See how heart broken she is!!
With Roy down and out for the count, I continued my training sessions. Randy thought I had received enough level terrain riding. What was obvious was that for about two and a half years I had trained the right leg to compensate for the left leg. (The day after receiving and using new bike shoes and clipless pedals for the first time I did a slow fall exactly on my left knee. It took about two and half years for that knee to stop hurting so that I could put downward force on it to pedal. During that time the left leg was lifting only and I was really building up the right one.) Now I’m contending with the arthritic left hip. (insert whining here) I was raised a tough farm girl but I like to avoid pain as much as anyone. Recall: I started this adventure when I called Randy to set up an appointment to learn to pedal without further injuring myself.
No more flat terrain. No more zero wind. Randy needed to evaluate posture and technique during more realistic real life terrain. The first program was a slight incline of maybe 1.5% grade but it was still harder than the flat terrain. On the next visit, I was put on a program that was more hilly—a lot.
The 1.5% grade is barely felt. This one started with a 3.5% grade which we’ve encountered often, but I’ve always coasted down the other side to get the thrill of speed and to recover a bit. No way on this program. You have to pedal downhill, too!, all the while trying to make that perfectly circular spin. The very last hill was a 6.3% grade. I’ve almost always walked up long hills that steep!
This was on the 6.3% hill grade. I was proud of my pedaling efficiency going up the hill (ave 72 with a 49% left leg effort and a 51% right leg effort). The left is still weaker. (Efficiency and effort aside, I am glad that the ascent speed was cut out of the picture)
My hour of struggle was up and I was ready to quit, but Randy asked if I could finish the course. I was tired, sweaty, and aching but since there were male bikers in Randy’s shop (one of whom knows me) I replied that I would. (insert whining here) The training must be working because new muscles are cramping. Somehow I seem to remember that I started the program to avoid pain, cramping, and joint injury. I have high hopes that as I progress and improve, the only pain I will see will be on Roy’s face as I pass him on a hill. Oh, yeah, my motto is supposed to be: “Stronger, faster, farther.”