I hate hills, I climb like a rock. But to be good at racing a bike you have to be able to get over hills, mountains, or whatever else is in your way. This off season I have been working hard to learn to climb better. Living in St Louis has been helpful in getting better at climbing, living in Champaign IL, flattest place on earth, made it hard. But still it is very tough to put together a route with over 2000 feet of climbing.
Well my last day to ride in Atlanta I put together a ride with over 4000 feet of climbing! That was great for me, and really put a big hurt into my legs. A lot of work that I have done is to be able to climb standing for longer periods of time. I have a slightly more muscular build as I used to be an elite gymnast and I carry more weight on the top than most cyclists. I have been told that riders with my build would do better to climb in this fashion. With the short punchy climbs we have around here this should help me quite a bit. It basically turns the climbs into a sprint for me. I have also been working on longer climbs that I will sit for half to three quarters of the climb and then stand and hammer up and over the rest. The only way for me to ever test out if my climbing is getting better is to ride with my buddy Mike Rickey and see if I can hang with him on climbs. He will always drop me at some point but the farther I get the better I am doing. Some day I hope to be able to beet Mike up a climb while he is at 100% strength.
The ride itself was amazing! It was the nicest roads and the most picturesque scenery I have seen on a ride. To make it even better it was like that for at 45 miles of it. There was almost no traffic, maybe 10 cars passed me. And this was in the city of Atlanta! The homes along my route were fantastic as well. Hundreds and hundreds of mansions, estates, castles, and every other type of home you could imagine. It was a nice experience to be totally lost as well, not only in my thoughts but geographically as well. I had my Garmin 705 to tell me where to go but I could only see where my next turn was. I did not know where I was in relation to where I started or anything else. I think this really allowed me to just enjoy what I was doing, not worry about how to climb the next hill because I had no idea. I just went up all of them as best I could.
Now it is back to normal STL training, and my continued plan for the start of next season. There is still a lot of time to get ready but it will be here before I know it.