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Learning to climb

I have to admit, the best part of being in Colorado is the mountains.
They are pretty and fun to play in and to ski in. What they aren't fun to do in is train in. (Well, not at first, anyways.)

So, last year, we pretty much avoided them.
We had plenty of excuses NOT to ride our bikes up in them.
- We didn't know any good routes.
- Cars/road riding scared us.
- In general, we were worried about doing the amount of mileage we were training and we didn't want to make it harder than it needed to.
- Mountains were steep. And hard. And that altitude. Geesh!

I know, I am a wimp.

Anyways, I guess there are no more excuses this year. I see on my schedule that we are supposed to ride up Deer Creek Canyon-- TWICE. The first time I rode that was last week and, I will admit, there was some swearing involved. Now, to ride it two times in a row-- Eeek! Granted, it is only 18 miles of climbing, but that is 9 more miles than I have ever done.

So I try not to think about it too much and just treat it like any old workout.

Starting off, I lead because Ross has a tendency to go out too fast and I want to set the pace. This works, and helps. But, for some reason, the first 5 miles are unbelievably hard for me. Not because the terrain is that difficult, but Steve (my coach) thinks it may have more to do with anxiety and I hope that as I get more used to this, this goes away. Here's hoping.

Miles 5-7.5 are not too bad for me. I have settled into a groove and am working on my climbing skills. At mile 7.5 there is a sign and I know that sign all too well. The first time I rode DC with Ross he told me that the top was only a half mile away. He was wrong, and I paid for it.

This time I know that I still have a 1.5 miles to go of probably the worst part of the trip and I try to take it in stride. It doesn't really work. At 8.25 I tell Ross that I don't think I can make it. So, he tells me we can stop for a break, but we should go to the top. So we stop.
Here is where we came from.
And here is where we have to go.

After we rest, I conquer the last three-quarter mile no problem. Yay! We are at the top. 58:11 it takes us (not counting rest). Now, the fun part. The downhill. It flies by. We make it down in 22 minutes.

Quick wardrobe change to stay dry and warm. Yes, if there is one thing I need, it is coordinating biking clothes. And now to do it all again.

Second time, not so bad. I figure, if I am going to go this slow, I should take some pictures. It IS beautiful after all...Over the shoulder shot... didn't really work.
Amazingly enough, we made it to the top for round two in 56 minutes! It's not so much that I am impressed with our time as the fact that we did it faster than the first time. And, with no stops! (Even though I desperately wanted to.) So, we were quite proud of ourselves.

I know that it is a long way from where we are going to be, but it is a start for us. I am hoping to look back at this blog and see how far we've come and how, even though it is a big deal for us now, it will be nothing for us in the future. And hopefully, that day will be sooner than we think!

4 comments:

Heather said...

oh lady, I recall some doozie rides up in Marin County CA...a few I cried and swore and said I would NEVER get on a bike again. To this day hills freak me out. I have some serious issues with them....but at teh end of the day I was always proud of some of those 4+ hour rides that seemed to be 3/4 uphill!! You guys are doing soooo great!

Gaye said...

Dude...we need to ride Highgrade. Although I'm sure Steve will have you on it soon enough! It sucks and is completely awesome, all in one!

Karri said...

wow

Alicia said...

Nice ride!! Looks like an awesome hill to train on. Great job!