....must come down. We all learned that in elementary school, right?
I've been emailing recently with someone on a local cycling team about joining. Part of the process is to join them for a ride so they can check you out - I think mostly to make sure you don't show up on a purple tricycle and that you're at least going to make a reasonable attempt to keep up. It's a strong team and I know that the best way to get better at anything is to do it with people who are stronger, better, and faster than you. They do a Monday night no-drop ride which was what the very kind membership coordinator recommended I try. I didn't really mention my PT restrictions on speed/climbing because I don't want to be the lame kid that shows up on the first day with a note. And I discovered, in kind, that she didn't really mention that it's not just a ride, it's a hill workout, one that covers a lot of the tough terrain I rode in last summer's hill workouts - and more. Sometimes I really am fascinated by life.
So I went, and I think that the worst part of the ride was actually that I just didn't know the route or what to expect, so I was afraid to really push anywhere because I had no idea how much gas I'd need in the tank to finish up. I was very definitely one of the weakest people on the ride, but that actually makes me pumped to go back. And when we got to the top of the last hill and the incredibly kind guy that hung back to make sure I didn't get lost said, "that's the last one!", I was actually surprised because in hindsight, it really wasn't all that bad. I mean, I'm slow and my bad foot position works against me when I climb but there was nothing as awful as the short crit loop on the Conte's ride or anything I tackled at Reston last year.
There was also 1200 feet of descending to match the 1200 feet of climbing that we did over 15 miles. I saw speeds on my bike computer that I've never seen before, and it wasn't until I was flying down the last hill that the thought even crossed my mind to be afraid of what would happen if I crashed at 38mph, and then I let it go and enjoyed the ride. Faith, not fear.
Day 11: 15.1 incredibly hilly, pollen-filled, awesome miles.