against semi-pros here) I also wanted to loose 15 pounds and try to keep it off through the winter.

I will say that when I first started getting over the hill, my thoughts were the fastest people on this bike had to be on ebikes. There was no way someone could take this hill 6-7 minutes faster. But by the end of this summer I made the top 3 on each side of the climb. I was within about a minute or so of the KOM.

It was hard work. But I feel better now than I have in 10 years. I also bought a bike this year for the winter (gravel) and am going to try to keep riding through the winter season.

To top it all off my wife has started riding with me and wants to ride Seattle to Portland next year (200 miles in 2 days).

Thanks for posting this. Cycling is something Ive always been into since I was younger and its great being halfway through life and still being able to enjoy it as much as I did 30 years ago.

-Sean
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Old 10-24-18, 04:58 AM
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Sean- That's excellent. My GF and I got together because of cycling. She wanted to learn to ride and I had decades of experience. I helped her size and choose a bike and we started riding together. I had been off the bike for 8 years. So, she actually got me back on the bike. We have been riding together for 14 years and living together for 12 of those years. Like you I have struggled with climbs but love the feeling of being in shape and actually climbing well. Hard work to get there but worth it. I also set some TT goals for myself. I have a 6.5 mi. TT that I did last year at 17.4 mph. I was hoping to get to 18 mph this year. Shocked myself by actually hitting 19.2 mph! I'm 72. Rock on.
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Old 10-24-18, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Shocked myself by actually hitting 19.2 mph! I'm 72. Rock on.
Wow. Bruce, thats amazing at 72. Seriously, I cannot think of 1 person I know over 65 who would be able to put in 20 miles at a good clip much less average 19mph over a 6 mile section.

-Sean
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