Yesterday I finally decided to face my demons -- namely, what will be the bike route during the Donner Triathlon. This is a 25 mile route, which introduces itself with a 1200 ft climb in (I think) 3 miles up to Donner Pass -- not my type of thing at all. I figured I'd start out by 1. dying, followed by 2. Tom pushing my still-warm carcass the rest of the way up. I am NOT a climber or any kind of decent cyclist at all. Well, I guess I do ok on the flats and the descents, but once the road pitches up even a little, I am gasping and struggling and wondering how it is possible that people can generate any kind of speed whatsoever. Yesterday was to be the day of reckoning . . . alas, I remembered (just in time!) that yesterday was also the Tahoe LunaChix first group road ride of the season and that sounded so much better! So, last evening I found myself in my first ever group road ride.
There were maybe 10 of us all together, 6 being the LunaChix team and the rest just folks like me looking for a ride. We had a really nice 20 mile ride from Boca up to the boat ramp (insert GPS data here) . . . . . I was not surprised to find myself dropped by the group, but two of the LunaChix hung out in the back with me as I huffed and puffed my way up the climbing first 10 miles. I definitely struggled, but was pleased with Snake the bike and the thought that this is my baseline and really all I can do from this point is improve. I really enjoyed riding with this group of women, and felt totally supported even given my slowness and general beginner-ness. I also really like this as a cycling road, for the climbs -- though somewhat relentless -- are certainly not brutal, and that's a little tough to find here in Tahoe. Also, the car traffic on the road was minimal, and comparatively slow -- a huge bonus! Plus, out and back was exactly 20 miles which seems like a completely do-able distance right now. I also liked the fact that most of the climbing is in the first 10 miles, then you get to turn around and (mostly) fly all the way back to the car. My kind of route! I will surely be doing lots of biking there!
I felt a little sore this morning when I woke up, but nothing too dramatic. The thought of Donner Pass was still jangling around in my head, not wanting to be put off yet again. So Tom and I loaded up the bikes and headed for the west end of Donner Lake -- which will be the scene of my eventual big ol' triathlon.
Now I have pretty much psyched myself right out of the climb at this point, and really had visions of having to walk up sections and generally being humiliated with my performance.
**OK, I have left this post unfinished for 5 days, as I have been away adventuring. So I'm getting caught up, and perhaps this won't be the same post it would have been had I finished it on time, but there it is.**
But I was pleasantly pleased with myself when all was said and done. I didn't rocket up the thing in any way, shape or form, but I made it up without too much of a struggle, and now know what I can improve from. I stopped for two short breaks on the way up, not because I really needed them but rather it seemed like a pretty good idea.
That's pretty damn steep. It took me 50 minutes to go 3 miles with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain. I have a feeling this is super super slow, but I was happy to be able to make it. I will try to do this ride at least once a week, adding on to it bit by bit till I'm doing the whole 25 mile route. Tom thinks it'll be a good idea to ride to the top, ride down and then repeat. This sounds like a good idea to me, as does trying out a brick or two before the race. The view from the top is splendid, and looks over Donner Lake.
So I'm a little unsure of what I have and have not done since I started this post, but I have been running and, to a lesser extent, swimming regularly and am in full swing with what passes for "training" for me. I am keeping a more detailed log of what I'm up to with my Ascent Garmin software, and am really glad to have that system to keep track of what I am doing.
Anyway, I've biked and swam and run and adventured and will put up some pictures of my recent trip later today (which is already may 19). I am planning on hitting the gym this morning for some exciting treadmilling (figure it'll be a good introduction to the gym, if not my favorite running form) and will be following that up with an evening ride up at Boca.
Other news, the snow finally melted from my yard! Things are growing! The farmer's market has commenced!