Saturday, October 25, 2008

Low key hill climb - Bear Gulch

Cripes. Why I agreed to do a HILL CLIMB, I'll never know. Several weeks ago, before I went on a blissful (and mai tai'd) vacation, I mentioned a couple of these to my coach. Well, I went on vacation and promptly forgot.

Wednesday evening, I was looking ahead to what I needed to do over the weekend for training (since I did SO much riding in Hawaii - yeah, 3 days on a rented bike with toe clips. I tried to train on vacation, and have you ever tried to sprint with toe clips? I pulled out of them the exact number of sprint attempts: three.). Thursday looked good. Friday good. Saturday: Low key hill climb: Bear Gulch. WHAT? Oh crap. How can I get out of this? It's going to be evil. I distinctly remember (now) thinking it would be a good idea, because it was short (less than 3 miles) and not super steep (6.4% average). But I also remember saying, "I'm not sure if it's a good idea THAT close to returning from vacation.". Clearly, my coach ignored that last sentence. I tried to think of all the excuses, and finally I decided to just go do it. "It's low key! It's not a race! I can do what I want!". But I also decided to park in Woodside and ride up Kings for my warm-up.

Yeah, I said that. Climb Kings for a warm-up. Clearly, I lost my mind on vacation. If someone sees it, please send it home. I sort of need it back...

A co-worker of mine wanted me to join our work team, so I raced (relative term today) with them today. I told her I was slow. I don't think she REALLY believed me.

This morning, I nearly caved and stayed in bed. I was awake before the alarm went off, but then I did a stupid thing: I hit the snooze. Bad, bad! I freaking snoozed for 45 more minutes, which just made me TIRED-ER. I stumbled around the house and made breakfast and got myself together, but not fast enough. I got to Woodside later than I wanted, so my leisurely ride up Kings turned into a faster ride than I was ready for. Drat. It was stinking cold at my car, but the higher I climbed, the warmer it got. I started bemoaning the fact that I wore a vest, arm warmers and long fingered gloves. This would turn out to be a problem later...


(at least I looked okay.... thanks Eric Willis! )

As I was climbing, I noticed that I felt really awful. I'm not much of a climber, but I usually don't feel *that* crappy. Especially since I made the brilliant move to skip power and use my bike with the compact crank (my knees are still thanking me). I was spinning, but my legs were dead. I bet that the deep-tissue massage I got last night didn't help (well, it did, but it didn't), and then the 2 weeks of mai-tai time, and non-riding and "hiking" with my Mom. It's not like I did a ton of high intensity stuff.

Anyway, I made it to the reg area in time, but then we stood around registering, and talking, and trying to get ready to roll out. And then riding down Skyline to the real Bear Gulch, I dropped my chain! Ugh, the curse of the compact crank!!! I had a really hard time putting it back on too (the old up-shift trick did exactly squat). Then another co-worker helped, but now I had grease all over my glove and fingers. And then we descended Bear Gulch. And stood around. When we started, my legs felt exactly like they did when I first started climbing Kings! And I thought, "Why on Earth did I bother with a warm-up?"

The bottom of Bear Gulch is nasty and steep and then barren. The trees give way to completely exposed roads and was it hot! Especially with a vest and full-fingered BLACK gloves on. Oh yeah, those were a stunning idea, if I do say so myself... My computer registered the max temp at: 93. BLEAH! At one point, I was doing about 3 mph, the paper boy, my HR was inching up, I was roasting like a luau pig, and I really thought I was going to barf. I got off my bike and walked... I'm not too proud to admit that, but I really wanted to just lie down and think about life... I was almost moving faster on foot at that point. Forced myself back on the bike and ended up getting back off again later. Jeez. Once I got back into the shade and the pitch mellowed out, I was fine. I rode myself back up to a few that had passed me and I felt pretty comfortable climbing after that point. My HR was high (I wasn't going harder than 80 or 85%), but I've not been doing much climbing or intensity, so I pretty much expected it. I finished much better than I started (if you start at the bottom... nowhere to go but up!) and I can still laugh about walking. It's Low Key for crying out loud! One woman told me, "I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm usually ahead of those 3 up there." Maybe I'm still on Hawaiian time, but I didn't really care who beat me today. I just know that I didn't chicken out, and I finished...

I think I like this low key stuff, but I'm sure not keen to do one again soon! I do now remember telling my coach that I wanted to do the Low Key up Mt. Hamilton on Thanksgiving. I've never been up Hamilton, so I think it will be good. I likely will not feel the same way the night before or the day of, but I'll be glad I did it when I'm done. Just like today...

1 comment:

Leilani Love Lee said...

Climb Kings as a warm up? Who are you and what have you done to Holly? Hee! I hope you are well.

Much love!