Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the pursuit of your goals. Fortunately, given I was only going for a little goal, I figured I only had to make a little sacrifice … in my case this was getting a haircut. I know, on such sacrifices is greatness made.
OK, I took my assault on yesterday’s Strava times a little more seriously than I probably should have. I honestly got my hair cut specifically because it got in my eyes during yesterdays ride, and I tightened the spokes and pumped the tyres up to race pressure to get every advantage I could, then just after noon I was off.
Just heading up the hill from work to Sandy Bay Road I could feel my legs were a little tired, but as soon as I hit Sandy Bay Road, I cranked up my speed and figured I may as well try and stay there … or go faster if could.
I felt horrible. I’m not good at fast starts, there’s just too much of me to fire up quickly and I was trying to drag in big breaths and let my body get into a rhythm, whilst at the same time still go as fast as I could. My problem was to do this I was either turning over very big gears (tiring my legs) or spinning too fast to rest my legs and in doing so red-lining myself.
I passed another cyclist just as I went past McDonalds (OK, he was on a mountain bike – but still) and then just put my head down and rode. There was a small voice in my head cautioning me to slow down a bit and keep something in reserve for the final ascent up Bonnet Hill, but I was starting to feel good and just wanted to go as fast as I could for as long as I could. That little voice that wouldn’t go away tried to remind me that you can lose a heck of a lot more time blowing up on a climb than you can gain on a flat, but right then, right there … I knew better … I was going to use everything I had to get me to the bottom of the ascent … and then, well, I’d just find some more to get me to the top. Damn it.
I managed to sit right on the edge of what I had to give all the way through Lower Sandy Bay, up into Taroona, right to the base of Bonnett Hill, then I hit the first increase in gradient and my legs decided to inform me that they didn’t feel so good. Fortunately, my lungs told them to shut up – but unfortunately it was only so they could get my attention to tell me that they felt worse.
I knew this was crunch time. I really felt that I had got to this point a lot quicker than the day before and knew that I only had to keep going. Then I thought of my time on Strava. For the next two kilometers it was just a case of turning the cranks, getting out of the seat when I could, and when I couldn’t just making sure that I was turning the pedals faster today than I did the day before.
As I came towards the top, I recalled the day before when I tried in vain to keep my speedo above 15km/hr … but watched as it dropped to 14.8 … 14.6 and ultimately 14.2kms/hr. Today at the same spot I looked down and saw it was again just over 15km/hr … but this time I found those extra reserves and watched as my speedo climbed above 16 and then 17km/hr just as I reached the top.
I’d done it and I felt good, I really felt good … but what would Strava think?
Strava approved … and awarded me 11 Personal Bests. Yay me.
So here’s my times and rankings from yesterday;
- Sandy Bay – Bonnet Hill (10.2km) – I’m 163rd out of 187 in 27mins 57 seconds
- Lower Sandy Bay – Bonnet Hill TT (7.2km) – I’m 218th / 237 in 21:47
- Bonnet Hill Ride (2.6km) – I’m 224th / 242 in 10:42mins
- Sandy Bay – Bonnet Hill (10.2km) – I’m 135th out of 188 in 25mins 26 seconds
- Lower Sandy Bay – Bonnet Hill TT (7.2km) – I’m 192nd / 238 in 19:25
- Bonnet Hill Ride (2.6km) – I’m 201st / 243 in 9:14mins
I basically managed to lift my average speed by about 2km/hr, and I’m happy with that because when I think back over today’s ride, I can’t think of anywhere I could have gone quicker … Yet.
But there has to be a way … there has to be …