I LOVE the Road to Nepal! It's such a sweet ride. Great views, great hills, perfect pavement, very little traffic, and the wind usually cooperates to make the ride harder as a training aid. What more could you want? According this bike computer it's exactly 51 K from my driveway to 549 and back. I think of it as my calibration track.
It's all hills, all the time. The flat level spots can be measured in a small number of meters. I can't go any faster downhill, since I spin out of my gears about 65 Kph. The only way to be faster is to go up the hills faster. We all know what that means.
The first time I rode it, March 23, 2008, it damn near killed me and took 2:40. That link includes a map so you know where I'm talking about. Somewhere along the way I formed the goal of getting down and back in less than 2 hours, requiring an average speed of a hair over 25 Kph. On a very hilly course.
Even before I got on the bike, just puttering around with breakfast, I knew I was going to have a good ride today. When I started I felt strong and smooth. I decided to push hard to see if I could get under my goal, and at the same time nibble Clif's bars to see what solids to to me when I'm working hard, on a hot day. (For Calgary, peeps.) Took two bars, and ate 1.3 of them.
I caught the lights out of the neighbourhood for the left turn, and passed a pickup pulling a trailer. That was a weird feeling. There was some wind, but not as bad as it's been lately. Normally I take it easy down 37 but pushed a bit harder today. Made it to 22X in just over 17 minutes. Good traffic, crossed over the highway and got tore in.
Estela was a champ as always. I GRRRRRRed up the hills. I sang parts of "Whatever Lola wants" to myself. I kept checking what gear I was in and if I could push a bigger one, or spin it up faster. I tried to save standing up till I was near the top of the hill so I could power over and onto the downhill. Even knowing where the top is, and some are very deceptive, I'm still needing to work on this. But I'm standing longer, long past the time I'd normally sit down again.
The Garmin's have a feature that compares your pace to a planned pace, or previous efforts on that course, and uses a little guy to show you how your doing. Feel free to correct me if I've got that wrong; I've never seen it. But I was mentally comparing myself to previous versions of myself riding this course. Thinking of them gradually losing ground behind me.
I got down to 549 in just over 1:04. I still didn't know if this was good enough to get back under my goal, even though coming back is faster. There's still some good hills. I put my head down, said Grrrrr and powered up the hills. I was an animal, trying to ride smooth and strong. I wanted to be up at the top of zone 3, breathing hard all the time.
On the way back, just south of 22X a pair of riders was heading south. I waved, said "great day for a ride!". She waved, and he recognized me to call out my name! I was astonished! That's the first time that's ever happened to me. I was frantically going through all the people it could be. Eventually, I landed on my neighbour Jim and his wife Susan, and sent them an email asking if in fact it was them.
I knew I was within range of my target when I got to 22X. I had no problem getting across, and I went very strong up 37 St, though I didn't catch the light where I have to turn left to head north. I had to stop for some cars. The little hill back into the neighbourhood usually slows me down, but I leaped on it like a big cat on it's prey, and I powered up it faster than ever before. I knew I was close, and didn't want to miss it by a a few seconds. I put my head down and pushed for the finish line over the last K or so.
I went past the house, and cooled down with a short easy spin, so I can't totally trust the bike computer numbers. Stretched. My legs feel great! I feel great! hmmmm, now for my next goal....