While in California I cycled with my ears stopped up. Upon arriving home I went to my ENT doctor. Here it is, three weeks later and so far no relief. Between weather, medications, and other whiney excuses, my training has suffered greatly. However, I managed to get out this past weekend for 45 miles on Saturday and talked my friend, Evelyn, into accompanying me on my 42 mile, 22 climb traditional Sunday ride. For those in the Austin area, the loop is: Raincreek, Loop 360, Bee Cave, 620, and through Balcones.
Here is where the reality check comes in. I've been riding with Evelyn for several years. Even though when we started together she was coming off a serious hip situation, and certainly not close to 100%, I was usually in the 70% range and always ahead on climbs. I felt a little dishonest in not telling her that Raincreek had two hills, 16% and 16% with a 20% ramp, just to get us started. She is familiar with 360 and 620 so they were no surprises, however she hadn't been training on hills, so this would be a good workout. I'll cut to the chase: she led me up all the hills and was kind enough to ease off the pace so I wouldn't expire.
I know she has been training hard these last few months while I made excuses, so she gets the kudos. I, on the other hand, need to get with the program. We'll be taking this ride again in a few weeks. Check back to see how we did.