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How to Climb Gooder

October 18, 2011

Today’s Ride: 86km—Sheffield, St. George, Jerseyville

Weather: Cool

Not much wind, especially compared with yesterday. The ride started with an espresso at Domestique—the new Reserva blend, which has become a fast favorite. Then out King St./Brock Rd. on the way to Crooks Hollow. I made a remarkable discovery on the first hill: if you pedal slower, you don’t get so tired. I also discovered that you don’t go as fast, and that was distressing. So I picked up the pace again. I’ve always seemed to only have one gear on the bike—hard. I’m not the best grimpeur, though I climb well for my weight; and I’m not the most disciplined rouleur, though I can mash the pedals. But slowing down the stroke so that heart and lungs didn’t feel like exploding was a novel exercise. I doubt I’ll repeat it: climbing slowly doesn’t seem like much fun. Better to get it over with. And, as Bradley Wiggins asserts, you’re always one minute from bonking, so all you have to do is climb for one more minute. But slowing down increases the amount of time you’re climbing. In short, there are times when suffering is more desirable than comfort and climbing is one of them. There must be some element of Buddhism here that I’ll need to explore further.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling as though my cadence hasn’t been as fluid as it was in September, but today and yesterday, it’s been better. The stroke has been tidy and the cadence higher. Bike silent. Which leaves just the mild sound of tires on road as the lone interruption of perfect silence on the ride. Nice. So quiet, in fact, that I came around a sharp, descending bend on the Old Ancaster Rd. in the final stretch before home and almost ran into a young deer, parked in the middle of the road. I had to brake hard and was within twenty feet of it before it turned and saw me and bolted into the woods. Momentarily frightening, but further affirmation that the ride was smooth and quiet. And also an encouraging endorsement of my developing bike maintenance skills.

I did a reverse route of the ride I took last week out to St. George. More or less. The weather was better today, with sun and light wind. It seems as though there’s no easy way to get over to St. George Road on paved roads from here. All the concession roads seem to turn into dirt roads on the edge of Brant County. They seem fairly hard-packed—Concession 7 certainly was (I traversed about 500m of dirt and gravel on today’s ride), but they were pretty soft last week in the rain.

Just shy of 4500 kilometers. Heavy rains expected for the rest of the week, but I’ll try and get out and dance between the raindrops later in the week and put in a good ride on the weekend.

The descent into St. George

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