Success! What a Rush! Old La Honda Climbing

This Saturday I set out on a cold (but warming) morning out on a ride. I was determined to ride up Old La Honda twice, as last time I only did it 1.5 times, completely wiping out in the middle of the second try.
It was my quest to increase my hill climbing strength. Previous to Old La Honda, I was doing hill repeats on a smaller hill and got up to about 6 reps, which each rep being about 5:15 minutes. It was time to move up. Old La Honda is about half an hour, sometimes many minutes less for those who like sprinting up a 3 mile hill with steep switchbacks and no flats at all. My legs were getting stronger, but I was determined to improve this part of my fitness as I’ve always felt that hilly courses wipe me out too much and leave me nothing for the run afterwards.
I went to low gear as I spun up the hill. It was tough but I reached the top in about 27:30 which was pretty slow compared to pros…or those guys with triple front chain rings who just easily went up that darn hill fast and easy. I have compact cranks, so I’m a tad better than those without compact cranks, but nowhere near the mechanical advantage of triple chain ring folks. Most of us frown upon those guys, even if they do blow by me up Old La Honda. Bah! I am going up twice and these turkeys are probably going to quit after one rep!
I pause at the top and rest, suck down a GU gel, put on my windbreaker, and then turn around and make a chilling downhill run and almost freeze my tail off coming down the hill. Cooling down with no effort, coupled with the fog up top makes for a super uncomfortable downhill, sometimes even in the middle of summer.
Then, at the bottom, I sit in a sunny patch for a minute to warmup. I take off my windbreaker, and then head back up. It’s definitely much harder this time. My quads are feeling very wiped out and I’m off my seat to vary my muscle usage as much as possible. I make it up in about 29 minutes this time, but I don’t care about losing 2 minutes. This is a strength workout and I so psyched to make it up the second time!
Next time, 2.5 times up Old La Honda, and then onwards to 3 times. It will definitely suck, but the benefits outweigh mere pain.