Miles: 70.5 Climbing: 5000’ Route: Downtown—Mercer Island—89th—May Valley—148th—Jones Rd.—196th climb—Sweeney—Maple Valley—216th—Tiger Mountain climb—Issaquah—Squak Mountain climb—Newport Way—Mercer Island--Downtown
With every foot of ascension of Squak Mountain, my motivation for doing the Montreaux Village Parkway climb faded. Today’s plan was to complete the “Triple Issaquah Alps Traverse”. After using the 196th climb, and then taking Sweeney Rd. to reach Maple Valley, we headed back north and then east. We did Tiger Mountain from the south, and we criss-crossed Squak, going up to the top via Wildwood, before dropping down Olympus to Tibbet’s Park. Next up was Cougar Mountain.
Physically I felt good today, and I feel quite fit for early summer. Overlaid is a little layer of fatigue, the result of four strait fairly hard weeks, during which I have averaged 230 miles and over 13,000’ of climbing per week. Throw in four pretty tough HOWC’s, and what you get are good fitness gains and fatigue, likely as much mental as physical.
So with the choice of Zoo, Montreaux, or Somerset (technically not Cougar) crystallized in my head as we rolled up Newport Way, I chose…Newport Way. Yes, of course, I was tired, but I still felt good, and I guess I just didn’t want to do another hard climb at a high pace with a competitive group.
It probably didn’t help that it was my turn to pull on the gradual uphill as we passed Eastgate Elementary before the turn for Somerset. Much to my surprise, as I was detailing the meeting spot for the riders desiring to do the climb, they all chose…Newport Way. We had another strong group, we had ridden hard, and I guess I wasn’t the only one who just didn’t need one more climb with no easy way up.
Rarely do I prefer riding hard on the flat to a nice solid climb, but just as in past weeks, I seemed to feel better and better as the ride wore on, and towards the end, I was riding hard as we rolled back. As he has on recent HOWC rides, Emil threw in some late attacks, and I had to ride hard to cover them.
It’s a good thing I am enjoying riding hard on the flat. Today was the first day of the year for our “Super Strenuous” pace. For July and August, the ride description I have posted mentions that “Riders should be capable of taking short pulls at 23-25mph”, and on some HOWC rides that is conservative. And yes, we will still be climbing hills as well. Ah, summer is here, and it’s easy to tell on the Sunday ride.
So I am now in my fifth hard week in a row. I’m committed to riding the Chelan Century on June 20th with three strong riders. I know the pace will be high, and there is 8600’ of climbing, so I have been rationalizing that I need to “build” for this day.
In reality, the weather has been fantastic, and I just wanted to do what I do, and what I like to do is ride my bike. I don’t need any motivation other than the fact that I simply love to ride. The hard part for me will be cutting back the hours on the bike so that I am well rested for Chelan.
I hope to see you on the road.