But, being sick for three weeks sucked. What started out as a simple head cold turned in to asthmatic bronchitis and a serious sucker punch to my confidence. Only being able to do minimal workouts for a couple of weeks, and then zero workouts for a week and a half really messed with my head. In all honesty, I'm good at resting. I'm good at doing nothing and being lazy. Everyone says that triathletes, especially those who train for ironman triathlons, are all super type a and have to get in every single workout every single time. This does not define me (last year was different, I did all the workouts training for an ironman cause I was scared, not cause I'm super type a). Tell me not to work out, tell me that I need to rest, I'm all set. I'll do it. I'm good at the lazy. Three weeks of lazy though, that is not cool. But, I rested and I'm finally better. YAY!
The first workout back was Sunday's team ride. I woke up on Sunday morning excited to ride. We were doing some hill work, an Amalif loop (some climbing), followed by a climb up Mandeville Canyon (a 5 mile climb), followed by another Amalfi loop. It's basically all hills. I decided to play it by ear and see how I felt at the end of the first Amalfi loop as to whether or not I'd go for Mandeville. I really wanted to do it. I've only been to the top of Mandeville one time, last season.
First time at the top of Mandeville (April 8, 2012)
Since then I've done several other climbs, some longer, some harder, but I've never done a sustained climb without stopping at some point on the way up (note: stopping mid-climb is not a good idea as you lose all momentum and get going slower than before). And, I'm a much stronger and better ride than I was last year, the last time I did any real climbing. I finished Amalfi and decided to go for it. I figured if my breathing felt too hard I could turn around if necessary.
As I was riding I was remembering where I was a year ago. One short year ago this climb would have terrified me. One short year ago (less than that actually), I wouldn't have been able to make it all the way without stopping. One short year ago, after three weeks of sickness, I wouldn't have even tried to go up Mandeville. And now, here I was, coming off of being sick, going up a 5 mile climb, no big deal. I was thinking about how a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the sickness, I ran an Amalfi loop and even sick, I did it faster than a year ago. As I was having that thought someone rode by to remind me of that exact thing. Smiling, I carried on my way.
I never had to stop. I never felt like I couldn't do it. No, it wasn't fast, really only a few minutes faster than the first time. But, it was SO MUCH STRONGER (and I think it would be much faster had I not been coming off of zero activity). I knew I could get all the way to the top, even on the super steep part (the end is pretty steep). I knew I was capable. I didn't have the ohmygodimgonnabarf moment toward the top that I had last time. I was definitely tired, but not as wiped out as I thought I would be considering how little I've done over the past few weeks. And, the icing on the cake? I was not last, I was nowhere near it. Amazing. Last year, I was definitely last (or almost last). And then, on the way down, I totally pedaled my heart out and didn't have a death grip on the brakes (while I've been over my fear of downhill for quite some time, the first time up Mandeville I was terrified on the way down and definitely didn't really pedal and definitely gripped the brakes hard).
That sucker punch to my confidence? I just punched it right back and said "F*%k you." I win. I will conquer Wildflower.
I almost started crying on the way up. Not because it was hard, but because of just how far I've come. It's amazing what can happen if you just keep going and keep working.
Yep. I've totally got it.
The steep top bit.
The fence at the top.
This is the elevation chart from the ride. The Amalfi loop starts at the dip just before 5. Mandeville starts at the dip at approx 8.
87 Days til Wildflower...