Mt. Charleston Hill Climb TT

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by RapDaddyo, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    I am planning to ride the Mt. Charleston Hill Climb TT as a fitness benchmark. The race is Sat, 9/17. Here is the race flyer http://www.mountcharlestonhillclimb.com/eventinfo.html. This is a straight, 17.5 mile, 5.7% avg grade climb (see profile below). I haven't yet ridden the course, but my weekly hill climb repeats are done on a 3.3 mile hill with approximately the same average grade. I will ride the hill twice this week and twice next week to get a feel for pacing, but my pacing strategy thinking at this point is to try to maintain a relatively constant average speed. This will probably result in a pretty large power swing of as much as 300w. My training strategy between now and the race is to climb the route 4 times, plus 2 other "hard" 3-hour rides (with a 5-mile climb and a bunch of rolling stuff), 4 recovery rides and a 1-hr easy spinning ride the day before. I'm very comfortable climbing and the only thing unusual is the length of the climb. So, I'm a little nervous about getting into a deficit at the mid-point because there just aren't many places to recover without losing a lot of bike speed. Any suggestions for training or pacing strategy?
     
    Tags:


  2. HammerHead

    HammerHead New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know about the 4 recovery rides and an easy spin the day before an event. Is this to taper? With the hard hill training, followed by several days of successive recovery, I know my legs would completely shut down. At a minimum, I would get a few short (60 - 120 sec) threshold intervals the day before to open everything back up. If it was me, that routine would leave me totally blocked on race day. Of course my only experience is me.

    Just my $0.02
     
  3. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    The recovery rides are spaced out between the hard efforts, so that the timeline looks like HRHTTHRHRE where H = Hard, R = Recovery, T = Tempo and E = Easy.
     
  4. HammerHead

    HammerHead New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow. That would still shut my legs down. I'm sure different people react differently to training, but if I have even two days of easy spinning, my legs go into hibernation. I always feel like crap after a recovery day. It's the day after that I feel great. I always do some short threshold efforts before race day, and take two days before as a recoveryday. But my legs may be crankier than me.
     
  5. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    I had a chance to drive out and reconnoiter the course this afternoon. It's really a magnificent TT test. It's a good thing this is a one-way course because the views are so magnificent on the return trip that I'm sure I would get distracted and crash. I had to put my Suburban in 3rd gear and tap the brakes to keep my speed under 65 coming back down the mountain. As I suspected (and as I have said before), there is no such thing as a constant-grade course and this is no exception. There are numerous ROs as I call them (Recovery Opportunities), where the grade flattens and in one case actually goes negative, so my VP pacing strategies are going to get a good test. The question is whether I'll have the guts to gun it up to ~450w in some of the steeper sections in the first half of the course (probably not). The course is actually three distinct sections. The first 5 miles or so is flatter and pretty constant. The second 5 miles increases a bit in grade but also has more variations. The next 4 miles is significantly steeper with lots of grade changes (and also spectacularly beautiful as you begin to get into the mountain and the towering trees). The final 3.5 miles is radically different, with some pretty steep stuff, more curves and switchbacks at the end. Most people are going to ride this course completely wrong. I am going to build my pacing strategy around the last 3.5 miles. One could lose 10 minutes there in a few heartbeats. Concentration on this course is going to be crucial -- this is a long haul, well over an hour (course record is something like 1:20). The wind shouldn't be a problem as our prevailing winds are from the S or SW and the mountain provides some protection. Likewise the sun shouldn't be a problem because it will be at my back. I sort of like riding being able to see my shadow -- it keeps me smooth to be able to see my stroke. Tomorrow AM I'll get my first look from the saddle. Too bad this course isn't closer -- I'd ride it every week.
     
  6. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    This may be obvious, but picking the right line through the corners of the last 3.5 mile section should be pretty important. Will the road be closed during the race, or is traffic going to affect your line in the corners? You'll have to experiment some with the steeper inside line through the corners, vs the longer flatter outside line to see which is the fastest and best use of your energy.

    It's too bad that tunnel vision and the intense focus on watching the road, pacing, looking for ROs, etc. are going to prevent you from enjoying the scenery. :)
     
  7. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Actually, this road gets so little traffic at this time of year (given that it only goes to a ski area which presently has no snow) that it won't matter whether they close it or not. I can take any line I want. I rode it today for the first time. What a spectacular TT course! And, it is hard to not enjoy the scenery -- I'll attach some pix so you flatlanders can eat your hearts out. I'll post the ride details in a separate posting. Just got in and want to analyze my pacing and power management in this first effort. I do know one thing. They'll probably have water bottles at the finish but what they really need is a couple of shrinks -- this course really works on your mind.
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Rode the course for the first time today. What an awesome course! The views are increasingly spectacular as you gain altitude and the views on the fast ride down to the base are equally incredible. It's a good thing this isn't an out/back race, because I'd probably crash on the descent from being distracted by the views. I've attached a few pix below -- eat your hearts out, flatlanders.

    The purpose of today's ride was purely reconnaissance. I wanted to get a feel for the road and the grade changes, and I wanted to identify some landmarks preceding the steeper sections. I was dead wrong about the wind. Today was particularly windy (steady at 20mph, gusts to 25mph), which was good because I think I've now ridden the course under the worst conditions I'm likely to encounter on race day. The wind was a quartering headwind for the first 12 miles, but was directly on my nose for the last 5-6 miles. Sometimes I thought it was going to blow me off the road. My pacing strategy was a real crap shoot since I have absolutely no idea what my 2hr sustainable power is. I guessed at NP=250w, but that was a pure guess. So, my pacing strategy was to take it out at ~250w in the first half and then see what I had left in the last half. I was pretty much on plan for the first 7 miles, but when the grade increased my cadence got way too low for my taste (in the 60s) due to my gearing and it really threw me off. I had a hard enough time keeping my power over 200w for the last half of the course and ended up with an average power of 225w and NP of 236w. So, I missed my goal by 14w, but I attribute that largely to my gearing. I just don't feel comfortable with cadences in the 60s. I ordered a climbing cassette today and it should be here on Tuesday. I'll have to climb the course one more time with my current cassette but will have a chance to climb it with the climbing cassette on Wednesday (and maybe Thursday if I feel up to it). I've attached a chart of AP and NP and the CP workout file. I still haven't figured out what happened in mile 7 -- I think I lost my concentration.

    One of the biggest problems with this course is the intense concentration required and the constancy of the effort. There is literally one short descent in the whole 17.5 miles -- I used it to take a drink and a couple of electrolyte tablets. Then, bam, it's over and you're working hard again.
     
  9. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Rode the course for the 2nd time today. It was very interesting to analyze the results of today's pacing strategy compared with the first practice ride. Today I had an average AP=221w and NP=231w. This compares with AP=225w and NP=236w for the first practice ride. One might think that today I was slower. Wrong. I took 3 mins off my time, due to using my power more effectively (i.e., adding power in the right places and backing off in the right places). I still give myself about a C+ for pacing, but I'm getting better. I can't wait to get my new gears (tomorrow), because I'm getting killed when my cadence drops below 70. The AP and NP by mile and the CP workout file image are below. I've figured out what is going on in mile 7. That is where the steepest grades are and my cadence is killing me. I just can't put out the same power at low cadences. My power clearly drops after mile 7, but it's hard to determine how much of that is fatigue and how much is due to my low cadence due to the grades.

    For gearing, after consideration of both a compact crank (FSA 34/50) and a new 13-29 cogset and rear derailleur (Campy), I've decided to go with the cogset and rear derailleur. The cost was pretty much a tossup, but the changeover is so much simpler with the cogset. Once I change the rear derailleur, I'll leave the larger one (Campy Medium) on, because it'll work fine with my 13-26 standard cogset. So, changing my gearing for hillclimbs or a hilly century will be as simple and changing the cogset. Couldn't be simpler, easy to pack, few tools required, etc. I'll have a chance to ride the course at least once with the new gearing. I don't know how much difference it will make in my time, but I know I'll be a lot happier spinning a higher cadence.
     
  10. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    Oh come on! You mean it was less windy today, right? ;)
     
  11. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Actually, the wind was about the same. But, the winds are forecast to subside by Saturday. But, I did make one change. I organized my schedule to be able to ride the course today at mid-day. It was 93F, compared with ~78F the first practice ride. It mattered a little, but was partially negated by the wind. But, at least I don't think it will be any warmer than 93F on Saturday. There is one funny story about the temp. I use my HAC4 for HR, because I want watts, speed and cadence on my PT display. About 15 mins into the ride today, I glanced at my HAC4 and saw 93. Thinking it was showing HR, I thought, "Gee, you're not working very hard. Better pick it up." A few minutes later, I looked again and it still read 93. It was then that I figured out is was displaying temp. I flipped to HR and it was 135. I got a pretty good laugh out of that one.
     
  12. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'd guess that even a slight difference in wind speed would make more of a difference than a difference in power management strategy. Maybe you were faster because of the lower density of the warmer air.... :)

    Are you still planning to use a somewhat 'constant speed' strategy, or did you abandon that idea? Look like your speed swings from ~6.5 - 11 mph, but maybe you're still dialing it in or just struggling with your gearing.(?)
     
  13. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    I'm pretty sure the difference in my time is because I didn't take it out quite as hard in the first 1/2 hour and had more power for pushes on the steeper sections in the critical section of the course (from ~mile 6 to ~mile 14). So, I wasn't as slow in the steep sections as I was the first run. I didn't ride at a constant speed, but rather had target speeds that I didn't want to go below. Depending on the section of course, my "do not go below" speeds were 10, 9, 8 or 7mph. I used the least power possible to maintain my target speed by section. If I could maintain 8mph in an 8mph section with 150w, I did. Believe it or not, I had to work my a** off in some sections to keep my bike speed >7mph. My pacing strategy was sort of, "If 50w extra power won't buy me at least a 15% increase in bike speed, I'm going to save my power." I know I can still save a lot of time after mile 6, but I'm done screwing around with the first 6 miles. But, there's a HUGE difference between a 1hr max power effort and a 2.1hr max power effort. After the first hour, it was like in the old-time movies when the captain calls out in that copper tube to the engine room, "This is the Captain. Give me more power." That's what I was calling out, but my engineer was calling back, "Screw you!"
     
  14. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    Oh, you missed the great setup! You mean the engineer was calling back <Scottish bur> "I'm givin' her all she's got Cap'n, but she c'nt take much more o' this. One more mile like that, 'n the glutes are gonna blow..." <end Scottish bur> :D
     
  15. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    That's about it, but I'm sure there were a few Scottish profanities laced in there somewhere (I'm sure the Scots on the Forum will be able to conjure up a few good ones).
     
  16. flapsupcleanup

    flapsupcleanup New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey RD,


    I've been following your efforts for some time here and find them very interesting, particularly because I have a somewhat parallel background to yours. Raced in the early 80's, backed off in the 90's (mostly because I lived in Alaska, tough to ride in the winter there) and returned to hard riding in the last 5 yrs or so. I've always felt that I was a pretty strong rider particularly in climbs and I can do pretty well in our "spirited" group rides around here. I dont think there is anyone here in my age group (I'm 55) who I cant compete with very well and we have a lot of good riders.

    Now, with that said I was looking at your data on your practice climbs and some questions come to mind (I think you have answered some of them before, sorry)

    1. How much do you weigh?
    2. Your age?

    The reason behind the questions is that I've been riding hard for a few yrs now but I highly doubt that I could maintain the power numbers you are putting out there. Now I know the fallacy of just comparing power numbers with anyone, but still power is power. Additionally, the climbs around here are small, the longest is about 4 minutes or so and putting out power in a climb is a different animal than putting it out anywhere else, at least mentally. So what's the deal? Is my power meter only a way to quantify what a wimp I am?? ;)
     
  17. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Hey flapsupcleanup, thanks for the note. As to your questions, I weigh 173 now, down from 212 when I resumed cycling on 3/20. My target race weight is 165 next spring, but I may get there a bit early. The way things are going at the moment with my increased workout intensity (from 3 hrs/wk to 5 hrs/wk at Levels 4-6 per AC schema), I may weigh 170 by Saturday this week. I'm 62, but I had the good fortune of good genes -- I have done very little to maintain my fitness in the last 10-15 years. I exercised very rigorously until I was in my mid 40s, but that dropped way back in my late 40s and 50s. I used to race mainly RRs and I loved climbing. I don't know why exactly since I was never very light (~165 when I raced seriously). I think it was because when I first started riding I asked the top cyclist in my state (also a training buddy) what's hard about cycling and he said, "Climbing." So, I went to work on becoming a good climber. Cycling was always my first love and when my schedule and family responsibilities (kids grew up and left home) permitted it, I decided to get back in the saddle. I knew the first 6 months or so were going to be hard, so I basically set no expectations of myself other than to put in 2 hrs/day in the saddle until I had some strength and endurance. I'm basically pleased with my progress so far, but since I had no expectations I had no specific goals. I'm in the process of defining more specific goals because I want to resume racing next spring. I'm also in the process of getting myself better educated. Cycling is so interesting intellectually because it involves two very interesting and complex sciences -- physiology and physics. Not to mention the mental part (maybe the biggest part). I definitely think that the geography one has to train with has a lot to do with the kind of cyclist we become. I feel incredibly fortunate to have such a wide range of great rides here, many with spectacular views. But, that must be the case in many parts of Alaska as well. And, I agree with you that long climbs are in a class by themselves, at least mentally. They just wear you down because there's just no relaxation.

    BTW, I don't post my specific numbers here to either brag or complain. Rather, power #s are an objective way of characterizing a ride intensity that we can all relate to (even if we don't train with power). If someone says that their FT is 250w and they did a crit with an average NP of 265w, I have a very good idea of the intensity of that ride -- bravo!
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Rode the course for the 3rd time today. I wasn't overly concerned with my total elapsed time, but rather rode the course as a fast-paced training ride with max efforts in a few sections that had caused some difficulty in the first two practice rides. Nonetheless, my ET was only 1:30 slower than the faster of the two previous rides. I'm getting to know the course much better and it's really valuable to know where the steepest sections are and how long they are. The only thing that p***ed me off was that I mis-timed the last major push at the last steep part. I can usually go as hard as I want to for up to ~100 pedal strokes. I figured the first parking lot was ~100 strokes and so I kicked it hard as soon as I entered the parking lot. Well, after ~60 strokes I was toast and had to back off to get around the turn. The moral to that story? Things I can do when doing regular intervals don't always play out so well after 2+ hours of high-intensity riding. At least now I know I need to get halfway up the first parking lot before emptying the gas tank.

    My gearing is halfway re-done. I've got the new cogset on and the compact crank will be installed tomorrow. My cadence at the slowest sections of the course will have been increased by 30%. I don't plan to ride the entire course with new gearing but I'll do some hills on one of my regular rides. I'm not too worried about adapting to the new gears. I think I'll only use 3-4 gears for the entire ride. I mean, the course is rather simple -- up and more up.
     
  19. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Well, I'm as ready as I'm going to be. My gearing changes are done and tested. My PT hub batteries are fresh. I know it's a one bottle ride, so I'm removing the second bottle. I'm still working on a quick dispenser for the two electrolyte tablets that I want to take after the first hour. I'd like something like a Pez candy dispenser. I have my pacing plan. Based on my training rides, I'm going to ride the 1st half of the course at an NP=262w and then see what I can do in the last half. I arrived at NP=262w by looking at my training rides. My first training ride was at NP=236w, so I divided by .90 to arrive at what I think I can do with race motivation vs. training motivation. This is the critical calculation. The .90 is a first approximation and I'll know myself better as I ride more races. But, very importantly, my training rides have allowed me to experiment with recovery powers and I feel I can recover at 200w. So, if I find I've taken it out a little too hard, I will drop back to 200w for awhile and then pick it up to a slightly lower power. I've got my landmarks for push triggers and I've got my target speeds for each section. I know my lines through the switchbacks -- basically, take it up high in the first part and then drop down to get the maximum bike speed exiting the corner. I know where to start my final push in the first parking lot. I'm running brand new tires (Veloflex Pave 180g) and tubes and the course is relatively free of rocks and glass, so I'm confident in my tires. My start position is 34 (30sec intervals), so I'll have plenty of rabbits for motivation, especially in the 2nd half. I expect to be passed a few times in the first half. The forecast is for temps in the high 70s and quartering headwinds at 7-9mph. This will be the most favorable conditions I have ridden the course under. About the only thing I don't have is 10 less pounds of body weight. I'll probably weigh 172 at the start line and I'd love to be at 165 or less. I'll be thinking of you, palewin. I'll report the results tomorrow.
     
  20. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    What's your climbing position like? On the hoods, I assume based on the slow speeds, but are there any spots where you drop down to the aero bars? Maybe during the recoveries and the slight downhill?

    Are you carrying a spare tube and CO2? That's a tough decision based on the length of the course.

    You might check the analyticcycling.com aero analysis about the water bottles. I know that 1 bottle on the downtube is faster than not having a bottle in that position, so at least keep one there. For a quartering wind, it may be better to have a second (empty) bottle on the seat tube to help fill that void in the frame and give you a sail effect. Of course, the weight is going to partially offset any aero difference, but it's something to consider.
     
Loading...
Loading...