Monday, January 2, 2012

Beatty Smack Down!

Beatty hill is well known by local cyclists as a toughie of a hill! Beatty Road is in El Dorado Hills, California. It is about a 375' climb in 0.7-0.8 miles with a mixture of 5-16% grades.

Yesterday, the Hammerin' Wheels Bike Club has a New Year's Day Smack Down - Beatty Hill Challenge. The challenge is to do as many hill repeats in two hours as you can. Riding up Beatty one time is already tough for a cyclist. Repeating it is a whole another challenge!

To give a little background, I will say two years ago, it was a struggle for me to ride over the overpasses in Davis. At my first triathlon (in September 2010), I ended up getting stuck with my bike on a hill. Very frustrating. So, in 2011, I was very determined to get better at climbing hills.

I first met Beatty in February 2011. I only got about half way up her. My foot cramped and so, I stopped. I had no idea how much more hill there was going to be so I turned back down. It seemed like this endless hill.

Later in the year, after riding much more hills and getting myself stronger, I was taken back to Beatty and trucked all the way to the top! Felt great to see the top. Then, I went up a second time just for good measure. I was really happy that after months of work, I was finally able to conquer this hill!

Then, I geared myself for the New Year's Smack Down. Prior to this, I had only repeated Beatty 3 (maybe 4) times. I wanted to try to do at least 10.

On the day of the event, there is a good showing of cyclists out there. The sun is shining and it is hard to believe that it is winter! A perfect day to ride! And, not only are there a good number of cyclists doing the smack down, there are quite a number out there for support and encouragement!

I find the first climb up Beatty always hurts the most. And, that is how it went this day. I take off on the first one trying to get ahead of the slower folks. The super fast folks (including my "sister" Sarah) got way ahead of me but I was glad not to be stuck behind the slower folks. I think I hammer a wee bit too hard on the first two times as it is just brutal getting up Beatty. However, the third time, it is feeling a little bit better. When I reach the bottom after the third repeat, I ask for some Gatorade as my hand/legs are shaking like crazy!

The next few feel much better. I actually feel really great at 5, 6, and 7. I find I am not so great at speed as I am endurance. And, this was a test of endurance alright! I just keep going up and down. It really helps seeing some of my cyclist friends standing all along the side of the hill cheering me on as I truck up and down. I come flying down the hill. Turn and see some folks at the bottom cheering me on. Then, I get going and reach the first bend where I see some more friends. I smile at them as they encourage me on!

Though, I go on and hit the second bend and have to buck down, pedaling hard to get through that darn middle section! But, having so many of my friends all along the hill cheering me on as I drag myself up and down that hill definitely helps a lot!

I get 10 repeats in and am feeling pretty good (happy that I got ten) and thinking I could do more. Now, I being to figure out how much time of the 2 hours I had left. On my 11th repeat, I push myself a little extra hoping that I could squeeze in a 12th one before the cut off time. I get to the top of the 11th one and zip down as fast as I can. I hit the bottom and turn ready to charge the hill one more time. Jeff says I still have time so I go!

So, I finish doing 12 repeats on a hill! A hill I could not climb a year ago! I am amazed (and also on a fantastic endorphin high)! I end up being third female. So, a respectable appearance at the Smack Down. Did more than what I set out to do so I am happy with that! :)

It was such a well organized event! Tons of Hammerin' Wheels volunteers out and friends cheering! It was great! The bibs they had made for us were awesome! They had barcodes which were scanned every time you made it to the top. People would ask how you were doing and offer water, GUs, etc.... I felt well taken care of during the event! This was better organized than some of the paid events I have been in. And, perhaps the funnest cycling event I had ever done! Crazy but OH, so much fun!! What a great way to kick of my new year of crazy! :)

I want to express great thanks to Scott Taggart and Hammerin' Wheels for putting on such a great event and for getting to me to do all those hill repeats last year which made me able to partake in this event! Much thanks to Jeff Sanford for being the organizer of such an awesome cycling group and for providing support at the aid station today! The Hammerin' Wheels folks have really helped me become a cyclist in the past year and definitely made me much better at climbing hills. I thank you all for that! Thanks for those folks who came out to cheer me on as it was greatly appreciated and did really help me get up and down that hill! :)

[forgot to start garmin on the first climb so probably my fastest time up beatty is not recorded]

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