Tuesday November 24th 2015
I always thought I was better at uphill cycling than downhill. To go fast downhill you have to be extremely confident on the bike and to have very good reactions. You need to be a skilful rider. To go fast uphill you don't need any skill at all, you just have to pedal. I only took up serious cycling in 2005 at the age of 27, too late, I thought, to develop the kind of idiotic fearlessness you need to go downhill quickly.
So on all my trips up and over San Cristóbal, I loved the uphills and was faster than pretty much everyone, only rarely getting overtaken. I enjoyed the downhills as well but though I pushed hard, I never felt particularly fast. When I tracked my rides on Strava, I was always concerned about the uphill segments and hardly even looked at the downhill ones.
So I was genuinely shocked after today's ride, when I checked my Strava achievements, to find that I'd set the fifth fastest time overall for the descent from Antilén to Pedro de Valdivia, out of well over 3,000 times. I thought there was something wrong with Strava, but then I looked at my other times for the segment and found I'd actually set a lot of fast times.
My time was 3m33s, with the fastest time being 3m26s. I felt like I could make up a 7s margin. I accepted the challenge.