After a couple weeks of not getting in much bike time due to vacation, weather, and some family visiting, I am finally starting to get ramped back up on riding. Monday I had a fun ride up in Nederland after work and felt pretty good on the climbs.
But the real sign of progress came yesterday on my lunch loop...
I did the Poorman loop here in Boulder that consists of a gradual climb for about 5 miles, then a steeper climb for another mile followed by a fast 4 mile descent back to Boulder.
As I started up the path I was feeling good, pulling a higher gear than normal but not pushing too hard as I went. I started catching other riders pretty quickly, which is always a motivating factor. As I pressed to the end of the Creek Path, I passed through my "check point" about 30 seconds faster than typical.
The next section is a gradual climb on pavement. I kept a steady solid pace, taking the opportunity to grab a drink or two as I rode up. Hitting the end of the pavement stretch and approaching the steepest part of the ride, I was again faster than my personal best time in both this section and the total ride as well.
Poorman Road is a fairly steep, dirt road that connects Fourmile to Sunshine. The road starts steep, it then lets up a bit in the middle before getting steeper towards the apex. I typically hit the dirt road and immediately shift into my smallest ring on the front chainring to make it through the steep section. Yesterday I decided to try and hold my middle ring up front as long as possible. To my surprise I climbed through the steep initial section and around the corner in the middle ring without suffering too severely.
I pressed on up Poorman climbing quickly, probably about 85-90% of max but not red-lining my heart rate too much. I did have to use my granny gear up front for the last push up the climb, but I felt pretty good about the ride. Upon cresting the top of the climb I set my lap marker and was pleasantly suprised/shocked to see 9:53 popup as my split time. My previous best time had been 11:23, so shaving a full minute and a half of my previous personal best was quite surprising.
Now I realize these times are pretty poor for Boulder rider standards (fast guys climb this in 6 minutes), but for me its a clear sign that my fitness is progressing. If I can continue to drop weight and ride, I expect that I can continue to drastically drop my times. Having a road bike to ride longer climbs will certainly help as well. My goal is to do Poorman in 8:30 or less, which I think is obtainable. I'd need to shave 1:23 of my time, but with a bit more attacking on the climb I think I can get it.