I am not a light person (on a good day I think of myself as powerful and strong, on a bad day I'm a whale on a bike..), and I've always thought 'I can't ride up hills'. Truth be told until 3 months ago, I'd never actually tried to ride up hills, and I'd certainly never tried to improve my non-existent hill climbing ability. I was a triathlete (snort!) and we didn't do hills.
Struggling with recurrent back injuries (which were causing hamstring injuries) I was given the name of this Rachel Green lady who was putting together a development squad for womens cycling. Thinking (as a triathlete) that my cycling needed some attention I got in touch and became swept up in the Valkyrie whirlwind. Somewhere in there also I signed up for the Tour of Bright. And somewhere in there I stopped thinking of myself as a wannabe triathlete, and started thinking I liked the idea of being a wannabe cyclist. All of this has happened over the past 5 months, but I have only been cycling reasonably consistently now for 3 months.
Had you said to me 3 months ago I would do Fitz's 105 and that I would not once think of stopping and getting off to walk once while riding up some 1500m of hills (bumps, mountains, crests - call them what you want they were up) and that I would spend a lot of my hilltime overtaking people, I would have said 'yeah - not a chance'.
Oh, and that I would enjoy it (and oddly - the hills) too - not bloody likely!
Our average speed wasn't fast, but it wasn't a day for racing and riding with Maja it was her day to achieve a personal goal. What was evident was difference in the consistency of our training. Maja's training has been up and down in the past couple of months with work and personal commitments, 2 months ago she beat me up the three sisters at the end of our first every Uriarra-Cotter ride. Yesterday I was far stronger than her on all of the climbs, (neither of us had to get off and walk at any state - YAY). Two months ago, it would have been a different story.
As I was getting a few more rest breaks than if I had been riding by myself, I took the opportunity to work hard on the hills and try to get into a comfortable rhythm, which worked really well. It was particularly evident to me how much that matters when we had to stop HALF WAY UP Mt Mac for a checkpoint!! We stopped for a few minutes to fill waterbottles etc and when I got back on the bike for the rest of the climb I felt awful! My HR had returned to around 95 during the rest and within about 50m of resuming the climb had zoomed up to 160, not a nice or comfortable feeling. Overall yesterday my average HR was 138, so it was very (very) hilly ride with lots of E1 in between for me yesterday - a perfect long training ride!
The other thing I was thinking was how glad I was that this was my first 100km ride. Because now the prospect of riding from home into the PROD and then home afterwards (100km round trip) is no longer a daunting one. It's no-where near as hilly and I get a good long break for brunch at the 80km mark before I roll home. I think that if I had previously done a flatter 100km ride, I would have actually despaired at all the climbing yesterday, and might have psyched myself out of it before I even began.
And I'm not terrified of Bright anymore, it will be much faster as it's a race and my fitness will be tested more than yesterday, but maybe (just maybe) I just might make it to the end:-)
Thank you to everyone for being involved in this, a toast to new friends, new challenges and new accomplishments.
I love riding my bike!!
P.S. Congratulations to everyone who did Fitz's yesterday, Tegan on her blistering first 100km in 4 hours, Dec and Lisa for riding the 165 - an amazing achievement, you guys are going to be white hot in Bright, and to all the novice guys and the VMaxx guys who rode too.