Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Little Perseverance

It’s amazing how a little perseverance can go a long way.  Or in my case on Saturday, it allow me to go a long way.  Saturday’s ride was a pretty decent effort at 50 miles and just over 4,100 feet of climbing.  However, this post will only be about the first 10 miles.

When I rolled down the driveway just before 8:00 am, I quickly realized something wasn’t right as I turned down Montgomery Drive.  Normally, I cruise along around 17 mph when I’m heading out.  Saturday, I felt like I was moving in slow motion.  I look down at the cyclometer to see I am riding along at a whopping 14.5 mph.  And, I feel like I’m working hard to maintain that pace.

This is already shaping up to be a piss-poor ride so I start thinking about my favorite coffee shops.  But, I do have a big ride at the end of the month so I need to push through this.  As I roll along I start to think about how I’m feeling and why my legs feel so heavy.  In the process, I came up with a ton of excuses all designed to make me head back home.

To begin with, I actually had no idea where I was riding until just before I got on the bike.  If it had been a team ride day I wouldn’t need to worry but since I was on my own, I needed to come up with a route.  In these cases I usually create a route earlier in the week and then spend the rest of the time getting excited about it.  I wasn’t really excited about today’s ride so that was problem number one.  Excited or not, I needed miles so I kept riding.

I also started running again this week.  Nothing crazy! Just little runs of 2.1 and 2.6 miles.  Still, it’s been a while so maybe that’s why my legs feel like lead.  If that’s the problem I should definitely head for coffee since that’s not going to get any better.  Instead, I kept riding.

I am now heading out of town and tackling the first major climb of the ride.  Maybe that’s the issue.  My goal was to reach 4,000 feet of climbing so maybe I was just psyching myself out.  Do I really want to do all of this climbing.  That’s when the internal negotiations began. You know what I mean.  That inner dialogue where you convince yourself it would still be a great ride without all those pesky hills so why don’t you go find some flatter terrain.  While this discussion was happening in my mind I simply kept climbing.

My reward for climbing!
I finally decided it was time to put up or shut up.  I was on a good climb on the way to one of my favorite descents.  To get rid of the dialogue in my mind I started looking around and enjoying the scenery on a gorgeous spring day.  To my legs, enough’s enough and I lifted the pace.  I decided at the top of the climb I was going to feel better or completely flogged.  

It worked!  As I was going over the top I started to feel better about my efforts. I thoroughly enjoyed my descent and instead of looking for flat land I headed to the next hill.  In the end, it was a great ride and I actually set personal records on both the Lichau and Sonoma Mountain climbs.

I know I will continue to have days, both on and off the bike, where I’m simply not feeling it.  When that happens I will able to reflect back on this ride and repeat the phrase - a little perseverance goes a long way.


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