"To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first." Shakespeare
For me, climbing steep hills requires a slow pace all the time! And therefore, my pace today during the Fiesta Wildflower Century Ride was slower than I would have liked. Whoever said that ride was flat LIED!
Once a year I like to fundraise for Team in Training. I knew I wanted to do a cycling event this year to help train for IMFL. My options were to do the America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe again or the Fiesta Wildflower Century Ride in San Antonio. Because of the fundraising requirements, I decided to do the Fiesta ride. Besides, they said it was a flat ride and that would be perfect for IMFL training, right?
Saturday afternoon I headed for San Antonio. I checked into the hotel and then we drove the first part of the course. There was a hill on the map that said "caution, extremely steep hill". We wanted to see what the San Antonio folks considered steep. And after doing Tahoe, that hill wasn't really that steep, but there were some really big rollers in the first 50 miles. We thought by looking at the elevation map that the last 50 miles would be relatively flat. Wrong again.
After driving the first part of the course, we headed out to the pasta party. We ate our pasta and listened to a family share their story of losing their 4 year old to leukemia. And that is why I keep doing this. Then we headed back to the hotel to get things ready for the ride.
This morning I woke up early, ate my breakfast, got dressed and made my nutrition. We headed over to the race site and gathered with our fellow TNT teammates. Then it was time to line up. Since I was doing the century, I got to line up up front. There was several of us doing the century.
The temps this morning were a little chilly and the wind was blowing. I started out with my jacket on and ended up keeping it on for the first 40 miles. It wasn't long into the ride before we started hitting the hills. Big, long rollers. Into the wind. I told myself not to worry about speed. I had a long way to go.
At mile 17 we stopped at the rest stop so I could pee. There is something about the bike with me. Around mile 20, I have to go. Without fail. A quick stop and we were on our way. I had set my watch to beep every 10 minutes to remind me to drink. I figured we would have to stop again and sure enough, at mile 40 I did. It was at that point I decided to shed the jacket.
More hills, more wind, more chip seal. Three of my least favorite things. At mile 80 we stopped to stretch. I checked the mph on my computer and it said 15.8. I was actually pleased to see that with the course and conditions we had. But the last 20 miles were brutal. I was getting tired of being on the bike and being in aero. The wind was still blowing and the roads were still chip seal. We had been told there was another rest stop at mile 90, but we passed 90 and no rest stop. We stopped one more time to stretched and then were ready to head on in. Around 93 we passed the rest stop and then shortly thereafter, some really horrible railroad tracks. And my riding partner got a flat. Stopped to fixed that and we were on our way.
Finally we could see the end. I was so ready to get off the bike. It felt really good.
This was good for me mentally in preparation for IMFL. I am not where I want to be right now on the bike, but I know there is still plenty of time to get there. And when you are climbing a steep hill, it really doesn't matter what the pace is, does it? As long as you climb it you are improving.