Need flatland training strategy for long mountain road riding?

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Kendall, Jun 10, 2003.

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  1. Kendall

    Kendall Guest

    I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan this past year from Seattle. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket
    for the CA deathride but am wondering if I can really be ready. Is doing intervals on short 100 ft
    vertical hills with 9-11% grades helpful and the best strategy? I don't know what else I can do
    other than crank down the tension on my spin bike or ride into the wind. I've done long mountain
    rides (e.g. RAMROD) before with no problem but I'm worried about this one because I always trained
    for hill on longer hills and I have no test before the DR and this ride has significantly more
    vertical and some steeper sections. There are no mile long hills here. Should I focus more on the
    short hill intervals or distance. I am also training in higher gears than I will have on the DR.
    Does this work? My training time is limited these days and only one month left.

    TIA,

    Ken
     
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  2. Doug Goodwin

    Doug Goodwin Guest

    "Kendall" <ckensto(nospam)@comcast.net> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan this past year from Seattle. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket
    > for the CA deathride but am wondering if I can really be ready. Is doing intervals on short 100 ft
    > vertical hills with 9-11% grades helpful and the best strategy? I don't know what else I can do
    > other than crank down the tension on my spin bike or ride into the wind. I've done long mountain
    > rides (e.g. RAMROD) before with no problem but I'm worried about this one because I always trained
    > for hill on longer hills and I have no test before the DR and this ride has significantly more
    > vertical and some steeper sections. There are no mile long hills here. Should I focus more on the
    > short hill intervals or distance. I am also training in higher gears than I will have on the DR.
    > Does this work? My training time is limited these days and only one month left.
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Ken
    >
    >
    >

    I've done them both. DR has more climbing, steeper gradients, longer grades and is at a
    significantly higher altitude. Base [lowest] altitude is at Markleeville - 5500'; Turtle Rock s/f is
    6000. The grades are anywhere from 9-14 miles long and average 6-7%, with some pitches up into the
    hi-teens. I really don't know what you're going to be able to adequately substitue for that kind of
    riding back in MI. When I was doing it regularly, the group I rode with spent many hours/miles on
    steep climbs of at least a mile, and would try to string as many of them together in a ride as was
    possible. We were in the Bay Area of NorCal, with a couple of mountains [Diablo & Hamilton] and a
    healthy number of ridge lines with testy climbs. Being on the flat lands doesn't give you much to
    work with. You asked about a choice between hill intervals or distance; you are going to need BOTH!
    I'd be doing as many testy little climbs as I could find and string together into a 100 mile route.
    I'd do that route as many times as possible. You are definitely going to need the "stretch".

    Good luck.
    --
    Doug Goodwin YMMV

    "We have met the enemy, and they is us." - Pogo __o _`\<,_ (*)/ (*)
     
  3. "Kendall" <ckensto(nospam)@comcast.net> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan this past year from Seattle. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket
    > for the CA deathride but am wondering if I can really ..... focus more on the short hill intervals
    > or distance. I am also training in higher gears than I will have on the DR. Does this work? My
    > training time is limited these days and only one month left.
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Ken

    I would suggest doing intervals on your 11% grade hill and complimenting that with high gear rides
    against the wind. I live in San Diego but about 10 years ago I was working a consulting job in
    Victorville, Cal. It is very flat up there but there is always a howling wind. I used to go on a two
    hour ride after work, riding for about 20 miles out of town with my back to the wind and then
    turning dead into the wind, keep my bike in high gear, and ride back into town as hard as I could.
    When I came back home on weekends I could ride the 10 mile long hills near my house with my buddies.
    I didn't feel that I had lost anything.

    I don't know if the wind blows that hard in Mich but this is probably what I would attempt.

    I am an old veteran of the Death Ride and also managed to get in this year. See you there.

    Tom
     
  4. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    "Kendall" <ckensto(nospam)@comcast.net> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I moved to Ann Arbor Michigan this past year from Seattle. I was
    fortunate
    > enough to get a ticket for the CA deathride but am wondering if I can
    really
    > be ready. Is doing intervals on short 100 ft vertical hills with 9-11% grades helpful and the best
    > strategy? [snip] My training time is limited these days and only one month left.

    I'm of the school of thought that one needn't train on hills to be able to climb them -- though it's
    certainly simpler that way. Your situation is not ideal but it's also not hopeless.

    Your strategy will depend on where you are in your training and what your goals are. If what you're
    aiming for is to set a record time and you haven't been training much, you're in trouble. If what
    you're aiming for is to make all five passes before the cut-off and you've already been doing long
    slow rides, this is entirely reasonable even if you don't have (m)any hills.

    I wouldn't particularly worry about the kinds of short intervals you're talking about. They're
    likely too short and too intense for what you'd need. With four weeks to go I think the most
    valuable thing you can do is to continue to work on your endurance by doing classic long slow rides,
    with occasional shorter tempo rides tossed in to break the montony. If you have access to a
    ergometer-type home trainer (the kind where you can set the wattage level, like a Computrainer or
    Tacx Excel) that could be good because it more consistently simulates the relatively low cadence at
    relatively high torque that you get in long climbs, but it's not essential. If you find yourself
    time-limited during the middle of the week but still have an hour or so for a workout, maybe do two
    20-minute intervals at just below LT, separated by a few minutes rest. This can be kinda taxing so
    don't do this more than once or twice a week, and if you go above LT your workout may be shortened
    which defeats the purpose (of raising your LT) -- keep it close to but under LT. You can do this on
    any home-trainer. This is only if you're time-limited: I'd emphasize that you're highest priority is
    building endurance.

    Two more things: drink lots, and if you don't get to Carson before the time cut-off, declare victory
    anyway and celebrate.
     
  5. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Thomas Reynolds" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I would suggest doing intervals on your 11% grade hill and complimenting that with high gear rides
    > against the wind. I live in San Diego but about 10 years ago I was working a consulting job in
    > Victorville, Cal. It is very flat up there but there is always a howling wind. I used to go on a
    > two hour ride after work, riding for about 20 miles out of town with my back to the wind and then
    > turning dead into the wind, keep my bike in high gear, and ride back into town as hard as I could.
    > When I came back home on weekends I could ride the 10 mile long hills near my house with my
    > buddies. I didn't feel that I had lost anything.
    >
    > I don't know if the wind blows that hard in Mich but this is probably what I would attempt.

    I think you have the right idea, but you don't need an actual wind. Riding hard creates its own
    wind. What you do need is an open stretch of road where you can maintain a high speed for long
    periods with no stopping or slowing. Simply ride as hard as you can.

    It might seem that climbing should be the same as riding on the flat, as long as you're in the
    right gear. But in practice it doesn't work that way. On the flat, your power stroke is shorter.
    You feel resistance at the crank mostly on the downstroke, then you're coasting between
    downstrokes. But on a hill you feel steady resistance all the way around. The only way to re-create
    this is by sustained fast riding, pressing hard into the wind. Even then it's not exactly the same,
    but it's the best you can do.

    Doing intervals on short hills helps too, for those short stretches of high effort up the steep
    spots, etc. More important is quick recovery from these efforts.

    I live in the mountains, but I still find it helpful to spend a week at the beach, where I can ride
    at a high speed continuously for 20 minutes or more. It's much easier to maintain a pace at the edge
    of my ability on the flat than in varying terrain. This is why top mountain bike racers spend more
    time training on the road than on the trail.

    Matt O.
     
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