We’ve been having some crazy weather lately, colder than usual with rain, sun and sometimes hail alternating over the course of the day. I had a bike ride scheduled, but spent my morning on the couch watching really bad T.V. (courtesy of VH1) and surfing the web, while T. and the boys (Wally, Smokey Joe and George) slept in. Finally the sun broke through around 1, so I hustled into my biking clothes and out the door.
I’ve got training camp coming up and I’ve seriously been neglecting my bike for the last few weeks (having crappy weather makes it very hard to motivate riding – I can ride my trainer indoors, but that’s boring and hard to motivate for different reasons… ) So between weather and being sick, I hadn’t ridden since I did my awesome ride in Seattle – which was three weeks ago. So, I set out to do an hour of hill-climbing at Mt. Tabor, which is only a few miles from my house. Mt Tabor is a small volcanic “mountain” in the middle of Southeast Portland. It has a dog park, some nice trails, a reservoir and a few roads that wind up the mountain with a range of steepness and not too many cars, so it’s great for hill repeats.
Last year, I would try to do this workout at least once a week, and it really helped my climbing. The first time I did it, I could only do one ‘repeat’ and had to stop a few times to rest. By the end of the summer, I was up to three or four with no rest-stops. Because I’ve done it so many times, I think of the hill in three parts – the first part winds into the park and passes the dog park – it’s not too steep and is a nice way to ease into the climb, the second part is ridiculously steep and straight – so it’s just you and the road and your heavy breathing (this part was where I’d usually require a rest-stop) and then the third section has a little flat part and a nice gentle slope up to an overlook loop, where there are always tons of people walking their dogs, playing with their kids or just sitting on a bench and looking out at the city. This is my favorite part of the climb because I can recover a bit and it’s really beautiful.
Today, I took the first section way too hard and had to stop for a moment because I was couldn’t catch my breath and was getting dizzy. But once I got going again, I did the rest of the climb and a second repeat without stopping or incident and was really proud of myself. The weather was getting darker and cloudier and as I was headed back down the hill it started to rain, so I decided against the third repeat and start heading home. The rain really started coming down and was freezing cold. The frozen drops against my face actually gave me an ice-cream headache! Luckily, the rain didn’t last too long, nor did I have very far to ride home – but I was still quite cold and happy to be done with my ride.
After a nice hot shower it was back to the couch for more lounging/bad T.V. watching and web surfing. Ahhhh, Sundays…