The "chicago blues"

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by beison, May 11, 2009.

  1. beison

    beison New Member

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    I just got back from colorado, racing the collegiate national championships. Put simply, I got my but kiiiiiiiiiiicked. It was a rather humbling experience. (Hey, at least I didn't come in last![​IMG]) Instead of demoralizing me, it's sorta given me a ton of motivation by showing me what's possible if I keep workin at it. I've only been riding for about a year, so I figure there's a bunch o progress I can still make if I put in the effort.

    But where to train? I'm living in the heart of Chicago. The only climbs to speak of are boat launch 50 ft rises 25 miles north of me, a 200 ft steep rise in a suburb 30 miles south west, and the occasional 15ft overpass ramp. In other words, it's hard to get in hill time...

    And more than just hill time, the only open roads I got access to, within a 10-20 mile radius is the "lakefront path"--an 18 mile stretch of less than perfect pavement that is almost always crammed with pedestrians and cruisers (unless you wake up at 5am, or go out at 10pm). Evanston, and the northern chicago suburbs are alright, but sometimes I just don't have time for an hour commute there and back, to the start of my ride.

    Even if it's a super nice day out, sometimes I've chosen the trainer for riding, since I know I won't get any quality intervals done if I go out anywhere...

    Maybe this is more of a question to any fellow chicago trainers, but where the heck are we suppose to be able to ride?
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Well, few things will prepare you for riding at altitude other than riding at altitude ... but, as you may have deduced, riding uphill on mountain roads is mostly an aerobic event ...

    I'm not sure what you mean by the heart of Chicago (where are you?), but on Sunday mornings (when there is ZERO TRAFFIC) you could certainly ride from Lower Wacker up to Upper Wacker Drive on the portion that parallels North-South portion of the Chicago River (north of the Loop) where you will find some connecting ramps ... you can, of course, simply loop ad infinitum using the two ramps. It may not seem difficult the first few times, but if you limit the largest cog you use to the 19t-or-smaller, you may eventually feel the effects.

    I don't know if the parking structure for Marina Towers is "open" to the public, but you could certainly ask the building manager if you could ride up-and-down the parking ramp for training purposes.

    There ARE other "ramps" in the City.

    As far as getting to Sheridan Road, you could certainly ride your bike there on Sunday morning (others have disagreed with this notion in the past) ...

    BTW. Greek Town is on the other side of the River ... you should go there to eat lunch-or-dinner with your friends this Summer. Heck, there are so many ethnic neighborhoods which are within WALKING DISTANCE (under 5 miles) from the Loop that you really need to learn the City and take advantage of the great ethnic restaurants which Chicago has.

    BTW2. Consider putting a set of ROAD bars on a Hybrid-or-29er frame & using the FATTEST TIRES (i.e., heaviest ... 700x42 to 700x58) you can fit in the frame ... your road wheels will feel like feathers the next time you have to ride in the Rockies.
     
  3. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Get a fixed gear and come out to Le Mont! You'll work going up and down.
     
  4. beison

    beison New Member

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    I love lemont... it's like 20-25 miles away from me though. Just not super feasible to do when I can only do 2-3 hours of training that day. I do hit it up on the longer days though. I'm at 33rd and state (by sox field).

    I just read that Christian Vandevelt trained in his basement on a trainer in the chicago burbs this preseason. Watched himself in last year's tour on a bigscreen.
    Maybe my whole "do my intervals on a trainer, regardless of the weather" is the only solution. As long as I can bear it, it does give you a pretty good workout...
     
  5. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    See if they let you ride in the quarry in Hodgkins!:D
     
  6. kopride

    kopride Member

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    I rode with a friend of a friend from Chicago last year who had just done the Lake Placid triathalon, which is pretty damn hilly. As we rode up and down the foothills to the Appalachians, he was making the same lament about the lack of natural hills. But I was noticing that he was hanging with me pretty well on even the steepest hills. He says that he interjects long sprint intervals into his ride and over under threshold intervals in order to simulate hills. Like the flatlanders on the Jersey Shore know, a watt is a watt is watt. On most east coast hills, my PT shows numbers that range from my threshold to brief periods where I am nearly double my FTP and then variable points in between. We have different profiles than the guys out in CO. I will see 3000 -5000 feet change in elevation on some of our 2-3 hour loops, but they are rolling. as opposed to long prolonged climbs followed by downhills. In other words, I typically have to contend with 7-11 minute intense climbs, followed by 2-3 minutes coasting (or light pedalling) downhill and then a few more 7 minute climbs in rapid succesion. On a trainer, I try and duplicate the hill profile by reference to the watts I experience on some of our steeper hills, and use the gears as the increased resistance. Most spin bikes will let you do the same and you can practice standing and climbing better.

    It isn't perfect, but remember I don't have a big beautiful lake to ride around either or the other scenery I have seen jogging and roller blading while I have ridden in Chicago on business trips. And the Jersey guys are more than competitive with us folks with natural hills because they prepare themselves for this same kind of hill scenario. As an aside, I have trouble hanging with their A rides sometimes which are just a 90 minute long flat paceline at crazy speeds. They never slow down, you are just in a paceline and in the saddle except for the brief highway overpass. Again, I don't practice just a 90 minute grind at threshold that much with the brief periods of pulling at the front. Give me a 9 minute hill to unclog the traffic any day over that craziness.
     
  7. Bike N Ski

    Bike N Ski New Member

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    If you ever get up to the Woodstock area check out Bull Valley(+1.5 hr nw). You have multiple climb profiles to choose from. Lengths up to 3/4 mile, grade up to 14 percent, and vertical rise near 200 ft. Further up around East Troy WI(2+ hr) climbs up to 17 percent with one climb averaging 6 percent for just under a mile.
     
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