It was a new day today. I regrouped mentally and had a completely different experience than yesterday. I got my own compact crank on and my own powertap fixed. I had a plan for how to approach the day and my technical issues were gone. The ride today was 45 miles with a steep 12 mile climb up Mt Figueroa. My plan was 150 watt warmup (no higher no matter how fast the group goes), give my best threshold effort for the climb, then see what I have left and do a 120-160 watt cooldown to finish the ride. Hunter told people to use the first 20 minutes of the climb to do a threshold test. I chose not to do that because I didn't want to use up all my energy and not have anything left for the remaining 1:30 of the climb. That proved a good strategy because the hill was hard. I felt calm all day because I knew I had a backup plan if the group thing didn't work out - do what I need to do for me alone ignoring social expectations and don't care what anyone else thinks. This is pretty much how I approach life so I know it works.
The group stopped to rest when we arrived at the base of the hill and I kept going. This gave me a good 10-15 minute lead on everyone else. I knew it would only be a matter of time before each of the guys came by me, and yes, they all did. This was kind of fun because I got to say hi to everyone. Adnan told me this climb would be easier than Mt Lemmon in Tucson, or Volcano in Hawaii, but I disagree. This was steeper than either of those and for sure the hardest climb I have ever done. It kept going forever and took me 1:45 to complete. My speed was 6-7mph for a lot of it and in my easiest gear my cadence was 55. With my head start I was the first female to the top and to the bottom. The views were really something... we were above the clouds. We rode by Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch on the way down. I was not the last one back today. The lunch was basically over and the pizza was cold, but oh well. I sat on the floor during the presentation, stretching, using my Stick, and eating the fruit and hummus that I brought for myself.
All in all it was a good day. I rode most of the day alone and did exactly what I wanted to do. I feel so much more comfortable on my own rather than riding with a group. When I am by myself there are no weird speed social dynamics, and I enjoy the ride a lot more. Triathlon seems to suit my introvertedness a lot better than group riding.
The dinner tonight was strange... a casino buffet. No vegetarian protein to be had. Most people were disappointed with it. I don't get why they are not giving us athlete food that helps recovery. Well, at least I had no trouble getting full tonight. I ate a load of vegetables. I had a nice time talking to a few of the other campers.