Monday, August 1, 2011

Ups an Downs

It was a weekend of ups and downs.

Saturday was a 24k run.  Typically, our running route from the store is an out and back route.  We add two kilometres each week so we simply run one extra kilometre out from the store.  This route makes it easier to keep an eye on the runners and provide water and emotional support.

I was getting a little tired of running this route so I decided to run a different first half.  Run from home, head down the country roads and meet up with the group for the run back in.  The only challenge was that I would have to run up the big hill to Rockway and then run down a super steep hill to meet up with the group.  The Rockway hill is always a challenge on the bike so I was a little apprehensive trying to run up.  The hill down is terrifying on a bike so I was afraid of what it might do to my shins as I pounded down with the extra weight of gravity to add to the pressure.

Here is what I learned.  Hill climbs are harder on a bike than on foot.  I spent the first 8k thinking about the mindset I would need to be in to tackle the climb.  Then I actually started the climb and practically sailed up.  It was surprisingly easy.  Sweet!

The run down is also a lot easier than expected.  The scary part of riding down the hill is the speed combined with the blind corners.  Running slows everything down to a manageable pace.  I sailed down sans problème.  

Ups and downs.

Sunday we headed to Grimbsy to cycle the 25k route of the Niagara duathlon.  Several riders are in the race next weekend so it a great opportunity to practice the route.  Or, more importantly, practice riding the dreaded Park Street Hill.  We ride up and down the Niagara Escarpment quite often and, while it's never easy, it's manageable.

The Park Street Hill is an entirely different beast.

It's steep - really really steep.  It's windy.  It starts off hard and fast - straight up.  It has one short plateau after the first climb which is just long enough to catch your breath before the next two upward surges.  Each surge gets progressively steeper.  I've ridden it three times before and, trust me when I say, it's just nasty.

Going down is even worse.  For me anyway, it is terrifying.  Some of the riders like the rush of hitting 60+ km/hour on a bike.  I am not one of them.  I tossed and turned most of Saturday night - troubled by dreams of cycling down the hill interspersed with dreams of being attacked by grisly bears.  To say that I did not sleep well is a wee bit of an understatement.

We rode the route.  We started the climb and, except for a minor shifting emergency at the beginning, it was ok.  We all made it up, exhausted but victorious.  We cycled the remaining flat part of the route and, too soon, found ourselves at the top....looking down.  One after another, we headed down the hill.  I lost sight of the others within seconds as they took up and I rode my brakes the entire way down.  Heart pounding, legs shaking, terrified but in control.  I made it down.

Ups and downs.

Physical ones.  Emotional ones.

I overcame them all.

Let's see what week seven has in store.

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