Some days you're Superman, some days you're his underpants

As suggested by Angus, this has been copied from my blog 'By wheel or water'

Yup, I had one of 'those' days.

I had to drop the lad's car off for a service so took the bike with me to get home afterwards. The ride home took me up Expressway Hill (the first climb on the Veloway), a 3km upward grind that has everyone gasping to some extent. It's not a climb I've conquered on the Europa as yet - climbing with 48x18 gearing is a wee bit more difficult than on my geared bike which features a 26x32 granny - but I'd had the weekend off and a good feed of pasta the night before so I was confident that today would be the day.


I was in trouble before I got anywhere near the stupid hill. It seemed that everytime the road tilted upwards, my legs just gave way. No energy. The old heart on the other hand, as evidenced by the HRM, was wondering
what all the fuss was about. A slight head wind didn't help but really, it was only rubbing salt into my wounds ... or is that gasps.

Anyways, I got onto the lower slopes of the climb. The first bit is fairly long and steady but then levels for a hundred metres or so before continuing up to another step, etc. If you survive that first bit, you'll get to the steepest bit which kicks in about 2/3 of the way up and features a gradient somewhere in the order of "oh flamin' heck" percent.

I've been surving that first bit and really only pausing for a gasp and walk on the steepest bit. Today? Hah. I got half up that first bit and died. Heart rate high but still inside my normal working range, but nothing in the legs - standing to pedal was an exercise in creative stupidity.

So I stopped and had a gasp.

I do gasping really well. Both feet on the ground, straddling the bike, forearms on the brake hoods, head drooped, sweat filling my glasses, great heaving gasps. I've been told I turn an interesting shade of scarlet as well, so it's just as well I'm a Ferrari and Ducati fan. Today though, it really was just for show. My heart rate dropped like a stone. I wasn't sweating. The legs didn't feel bad, I just knew that if I tried to stand to climb, they'd go on strike.

So after fighting off the embarrassment, I got the Europa rolling again.

I won't say it was easy but from there, I got to the steep bit in one hit but as soon as I stood to tackle it, nuffin. I got off and walked.

There's no shame in walking when you ride fixed gear, the gearing's just too high, but it was sad to walk about 200m whereas on my last ascent, I'd only walked 50 and felt guilty for that much.

The rest of the trip was much the same. Downhill, not a problem - don't laugh, downhill is an issue when riding fixed because you have to keep pedalling. Max cadence was in the order of 150 and that was held thanks to the Major's Rd magpie who was in a super aggressive mood today so I had to out run him. Next hill? Died on the way up, flew down the other side. That nasty little climb up to the exit at Panalatinga Rd? I WALKED IT! I've never walked that bit before.

But I got home, feeling tired but more confused than anything else. Tomorrow is a 12km dash along the flats because I drop the lass at school and then ride to work.

Views: 42

Comment by Clive Palfrey on September 20, 2010 at 19:52
So glad to find that there's somebody else who gasps on the Veloway even if they are a on fixie
Comment by JDL on September 20, 2010 at 20:31
I like the title of the blog, so much more enertaining than Lance's "Hammer and nail" line...

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