We will be riding the usual KSR route at the upcoming GTR this weekend, and knowing that - for now - the outer loop is on the cue sheet, I wanted to get it out of the way once so I would know how to mentor others up it. And I did.
In a (few) word(s): it ain't no thang.
I had myself worked up into a bit of a state beforehand, having distorted what everyone had told me about how the hill is a killer and super steep and awful, etc. Being myself, I was naturally anxious starting off, but then when I got to the base of the climb itself and looked up at it I realized it wasn't really much of anything. Steep, sure, but not awful, and certainly not as bad as it looked in profile from the inner loop.
Lesson learned: don't psych yourself out; stay out of your head.
On the ride out, though I'd initially wanted to go after it because of the easier ride the day before, I just didn't have much in me. I had eaten as much breakfast beforehand as usual, but I didn't feel very strong. Getting to the park, I noticed I'd averaged 13.9 mph on the way out, and and I was very hungry and almost a bit fatigue-shaky. As L and I brought up the rear, the boys and J were already there and eating, ready to go, so I hopped on their tail before I could talk myself out of doing the loop and rode. I had S with me, who convinced me that it really wouldn't be that bad, and he psyched me up for it. He's a great riding buddy. After the climb, I was REALLY shaky and I just had to eat, so I started to pull out a pack of Honey Stingers, but dropped other food on the way. S rode on while I went back to pick it up. I had him in my sight for the rest of the loop, catching him when he stopped to make the turn on the way back in.
I REALLY like that loop; it's fast, the worst is over quickly, and it's interesting. I definitely prefer it to the inner loop.
After getting back to the rest area, I ate the rest of my bagel from breakfast (still shaky) and saw my average had gone up to 14.0 mph. That didn't surprise me, because of the speed of the loop, and I expected it to drop on the way back home, which it always does.
Except for this time it didn't. L and I killed it on the way back, without putting in any apparent extra effort. I felt great at the end of the ride, and super proud of myself. Cycling is, for me, a mental game. If I can talk myself into doing something, then I can do it.
Maximum speed: 34.4 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 36.83 mi
You can see the elevation and all that here.