Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Hills

Triathlon Connection's Riverside bike ride took to the hills Tuesday night. The group has been riding FLATS on Tuesday and Thursdays since we started out. But we decided the New Year was a good time to get some hill workouts in.

We started Tuesday's ride out the usual way....about 1 1/2 miles of flat down Victoria Avenue. At the second light, instead of continuing on an easy, flat ride down Victoria, we made a left turn and started up the first incline of the evening. Right up a busy connector street. 
"Please God, don't let anyone hit me," I prayed as I pedaled as fast as I could. I knew the road we were turning right on was just up ahill, I mean, up ahead.
I was pedaling hard and dropping my gears, but my speed just kept dropping..16 mph to 12 mph to 10 mph to 9 mph to, I stopped looking, by the time we hit the top of the hill.
Okay, so I wasn't really thinking about how I LOVED hills. But I was thinking how adding hills into our bike ride was going to be good for me.
We had about 30 seconds of flat pedaling before we made a left onto another hill climb. This one was through a residential neighborhood. The road was nice and the climb went by (6%, 7%, 8%) quickly. My low speed on this hill was 8.7 mph.
The good thing about a hill climb is that once you are at the top, you have nowhere to go but down.
I didn't go downhill that fast - it was dark and even though I have a great light, my eyes aren't the best at seeing at night. Potholes can sneak up on me in the dark so I have to keep my hand on the brakes - just in case.
Some of our group turned right to hit the next hill (oops, wrong way guys), but some of us went left and started up the next residential neighborhood hill. I knew we would meet at the top of the hill, just from opposite directions. I have ridden this road during the day, but not at night. At night it seemed to take FOREVER to get to the top. At one point I was riding 4.9 miles per hour.
The way we rode up, our grade topped out at 14 percent. The way the wrong-turners went, the grade was 17 percent - uh, maybe next time.
We went around the loop again, this time all of us going the same way.
Yes, someone did have to stop and push their bike up the hill. I am NOT saying who. But it WASN'T me. I may be slow, but I am GO!
We rode about 3 miles of flat with just one little incline to get to Gratton...our last hill of the evening. It starts out as a slow incline, but progressively becomes steeper and steeper. Within a mile the elevation goes up about 200 feet, with the last 25 yards ranging from 11 to 13 percent. I finished it off at 4.9 miles an hour, Obviously, my preferred low speed for the evening.
Yes, someone had to stop and put their foot down on our ride up Gratton. NO, it was NOT me! I'll say it again, I am SLOW, but GO!
I wonder how slow I can go before I fall over?
Hope I never find out!
We rode almost 16 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes. We did have a couple of stops at the top of hills to catch our breath.
This hill-climbing is really going to make me a better cyclist.
I read an article the other day that a person should suffer when riding on the hills and think of it as storing "whoop-ass in a can" for in a race.
So that's the thinking I am taking with me from now on when we ride the "Hills Yes!" ride on Tuesday night.
That and this......

And I am not going to lie...
I am glad tonight's Thursday right is FLAT!
At least I'll be going faster than 4.9 mph.


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