By the third time I was half way up Camilien-Houde, I was hurting. This was the seventh day of riding in a row and that meant that I was already feeling it in my legs. Usually my first climb hurts, then it gets easier as you are acclimatized and ‘warmed up’, until finally you reach that exhausted point and it just plain hurts again.
I enjoy this circuit. Just under twenty kilometres of flat warm up riding, and then you get down to the serious business of climbing. The first climb is exactly 5 km, all the way from the Atwater Market at the base to the summit of Mount Royal. Once at the top you dive 1.8 km, reaching a top speed this time of 72.8 km/h, then a quick u-turn at the bottom and you climb the 1.8 km back to the top. Repeat.
So how long does it take me to climb? It varies, depending on how good I am feeling. On this ride I was not setting any records as I was tired, so my best climb was 6:15 at an average speed of 15.7 km/h. My best climb this year was set on May 6 with a time of 5:55 and an average speed of 16.6 km/h. Wow! Almost a full 1 km/h faster…what’s happening to me?
To provide some perspective, in my age group on Strava I am currently ranked 34th out of 113. I am relatively pleased with that, but plan on climbing a few spots before the winter snow puts an end to climbing the mountain until the spring. If I can get into the 17 km/h range I will be very happy and this will bump me up by anywhere from 5-12 places.
There, I have a goal.