Greetings dear readers and riders,
47 miles today. In under three hours. Felt great. With the weather finally coming around, I am looking forward to my cycling future with great eagerness.
I am faster at 184lbs (yes, that’s what I’m at) than I was at 213.
But what’s so beautiful about this hobby, this sport, this addiction is that the old adage is really true…
It never gets easier, you just go faster.
I chose an old route I hadn’t ridden in a long time. Around the lake, over the bridge, and an old friend – Hog Hollow.
Those of you who’ve been around here long enough know that in my little neck of the nape (StL), what counts as hills isn’t quite the same as Cycling Mecca. Out there you have your choice of anything from short stingers to climbs of 4, 7, even 14 miles. With gradient averages anywhere from 6% to 14%. Yes, average.
But here in the bullseye of the U.S. the longest climb I’ve found is under 4 miles. Most everything is short – under a mile – with some nasty pitches, but again, under a mile. These have been well documented on this project.
One favorite is Hog Hollow. Barely half a mile, with an average grade of 10%, pitching to 18+ at the end. The thing that makes it stand out (at least a bit) from the other stingers around here is that it has several turns and switchbacks in its short span.
I have conquered Hog Hollow several times. And by conquer, I mean made it to the top without dying. Every time I’ve ridden it, I have been completely cooked at the end of the half mile. A couple of times I’ve had to actually pull over for a moment. Yes, I said this climb was HALF a mile.
On Strava, my personal best effort was nestled in 176th place out of 183 riders. Not last, right?
Today I ascended Hog Hollow at my new 184 pounds and went it up a full 38 seconds faster than I ever have before. This Contadorian effort rocketed me up from 176th all the way too 153rd. Look out Mt Washington!
But here’s the thing about today’s effort. At the end I wasn’t cooked. Wasn’t out of breath. Didn’t have to pull over or dive for my water bottle. I was… fine.
I guess that means I could have pushed myself harder and maybe ended up in 150th place? But I was happy.
I rode it early in my day, and then spent the next 35 miles just riding. Enjoying being back on the bike. I saw things. Some old favorites. And some old favorites saw me. They were even so happy to see my new trim self they inverted themselves as I pedaled by.
And I saw new things… weird things.
And I saw new old things… like back in time.
I can’t ride tomorrow, but am hoping to get on a at-least-3-rides-a-week schedule minimum. Currently, I am 500 miles behind where I was at this time last year. But I’m stronger, I’m lighter, and I’m a winner.
Winner you asked? Isn’t that a little presumptuous, Mr. Thin Man?
Well, all I can say is… the very best part of this new life is the fact that it enabled me to help my 5th grade daughter win her school’s Father-Daughter Dance Contest!
Ride your bike.
Then eat more better.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy