Saturday's rainy ride was supposed to be nice and easy after last week's 111-mile jaunt. Then as I approached "Little Woodley", which is about a 10 or 11% climb, I came up with another plan: go easy except for the hills--those get attacked. Little Woodley is steep but short so I decided to attack it out of the saddle in third or fourth gear (I forget which I ended up using). It wasn't a typical "I have to finish a ride after this hill" attack, either. It was a redline up to the top where the only energy I saved would be enough to get me to the summit. I got there much faster than I ever have before but oh was I tired.
Since it was raining I didn't want to go up "Big Woodley", which is about 12%, so I decide to go up Balboa as fast as I can. Balboa isn't so steep but it is long. As I started out I noticed that I was keeping it above 12mph but I knew it got a bit steeper later. Once I hit that part I tried to keep it above 11mph and I did, for the most part. Every so often I'd drop below 11 but never below 10. I even carried that through to Balboa 2, which is even a bit steeper. Good progress for someone who, not all that long ago, was amazed that I was going up that same hill above 8mph. I'd like to think it's a combination of getting stronger and losing some weight (I haven't stepped on a scale since July).
With the IronBruin Triathlon coming up in just four weeks, and its bike course is anything but flat, my short-term training routine on the bike is now clear: hills...hard. Hard up the hills on my weekend rides. The Griffith Park loop now becomes hard Garbage Truck Hill repeats. None of this just surviving up to the top stuff. I expect my rides until the week before the triathlon to be painful and not fun, which sounds kinda fun.