This weekend, I’m traveling to spend time with my family and I need to get in some endurance cycling, including a 3+hour ride. So, I searched for routes on Map My Ride that swing near my grandparents’ house. I found a 32-mile loop that looked good. Then I saw the elevation profile. There is a big spike in the middle of that loop, a category 5 climb. That’s the easy end of categorized climbs, but that does not mean it’s an easy hill. Granted, I’m headed to bluff country; I sort of expected this.
Coach Nicole likes to tell us that hills are just another location in the landscape, but I know better than to believe that this will be nothing special. I will get lots of practice climbing very slowly, keeping my heart rate in zone 2. This hill will be at least as much a mental game as a physical one. So, I thought I should try to learn something before I go. I already know about picking a number and counting pedal strokes to that number, over and over again. And picking interim goal locations along the climb, ignoring the summit as much as possible.
Most of the advice available online has at least some focus on getting to the top fast. This weekend, that’s not my goal. But, I did find a couple of good articles that address the physical climb and the mental strategies needed to make it over the top. REI has some good basics, for road bikes and mountain bikes, too. I especially like Chain Reaction‘s focus on staying relaxed as well as the appreciation for the view at the top. He also gives me back-up for my suspicion that I should change my crankset for a triple. Jamie Sarkisian is more focused on racing, for cyclists and triathletes, so I won’t pay too much attention to that one just yet, but it does remind me I need to do more standing on the bike drills. That’s taking a lot of getting used to.
Think of me early Sunday morning, I’ll be “scraping gum off my shoes.”