Ever since my wife inspired me to get off my ass, I have been doing better at getting off my ass. There have been very few days I don't at least get one ride in.
On Friday, I even woke up a little late for my morning ride with Jeff. Normally, I would have rolled over, sent him a text that I was out, and gone back to sleep. Instead, I sent a text that said I was running late. Jeff leads a life of leisure so he is always willing to wait.
This morning, Jeff bailed due to a rough night. I hadn't even gotten out of bed yet. I usually would have smiled and rolled over. Amazingly I jumped up and started getting dressed. When I made it outside I realized it was pissing rain. Continuing to be amazing I said eff it and rolled out.
Important back story, I watched Chariots of Fire yesterday.
I decided to head up the canyon. I started to fantasize that I am more focused when I ride alone(Jeff and I are chatty). The theme from Chariots Of Fire started to repeat in my head. I am not lying. At the crescendo I would usually grab a gear. When I turned off 100 east onto the Timpanogos Highway the normal canyon winds that batter you on your way up were gone. While my chamois and every stitch of clothing I had on was wringing wet, there was actually a slight tailwind. (Imagine the kettle drum strikes in the COF theme). I kicked up the effort. Having skipped Sunday to be with Jesus I felt like my legs were ready for a hard push. I am also supposedly building up to a big climbing day Saturday. More on that later. Entering the canyon there were almost no cars and not a single other cyclist. This gave me another little boost thinking I was the only man hard enough to be out in the rain.
Too poor for a powertap and too lazy to put on a heart rate monitor, I measure output a lot by feel. Which is to say, inaccurately. I felt good. When I climb the canyon below the cave I try to keep speeds in the double digits. Once or twice I looked down and was just under ten. I would shift up and give it a good push to get things back in line. When I got to the "Visitor Center 1/2 mile" sign I went for it. Stood up, yanked on the bars. Red line. I was going to turn around at the cave so I put everything I had into it. Grunting, swearing, seeing stars. Once I made it to the parking lot I held on a little longer than usual trying to make sure I got past the Strava segment endpoint. This was definitely going to be one for the books. When I sat up I had to keep pedaling to keep from puking. I was smiling. I was proud. I felt like I had broken a barrier. I took things really easy coming down the canyon due to the wet roads. No sense in sliding out in an S-curve when I had just slaughtered the climb. Rolled home and peeled off all that wet lycra(drink in that mental image). Quickly uploaded my ride to see how I had done.
When all was said and done I had accomplished exactly jack shit.
I was two and a half minutes off my best climb from the booth to the cave. Not a single Strava achievement. Not one. Usually I cross some little obscure segment that a guy created from his driveway to the C-store or something and set a PR. But nothing. I was below my average time.
What is the take away from all this? Somehow I am not crushed. I am disappointed, but not devastated. The fact is, when faced with multiple excuses I got up and rode. I climbed instead of cruised. I pushed harder than I thought I could. But I am still slow. I can live with that. If I keep this up, things might change.
Still doing poorly in the diet column. But whatever. One battle at a time.
This weekend I am joining a big fast group for The Gauntlet. 90-ish miles and 10K-ish feet of climbing. It is basically the Alpine Loop with all the side-canyon spurs. I am not ready. But I am closer than I was a week ago. I am working towards it. Planning to climb early in the week and then taper down to a completely flat ride on Friday. I may not finish Saturday. Or, I may take all damn day to do it.
I am planning on trying though. A wise woman once told me I should.