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Friday, July 31, 2015

One Ride At A Time

The cumulative effect of consistently doing little things right is remarkable.

Earlier this summer, I wanted to get faster, but keep it fun.  So, I decided to add one short, hard, mountain bike ride a week.  Just one.  I chose a technically easy, single track climb up M-Hill that I had not timed in the past and set out to ride it as fast as I could, regardless of the conditions or how I felt, on the same day each week.  I ride it during the heat of late afternoon on my bike ride home, after a full day of work at a physically and mentally demanding job.

The first attempt I barely made it without stopping, deeply gasping after several steeper pitches.  But I timed it anyhow, because I wanted a bench mark.  Every ride since has been a little faster, and I believe that can continue for some time.  I like this path and look forward to where it could go.

Not yet on top, but getting there.
But it's not going to be easy to keep at this.  Even though I experientially know the direct results of consistent, short, hard efforts, every ride I still have to work through the mental process of deciding to start.  Every week, I spin that little gear for 5 miles into work, for the sole purpose of attacking M-Hill on the ride home.  Every week on the ride home, I talk myself into riding up to that starting line, starting the clock and starting the climb.

There are so many excuses lying in ambush.  I'm tired.  It's hot.  I'll ride later when it's cooler.  I'll ride tomorrow.  I'll be so slow it won't be worth it.  Even when I get to the park, the back up excuses start in.  Don't time this one.  You don't have it today.  Just take a different route.  You can ride hard without going to the top.  These are hard to ignore.  They only go away when I start the clock and start pedaling.  So, that's what I do.

Which way do I go?  Lots of choices on the descent.
The short term reward for the little climb is the view and then a variety of trails to descend.  M-Hill really has something for everyone.  I may take a different way down, but I'm going to try to talk myself into riding up that same climb every week for awhile.  I'm hoping that translates into a bit more speed in the legs for the Black Hills BackBone, which is never far from my thoughts when I gaze out onto the distant prairie.

Atop M-Hill, the view east reveals downtown Rapid City and the prairie beyond.

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