Back in December I blogged about fitness goals for the year and how we Americans have to be a little extreme in our culture to be fit. One of my goals for this year was to improve my performance at the Wintergreen Ascent (a bicycle hill climb/time trial held near Charlottesville, VA). I did the climb last year, but had to stop along the way so I could get my heartrate back under control. 🙂
This is a major climb, friends, on a winding road up to a small ski-area. We’re talking 15% grade in a few spots, gaining around 2600 feet of elevation in a bit under 7 miles. Why this was my goal when I live and train in the flat, flatlands of Virginia’s Coastal Plain, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s like hair (just go with me on this), you always want curly when you have straight hair…so you always want hilly when you have flatland?
Anyway, there was something basic and simple about my goal: finish the climb without stopping in under 1 hour. Before the race, I visualized myself riding by my usual stopping points on the climb. I managed my heart rate over the false flats and steeps (though that didn’t matter at all towards the top when my legs were burning and it was all I could do to push the pedals over!). I kicked it in at the finish and I made it without stopping. My time was 1:02.21. Not under an hour but close enough, and I shaved 2 minutes off last year’s time. YAY! HOORAY! Good job, me.
So now what?
The phenomenon of a post-achievement let down is so common it carries the name “post-race blues.” Maybe a little like “baby blues,” but without all the hormones and the screaming young’un. Common remedies include taking a break from the sport to rest and recover, documenting your journey so you have a place to return to and remember, and choosing a new goal. The first one I have down: I took the entire week off the bike and focused on other activities: reading, catching up with friends and family, laundry. I will have to stick the other solutions in my back pocket. I didn’t think to document my training, mainly because I wanted to keep it simple.
As for a new goal, well, that hill will be there next year…waiting.
Have you ever had a post-achievement let down? What did you do to kick yourself forward? Any MORE big fitness goals for this year? 🙂
Photo credits: Julie Fink and Ruth Stornetta. Thanks!