Monday, August 3, 2009

Mountain, thy name is Misery.

There is a hill climb in town that has my name on it. No, not like the Hollywood sign type of name on it. This one is written in sweat and tears. Think blood in the sand, perhaps. Something needs to be done about this.

It is a very popular access into the tail end of the San Gabriels and consists of a 4 mile-ish climb up a fireroad. From here you can continue climbing for hours (or days for that matter) or drop down such notable trails as Viper or Los Pinetos. It is a consistent grade for the most part, never too ridiculously steep, but enough to be a real workout. The last few times I have been up its switchbacked ascent, it has felt very difficult. In fact, I feel like I have been going backwards as what used to be a mix of middle and small ring has degraded into mostly small ring climbing. Huh!

The last two times, including this weekend, I was on the Giant XTC 29er 1. It is a very decent climbing bike, but the saddle sucks (for me), the shortish and rear-set cockpit places me a bit back from the cranks and the 175mm crankarms are great for spinny-ness, but not for torque. In any case, I was all slow...again. So it has me a bit bugged. Am I just getting slower? It has been hot and humid the last two times, but before that, it has been cold and I still suffered and crept along.

I finally tuned up the Lev post-Utah, new brake pads, etc, so I need to take it to the hill and see how a proper (for me) riding position, lighter wheels, and gearing/crank arms I am used to will treat me. This really is mostly a middle ring climb and I need to make it so. If I do not get the results I need, then this is eye opening. It means I need to step up the type of training I am doing. I work close to this dastardly hillclimb, this mocking slope of dirt and chapparal, and this Fall/Winter I may have to make it my mission in life to beat the whoopee out of it. If I bring my bike in at least one day a week, I can get that ride done in 90 minutes or less. We shall see.

Mountain, misery though you may be, watch out. I have you in my sights.

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