A local bike shop offers organized course rides on the Iron Girl Columbia course most weekends leading up to the race. (They ride other courses throughout the year as well. So now that I’ve got one tri under my belt, I decided it was time to check them out. The course is a hilly 17+ miles, so I knew the ride would be a challenge, but I figured I had better just give it a shot and see what happened. I ride some hills in training around my house, but I knew this was going to be some much more extreme hills.
See those hills? Yeah. They were fun.
The hill at mile 13 nearly took me out. My legs were tired and I just wasn’t sure I was going to make it up the hill. And then, as I was riding, I looked down and saw a note spray painted on the asphalt. I don’t remember what it said now, but it was something like “Keep going, you’ve got this!” And I took it to heart.
(Edited to add – Kristin tells me this is the “Yes You Can” hill.)
(This course is used by at least 2 local races, possibly 3, so all along the course, there were markings telling riders where to go.)
Now, I realize that some of you experienced riders are looking at this elevation map and thinking “Well, that’s not so bad.” But for an inexperienced rider like me, it was tough! It wasn’t pretty, but I made it through without walking up any hills.
Of course, we took a water break midway through (though I was drinking on the ride) and this was also with legs only a little tired from the previous day’s 5k, not with a body that had just been swimming for .62 miles, so this doesn’t make me feel extremely confident in my abilities in August.
But it shows me that I can do it, and it shows me what I need to work on. I need to practice hills. I need to get better at my gears. I need to not be so freaked out when I’m flying down a hill at 30mph+ (dude, it is SCARY).
I’m going to ride with the group as many times as possible before my triathlon. Looking at my calendar and their schedule, I should be able to ride it 5 more times before race day. No better way to train! And of course, it was awesome to meet more people in the local triathlon community. It’s great to have so much support.