I think I have mentioned my odd mental issues about the bike leg of triathlons. Today I broke down the wall. I wasn't expecting it but it happened. Now you may all breathe a sigh of relief. WHEW. Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW so many of the things that hold me back in life go back to self doubt or a general lack of confidence. There usually aren't legitimate reasons for me to feel like I can't do something, it is typically some crazy notion I have put in my own mind. Today I didn't let that crazy notion hold me back.
In all honesty, let me say that I had dusted off my bike for a ride on Thursday after work. About the time I pulled into the lot I found out my friend was not coming. I do not know anyone at this ride. (Temptation to leave creeping in). I talked to two guys who were there for the ride. They were warming up. I asked them about the ride, how far it was, that sort of thing. The first thing both mentioned was that the ride was "super fast" and a "barn burner". (Temptation to leave further taking hold). The starting point for this ride is easily 45 minutes from home. I don't know the local roads, I become worried that this might not be a "no drop" ride. I pack up my bike and leave. FAIL.
Today was a completely different story. I met a small group of my friends at Lake Lanier for a ride on the course that Iron Girl will be using in about a month. I am intimately familiar with the course as it is essentially the course for every triathlon I have done to date. There are lots of rolling hills and a couple of steep hills that can force less experienced riders to walk. Last time I rode the course, I dropped a chain and did the slo-mo "I am still clipped to my pedals" crash. It is a classic. I do not recommend it. At that time, I did manage to get the chain back on and finish the race. All in all, there are probably three hills on the course that made me nervous going into today.
We set out to ride into the park and to the transition area. Transition area contained hill of fear #1. Not a huge hill but the last time I was on it, I wasn't in the right gear and had hard time getting up it. Today, it was no problem. Go figure...
We circle around in what will be the transition area and head out on the course. About a mile in we are at hill of intimidation #2. This is the hill where I dropped my chain and crashed. Odd, I remembered it being so much steeper. ;) I trucked up that hill no problem.
About 14 miles in we get to hill of walking #3. This hill really is no joke. I saw easily 60% of the racers walk this hill last time. It kind of goes from a flat to a steep incline. I definitely walked it last time. Today, I chug a lugged up that hill. It wasn't fast and my quads were burning but I did it! WOO HOO - that alone was worth a victory dance!
A few small rollers, a long slow incline and we were back to our cars after 19.3 miles. Done and done. I am so thankful for this ride today. It was just the confidence boost I needed. I KNOW I can do this! Don't you love it when you get over yourself and things that seemed so hard suddenly become easier than you thought? I know I still need to work on learning to use the gears in a more effective way but for today, it worked. Basically, I just kept it in the middle ring up front and played with the ring in the back to go up or down hills. I'll add the fancier gearing tricks later :)