Remember back in October when I crossed the 100,000 miles ridden mark? After that I started feeling ambivalent about my riding. I didn’t have any particular goals or reason to ride, so I just kind of went out and did whatever. Sometimes that feels great, but it’s like too much vacation: At first you think, “I couldn’t possibly spend too much time on vacation!” But after a while, you kind of wish you had something specific to do.

Without group rides to keep me motivated, I needed a goal.

One day, browsing the routes in Rouvy, I noticed someone had uploaded a full Mt. Haleakala climb. I rode up Mt. Haleakala in person in 2016, finishing in a very respectable 4:05 — just barely past my goal of sub-four hours. Seeing the Rouvy route, I thought, well — maybe I should try again. It’s something to work for.

So I did. In January I planned out a training schedule that had me riding the Rouvy Haleakala route the last weekend in March. All through January, February, and March I rode virtual Alps and real local hills. I overtrained a bit and had to shift my schedule a bit to allow for a rest week. But by this week, I was back on track and ready to be done with the super-focused Wednesday hill repeat rides. I look forward to Saturday routes that didn’t involve multiple Issaquah Alps.

Plus, I hate riding in the garage in good weather. As the season progresses, the weather keeps improving (yay!), and I’m more and more motivated to ride outside.

I decided to target today for my Haleakala attempt. I didn’t really expect to achieve my goal of less than four hours. I just wanted to try, do my best, and then move on.

Well: I not only achieved my goal, I crushed it.

I don’t know how fast I would’ve gone on the real Mt. Haleakala, because I didn’t have to deal with the environmental conditions that play a huge role in the ride. In my garage, I didn’t gasp through thinning atmosphere above 8,000 feet and I didn’t have to fight headwinds that inevitably plague the last couple miles. So even if Rouvy 100% perfectly simulated the rest of the ride, I still had advantages.

Even so, I’m proud of my effort. Once I warmed up, I maintained a steady power output in the high-but-sustainable range. I saved nothing at the end, and came in at 3:31. It felt great — the way I felt after finishing a bike race, that combination of elation, exhaustion, and relief at finishing.

I’m happy with my accomplishment, satisfied with the way having the goal worked out, and now looking forward to taking a month or so to just take it easy. Then it’s time to start training for fake RAMROD. Never a dull moment!

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