Emily Murphy hill no longer owns me.
About three weeks ago, the 0.3-miles of Edmonton roadway with an average grade of 8.3% seemingly mocked me after I failed to cycle to its peak.
Back then, as I made a defeated U-turn on my mountain bike below the mid-point of the climb, I felt the unmistakable sensation of lactic acid coursing through my burning quadriceps, and I swear I could hear Emily Murphy hill stifling a guffaw.
The paved hill, just south of Emily Murphy Park and northeast of Hawrelak Park, marks the grueling start of the 20-km cycling leg in the sprint event at next month’s 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup.
As regular readers of this blog know, I’m cycling for Team Sun (which includes swimmer and city editor Nicole Bergot, and runner and sports scribe Derek Van Diest).
So you can understand that I was somewhat pleased with myself this past Friday afternoon when I managed to ascend to the top of Emily Murphy hill during my second training session (a 16-km ride in pouring rain) with coach Kevin Clark of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy.
Sure, my legs were quivering and burning, but I made it — undeniable evidence that I’m stronger and fitter than I was three weeks ago.
Clark was pleased, too, with the progress I’ve made via several solo training sessions since our last meeting. Of course, we both know I’ve still got a ways to go with my training.
I can’t help but get a little panicky when I realize there are only three weeks left until the big race. But managing to scale the formidable Emily Murphy hill is a big step.
Now, if it would just stop raining every single day …
Tomorrow: I plan to pick up my race bike.