For the last few years I have been riding a loop around the Saluda NC area. A road bike ride. It's got a crazy downhill around a valley and a crazy long climb back to Saluda. It's really pretty fun and I enjoy riding it. The only problem?
On the climb side of the valley there is one section that I had never been able to pedal up! Yep that's right, with a 34x32 road bike gear, my smallest! I couldn't make it! I had to stop and walk about 50 yards of it. No shit the paved road is that steep! I had tried and had failed. It's been a goal for a while now and Saturday, I made it!!!
I was about 18 miles into a 35 mile route and knew it was coming. I tried to think positive and give my self the pep-talk. I rounded a turn crossed the one lane bridge and dropped to my lowest gear. I still had a good 1/2 mile to the really steep section but I wanted to pace myself. I finally turned the corner and there it was!
The steepest section of paved road I have found yet. You see most of the time you have switchbacks in the mountains. on really steep roads you just go back and forth up the hill. When that is the case the really steep spots are really short and on half of them you are on the outside and that is the flattest way around anyway.
This section goes straight up! Not a single turn, it goes straight up the hill. No relief! So I got there and just looked down and stood up. All I concentrated on was turning over the next pedal stroke! Finally I looked up and I was close, so close I couldn't stop! I knew if I didn't make it over this time I was missing my chance.
I hurt and it was slow but when I came over the rise and the road was only about half as steep. I knew I had done it. From that point it's still a climb and you only up shift maybe a gear or two but I still turned around just to take a look. I finally made it. I almost stopped just to stare, it felt that good.
I might be getting stronger or maybe I just did it. Not sure, but I own that hill now. I know exactly what I need to do to make it up every time from this point. I just need to pace myself better, before I just did the usual same thing. Starting at the bottom I would just stand and crank and downshift till I ran out of gears. Then try to just hang on, this time I started slow and stayed slow.
Never changing my out put until the steepest part. I got this!