The leg warmers are finally ditched for good! This past weekend was a blast with the warm weather.
SATURDAY – Mock Healing Cycle (25km)
A short maxed-out effort ride, mimicking the annual Healing Cycle charity ride. It was a quick 25km there and back route (ROUTE MAP) with the 1st half being rollers and false flats. At 9km, a bizarre phenomenon happened when my lungs were too full of oxygen and rejected every breath. I had been taking in short breaths and didn’t exhale properly as I pushed the limit, resulting in cramps feeling similar to a runner’s stitch. Thankfully, a long wait at a traffic light gave me an opportunity to regain control over my breathing. The ride back was speedy with mostly downhill. My liking for these short burst rides increases every time because they boost up my confidence. Mimicking a real race offers motivation and a competitive mindset by setting a target time based on others’ results from previous years.
SUNDAY – Caledon East Hills (54km)
It was a tough ride with over 1990 ft elevation gain within this short distance (ROUTE MAP). We were originally aiming for 3 hill climbs but were saved by the rain clouds and had to cut it short.
The first climb was up St. Andrews Road with long rollers. To me, it honestly felt like one long uphill which is a similar setup to the grind up Gatineau Park to Belvédère Champlain in my upcoming Gran Fondo Gatineau race. Although painful, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and never once felt discouraged. It was the perfect practice with long uphills at manageable gradients. It was a slow ride up, the whole time thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to be racing at 12 kph in a few weeks!!” I practiced more out of saddle climbs, managing to boost myself up to the peak a couple of times.
What goes up must come down. The next road on Horseshoe Hill Road was enjoyable for the most part and I welcomed the downhill sign with open arms. Rollers were still in the midst but were short lived.
The next hill was supposed to be Kennedy Rd. Roadies take heed: It is a gravel road!! I immediately dreamed about mountain biking, then the thought of dragging a heavy mountain bike up this mountain floated in my head, and I thought no more of it.
We turned around and went up Heartlake Rd instead. I was already checking my distance vigilantly at 33km, wondering why it was only 33km. My motivation to pick up the pace disappeared. I just wanted to survive as I kept my 8-12kph. At the top of each roller, I didn’t speed up and took my time switching out of the grannies.
This was followed by another lovely ride down Horseshoe Hill Rd. The rain clouds arrived at that point, cutting out the last hill climb. I was secretly thrilled and my quads celebrated.
This was a wake-up call for me. My tempo has improved on flatter rides but once there are long climbs, I behaved like last year. Incorrect gearing was the caveat. I tend to drop down to the small ring way too early. At the base of the hill, I already lost most of the momentum and was pedaling hard. Old habits die hard. This habit originated from a few traumatic events in the past when I was still on a heavy gear midway uphill, too late to drop down the resistance, bike stopped, and I fell attached to it. Not pretty images. Over the course of the day, I did eventually get better at short rollers where the momentum of the previous downhill carried me up the next roller.
Do you have any bad cycling habits?