“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
What a perfect day for riding. It was sunny, right around 35° or 40° (some frost and a few patches of ice in the shade), and just all-round gorgeous. The mountains were all out and snow-capped. Everybody else in the Seattle area was out, too, it seemed like.
Once again I have to question elevation. The ride leader, Francis Gan, said today’s ride (also posted on MapMyRide) was 3800 to 4000 feet of climbing; when I came home (having had my butt thoroughly kicked by all the hills) and put the route into GPS Visualizer reading the NED data, it said we climbed 5100 feet. Who to trust?
Anyway again I say that the hills kicked my butt. We went up a few that were almost laughably steep, and I know Francis’ rides only get harder from here. Two hills I seriously doubted that I’d actually make it to the top, but I refused to stop and walk — the indignity would’ve killed me. I’d rather die trying! And I didn’t die; so presumably I’ll get stronger. My max heart rate hit 187, not the highest I’ve ever gotten, but darn close. Theoretically my max heart rate is 197 – 200, depending on how you calculate it. The upshot was that that was the hardest hill ride I’ve done, possibly ever.
However, I held my own on the climbs. I was by no means the last person to the top on any of them, and I kept up reasonably well on the in-between parts, too. I’m pleased…and exhausted. Of the 20 people who started the ride, 11 finished. Apparently the attrition rate on Francis’ later-season hill rides is 75% or so. I can see why. This was the first hill ride of the year and I was ready to lay down and never get up again by the end. Gives me a secondary goal: Complete all of Francis’ rides that I start.
One gal, Natasha, was amazing: She went up every hill like it was flat, taking and holding the lead easily, spinning apparently effortlessly — often while chatting volubly with other riders. She stayed in the front of the pack the entire time, too. I’d aspire to be that fast and strong some day, but she’s at a fitness level that is really incomprehensible to me.
After all that, I rode home. Into a headwind. Fortunately, another guy on the ride also went north on the trail, so he helped pull me along for a while. We didn’t achieve any land speed records, but I was grateful to get home at all. Now it’s time for something high-protein, followed by a pre-bedtime nap.