I went for a nice little 6 mile ride to a bike shop yesterday where I test rode 3 new bikes (2 miles each), then rode home (another 6 miles) on my sad little bike. In short, I rode a little over 17 miles, and felt pretty darned good. The hills that I thought were ugly last year weren't so much a problem. Granted, my legs burned going up some of the hills, but nothing like I remember last year. Also, despite the face that my heart rate was high, I wasn't having any problems with breathing. I was getting all the oxygen I needed, and was able to power my way up hills. I don't know why I feel better this year, but I do. The century may have something to do with it (the mental part of going up hills, and their sizes). It'll be interesting to see how I feel in a month.