Monday, 7 April 2008


This weekend, I had planned a new route around and over the 1:20 on Saturday, but anti-training gremlins put that one to rest, as well as me, for the day. That didn’t stop me arranging a ride for Sunday with Madam Hour, in the fervent hope that I would be feeling ok after a day off. Fortunately that fervent hope (and rest) paid off.

I made mention to Madam Hour that she was in for a treat, with this new leg of our 1:20 loop, as recommended by Coach. He did warn me that I would be cursing him, and after a very sad ergo session on Friday, I was keen to disprove his assessment of “soft”. As we rolled onto Sheffield Rd, I hung back a little, waiting for this little treat, knowing it wasn’t too far in off the intersection onto Sheffield. If you check out the Melways, it says “steep” in small red print. So you get the idea. When I heard the cry of “O shit!” I knew we had arrived, and I shifted the chain up the back stack, hit the accelerator and got me a handy run up to the beastie. I passed Mdm Hour (evil chuckle), and then hit a patch of about 5 metres in length, where I did seriously think I was going to stall – the black hole of Sheffield Rd sucking in unsuspecting cyclists, never to make the top. I realised stopping wasn’t an option, as hitting the deck was a likely outcome, the road was that steep. So I put the brain to work, with legs following, cleared the steepest patch with back wheeling skipping, and broke free to finish off the climb.

Unfortunately, just after I cleared the dreaded black hole in the road, I heard a clutter behind. Mdm Hour was down, inspecting the road surface, after dabbing a foot and finding the road surface held no traction. When I stopped, I began to walk back down to her and realised that was a really silly idea – walking would have ended up in skating down. Bugger that. Mdm Hr was up by then, all ok, making her way up to me. Unfortunately what goes up must come down, and the back side of the hill was worse than the front – one of those fat, peaking crests where you can’t see the road underneath it, a bit like sucky wave when surfing. You just have to throw yourself off. Well, I am not into throwing myself off roads, so I walked over the crest until I could see road, then tentatively climbed back on and rolled down the hill, white knuckled and HR hitting new maxes, and yes, cursing Coach but for the wrong side of the hill. I am not good with very steep downhills, to put it mildly. But having done it once, I’ll be ok next time (promise!).

The rest of the ride was a mixture of feeling really strong and fit, feeling really weak and crap, and recovering to feel really strong and fit again, several times over. The pair of us managed to pass quite a few men up the 1:20 (suck on this, fellas), with me towing the time triallist up the hill until the final kilometre, when I blew and let Mdm Hr’s steady diesel finish off the ride strongly. I quite enjoyed cruising past one guy on a bianchi luna, saying “nice bike” as I passed on my own luna, cool as a cucumber, smiling sweetly, finally being the one to make it look soo easy, rather than the groveller humiliated by passing traffic. I think we even negative split the final 3-4 kms of the climb, getting faster until I hit the wall, sending Mdm Hour on her way.

We also did a recon ride of Inverness Rd, heading down instead of up. The surface is excellent, and I am keen to give this one a go after Nationals. I am working on a route that will take in Inverness, Sheffield (both ways) and the 1:20 for a pleasant outing of strength and character building climbing.

1 comment:

hippy said...

Sounds fun. I'll have to find some of these roads when I return.