I’m really enjoying mixing short intense rides with long steady rides this year. Today was a short all-out-effort ride on the Milton Triathlon bike course (ROUTE MAP) which included my nightmare 6th Line hill. After last year‘s experience up this hill, I didn’t plan on revisiting the horror until the weather gets hot (not just warm) this year. Too bad patience is not my strong suit. Today reached a high of 5C; complete with full-fingered gloves, leg warmers, 2 baselayers, a long sleeved jersey, and butterflies in my stomach all morning, I braved my fear once again.
My freshly tuned-up bike was so smooth. A quick shout-out to Skiis & Biikes for a fantastic job. I brought Garneau in last week for a tune-up and to drop the stem. The shifting was spectacular and they even cleaned my wheels, rims, and frame without asking. I am indeed a very satisfied customer. I’ll be dropping the stem by another spacer the next time I go since I didn’t feel much “slicing the air” difference yet.
Instead of riding a long haul to Milton from home like last year, pedaling began at Milton to shorten the distance. With only 30km ahead of me, I owed it to myself to go hard without reserving any ounce of energy. The hill was as menacing as I vividly remembered and my legs quivered as I approached it. As I climbed, my breathing became Darth Vader-like, all my focus turned to my upstrokes as my gearing shifted lower and lower. I purposely saved a few gears for the top part of the hill as my secret weapon for survival. Once at the top, I learned from my mistake last year. Rather than stopping & hunching over the bike like death and resulting in jello legs, I spun at high cadence to spin out the acid. That felt much better and my body recovered much quicker.
With this hill behind me, I was left with rolling hills where I practiced some out-of-the-saddle climbs. I still couldn’t balance through an entire uphill but I’ll get it one day. It wasn’t until 20km when I truly felt fatigue but every time my speed dropped below 25kph, I panicked and tried to pick up the pace. Near the end of the ride was the reward – the exhilarating feeling of zooming down the hill I feared. I’m struggling to understand why I couldn’t hit last year’s 67kph down the hill; I only achieved 55kph and my hands were on the drops with body as flat as I could! On the final homestretch, I tried sprinting but my legs were thick and all I could muster was maintaining as fast of a cadence as I could.
What a terrific ride!! I was happy with my pace and hope to retry this route later in the season to beat this time. With my lack of soreness post-ride, I know I can push myself harder next time.
Thanks to my buddy Garry for filming and editing the video, both you and I can view your author in action for the 1st time. It’s certainly the best way to observe riding form. Enjoy!
If anyone has good climbing tips that work for you (other than, “ride more hills!”), please share!!