A world of hurt, or maybe not

5 05 2011

The real test of any bike is how well it takes you up and over climbs, and how quick and sure it is coming back down.

Wednesday was exam time for the Lapierre; we were going to tackle the five kilometer, 7% ascent of Burnaby Mountain. It’s not a killer alpine climb by any means, just a steady slog uphill.

I sensed trouble even as the road began its upward pitch; my legs felt heavy, they wanted easier gears. I obliged, dropping down to the little ring a good 500 meters before that might usually happen this time of year; by June I should be able to do the whole climb in the big ring.

That little defeat discouraged me; my rhythm faltered, my climbing labored. I fought the urge to fixate on the speed readout on the Garmin. A corner of my brain wondered if I’d be having this kind of difficulty on the Orbea, which was bred in the PyrenĂ©es and born to climb.

I was only too glad to finally reach the university campus at the top.

If I turn left to get to the World, does that mean I'm now on Pluto?

The descent was a lot more encouraging. The Lapierre accelerated quickly and rolled true, confidently. There was no speed wobble. I mashed the pedals and tucked low, my nose just above the handlebar. Now THIS was fun!

A mixed ride for sure.

But when I got home and downloaded the Garmin, the story was quite different. In fact, my ride up the mountain had been as quick as I’d been last October, when I still had my summer fitness despite my leaden legs. Makes me wonder what me and the Lapierre will be able to accomplish when I start getting some serious kilometers.