Another month, another test in Kokee.
I was a little worried about this one.I hadn’t been getting the training in that I should have been, weight is up a bit, and it’s been a hectic, crazed few weeks of not getting proper rest.
In all of my tests prior to this one, month after month has been a new PR. I was afraid I would not hit it this month. In fact, I was even having doubts about riding all the way to the top today.
I didn’t get as much sleep as I wanted the night before, so the plan was just do the test portion, then ride back down to flat ground for 3 hours of endurance riding.
It was also raining when I left the house, and it would be possible it would be raining at the upper levels of Kokee. And in the winter, that makes for a miserable ride, even for Hawaii.
When i got to the west side, it was bright and sunny. No clouds over Kokee, and it was dry. And as a bonus, nice an cool. Low 60s.
I felt pretty well rested, I did my warmup riding and then headed up the mountain for the test. I kept waiting to fade, but it never happened. The “test” is 30 minutes of riding at anaerobic/threshold level. Each month, the distance I have covered has been increasing, and today was no exception. Not only was it an increased distance, but the rest of the numbers were the best they’ve been as ell, cadence, HR…
Just as hit the 30 minute mark, I seen a couple on bikes just ahead. I stopped, hoping they didn’t see me, as needed a break at this point, and I didn’t want to stop where they were, not being able to breath or talk. I also didn’t want them to see me turning around.
BUT….they seen me. They cam to check on me even, as I was sitting on he side of the road to catch my breath and recover. They had packs on one bike, and pulling a trailer with the other. Insane. Especially considering the first half of Kokee has 5, 7 and even 9% grades. There was no way I could turn around now. We chatted a bit, and I decided to go the halfway point before turning around. There is an alternate way up part of Kokee, and the junction where the two roads up meet is at this halfway point, so I had a back door to escape through.
I got to the halfway point, and figured I would keep going. About 200 feet past that, I turned around. Got to the junction and was about to take the back way down, when I started thing about the couple with the packs and trailer. At this point there was only one way to go.
So I did. And I am glad I did it too. I felt great all the way up. There was no reason for me to turn around. It was all mental that I felt I needed too.
Rather than push for a PR as I have in all previous rides though, I decided to actually stick with the training plan this time and ride at endurance pace rather than charging it. This way I would have an excuse for not hitting the PR
At the top, my time was slower than my December run, but faster than my November run. Considering I did not ride as hard, and that I did a couple hundred feet down and then back up again, I would have to say today’s ride was a success.
The ride down was a blast, and when I got to flat ground, I did another hour and a half endurance riding. Rode out to the end of the road on the west side, where it might rain four days a year. And wouldn’t you know, today was one of those four days. I also got caught in a small shower band on the way down Kokee from about 3000 feet to 2000 feet. Nothing surprising about that, though, considering the weather when I left. Everything was ON today. Cadence and HR were great for this last segment, the test was great, the rest of the ride up was great, my avg speed was 1.5 to 2+ mph better than it has been. Even the rain was refreshing, and I think I may have more fun riding up than I did riding down today.
A great day on the bike today. Even without the PR.