Mount Diablo Hill Climb Time Trial / Apparently State Championships Race Recap
Haunting me on the calendar, the Diablo H.C. glared at me as the date neared. Should I? We just returned from a two-week mountain bike adventure in Oregon. My leg proved to still be in the temporary use phase but in the week since it starting showing the first signs of improvement. This is where I learned how to ride a bike, in the foothills, the shadows of Mt Diablo. My stomping grounds. Home turf. I couldn’t sit at home and not try, right? No pain, no gain? This would be my first hill climb time trial, but there’s a first for everything; plus I knew this mountain, the turns, steep grades, and wind-torn corners in my sleep.
Regardless of my bff relationship with the climb, the nerves came in strong. Would my leg hold up? Would I embarrass myself by showing my clear lack of training.
10, 9, 8….how long would it take me? Would I beat my previous record? What if I went too fast from the start?
7, 6, 5….will the heat get to me? Oh please let me pass someone? Uh no how many people are going to pass me? The counting turned to silent hand signals.
4, 3…. Damn my shoes look awesome!
2, 1 oh snap it’s go time!
Okay, head down….aero tuck….it’s go time.
There is something about time trials, hill climbs, and triathlons that I love. I love the solo nature of it. Where I’m racing against myself and no one else out on the course matters but me and my personal accomplishment of getting to the finish line. Sure working with a team in a road race or criterium is great, I love being a team player, but I enjoy being in charge of my own mistakes, my own faults, making the race about my individual accomplishments. Same with mountain biking, if I’m not having a good day that’s on me, I won’t be letting down a teammate who was counting on me for the lead out. I won’t fall off the end of the lead pack or miss a break and sit with that feeling of a lack of accomplishment. The solo races are for me and my selfishness 😉
It’s just me and the road. With each pedal stroke I feel my leg, I feel the strength building. For the first time in nearly 80 days my leg finally feels to be on the path to recovery. No sharp shooting pains up my leg. Movement feels smooth and continuous. I set my eyes ahead and continue to push. I see a rider in the distance and I tell myself, that’s my carrot.
The climb starts gradual, if in fact at all. I may know South Gate better, but North Gate sets a nice warm up for its opening act. A slight climb with some rollers before opening up to its main course. I near the first portion of the real climb. Gears shift down. Heart pounding. I’m back in the saddle, giving it my all, realizing it doesn’t matter about anyone else. This is my race. My mountain. I’m back.
I reach the top and roll past the finish line. I cool down by riding the last few meters to junction. Now I’ll be able to really compare previous efforts on Strava. The conclusion? Yup. I’m back. I may not have placed on the podium, or really bared any competition to my category, but I did shave off nearly 9 minutes off my previous best time, that’s almost an average of 2mph faster.
That’s a win for me.
Now I can’t wait to train again. Train harder. And find my limits. I’ve been so discouraged lately trying to find my patience as I recovered. Now I can get back in the game and back in the competition.
I start training for my next half-marathon on the 4th, getting back my running distances I lost with the injury. I will be racing more hill climbs in the near future with my ultimate goal of beating my previous record to the summit of Mount Diablo at the Mt Diablo Challenge in October.
I’m back on a bike and back in the water. Starting next week, I’ll be back to training in my running shoes again too.