Tag Archives: cycling

Climbing is Back, Endurance, That’s a Different Story

I’m happy to report that my climbing is back, and yes, to some extent, sprinting is there (able to pass some folks).  But endurance is still not there.  Guess it’s just going to take a bunch of long distance weekend to get it back up.

I decided to do a surely flat distance ride, which was originally going to the Cliff House.  I wanted to limit it to a sub 100 ride, so I cut it off a little bit after Pacifica, which turned into an 82 miler. I think the fog may have sapped my enthusiasm too. It’s a good thing I did, because my legs didn’t have much jump after mile 70.

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So with myself exhausted and legs tired, what did I do for Sunday?  Did I take it easy?  Come on, remember who you are talking about.  I wound up doing a kick ass hill climb, Mt. Umunhum.

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This was a fairly routine ride with me before the accident, and this is the first time I felt confident enough with my hill climbing to even attempt this.

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I won’t say it was easy, but it wasn’t impossibly hard.  My climbing legs are there.  This is very encouraging.  So why couldn’t I do an easier 80 miler?  Well, on my way back home, I was starting to feel the fatigue.  I guess it’s just going to take time, consecutive 150 mile weekends to get that fitness back.  But the effort today on Hicks then Mt. Umunhum did feel good.

Preparing For Another Organized Ride But Not Routine

Well it’s a day before Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge, and I’m still questioning my sanity.  This is a really hard century/double metric, with majorly difficult climbs, and I’ve only really been climbing again for the past 3 weeks.  But this is a special ride.  Karen and as bunch of other riders from Southern California are coming up to do this, so I cannot disappoint by not riding   As Karen says, it’s an annual event, must do.

I think I’m OK to do the climbs, but don’t think my endurance is quite there.  I’ll probably start with the first spur, then follow the rest of the metric century route.  I’d still have to do Jameson Creek, which is tough even when I’m 100%, and it’s just before lunch.  Man, what torture.  I think I’ll channel my Andrew Talansky in me, off in the back.

I was going to try hitting some hills a week before the ride, but when I got to Boulder Creek, I got a flat, and thought it best to come back along Hwy 9, so that in case I got another flat, I would be in range of help.  So no Jameson Creek prep ride .. I’ll just have to wing it.

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The last prep I had was Montebello on Sunday, and Mira (which is only a short 0.5 mile climb but pitches to 20%).  I figure a couple if days rest off the bike is in order (not even commuting in).

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Longest I’ve done since my accident was 65 miles, and I figure this will be close to a full century.  I’m actually pretty nervous about this …. About as nervous as I was for DMD, but for very different reasons.  But I’m also excited to ride with Karen, Ramon, and the rest of the gang making the trip from LA.

Wish me luck.

A social double?  Well yes, that is possible, with the right, fun crowd.  This is an event I love to do not just because it is pretty, and not incredibly, but it’s fun to reunite with my double friends from So Cal.  So I coined this a social double

My friend Curtis over to pick me up.  It didn’t start off on a good note.  We had issues mounting my bike on the Yakima rack.  We end up having to call their tech support for help, and eventually got that all squared away.  What a stressful way to start the weekend.

Was trying to get a group together for dinner early, but just couldn’t arrange that.  Plan was to eat, then register, then sleep.  Just couldn’t get that all set up.  Original plan was sushi, but the local place was too expensive, plus it didn’t seem to be
a good source for carbo-loading.  We ended up at Andersen Split Pea restaurant, and I loaded up there … Mmmm

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Got everything all squared away, and ready for the 5 am start.

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Met Debbie, Sharona, Rory, and Less at the start and off we roll.

Three first 35 miles was just to get into a groove, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t blow myself out, and get into a nice comfortable pace.  I ride with Les and Rory for that stretch.  We basically rode together till the first rest stop.  Less went on ahead, while we re-grouped at the first rest stop.

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We continued on from there but Rory was going at a brisker pace so I decided to hang in with the gals.  Besides, it was more my pace.  🙂

We were now three, myself, Debbie, and Sharona.  We went ahead and traded leads, riding together for the remainder of the ride.  This made for a much more enjoyable double century, and yes, fun!

Sharona, Ron, and Debbie

Sharona, Ron, and Debbie

In past years, when we got to Morro Bay, we would head straight over to Los Osos Valley Road, but they changed the route last year, to go through some lush hillsides on Turri Road.  This was a much more scenic option, and boy was it pretty.

Onto lunch stop … a left on Los Osos Valley Road, then … a tandem train comes.  Whaddayaknow … my friend Steve, hanging on to the tandem train.  I’m gonna slip in, and enjoy the fast train … woohoo.

After lunch, we travel through one of the most scenic sections of the ride, Shell Beach.  It kind of reminds me of Palos Verdes .. words, and pictures don’t do it justice

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By the time we rolled into the Guadalupe Rest Stop, which was about mile 136, I was feeling a bit fatigued.  Back was beginning to ache, I just attributed this to lack of riding miles, translating to a weak endurance.

We continued on, picking up a couple extra riders to help lead the pace. Up to this point, I was leading our small group, but now I was just tired, and I was just hanging on from the back … hanging on with the claws of my hands. I had taken ibuprofen and endurolytes, but they just didn’t quite seem to help. Then, all of a sudden, I realize I have a flask of hammer-gel in my pocket.

Took a swig of that, and now I’m fine. Got my energy back just in time for the next rest stop.

Everything was going so smoothly, we all are in a great mood, anticipating finishing this in daylight.  Then, all of a sudden, we have a flat, and this is just 6 miles from the next rest stop.  Well, the tire was deflated to about 50 psi, so we figured, just CO2 it.  Well, that only lasted < 1 mile, and we had to go ahead and replace it.

Damn, this tire is hard to pry off

Damn, this tire is hard to pry off

I checked the tire but couldn’t find anything indicating a puncture, or any other debree that caused it.  Roll into the next rest stop, and fill up on tubes and CO2.  And oh, gotta take in the cup o noodles … gotta do that as a tradition at the last rest stop of the double.

Ok, 30 more miles to go, and we all feel good about finishing this before dark.  While we are at it, we probably should plug in our external power, just to make sure we don’t run out of battery power on our Garmins (and record it as one ride, instead of separating into multiple rides).  We plugged in our external power at 6 pm, and we figure that after about 40 minutes, it should have enough juice to last us the rest of the ride.  All seems good, except Debbie’s Garmin seems to have been reset to 0.  Noooo!!!!!  Damn, and using the same cable seems to work on Joshua Tree, but why did it not work here.  Phooey!  Well, my external power seems to work, so I agree to give Debbie my fit file, after we finish the ride, since we all rode together, at the same pace up the hills.

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Oh, BTW, we have a second flat.  Nooo!!!!!  What’s wrong with this tire … it’s brand new.  So here we go again, same routine as before, but why did it fail again.  I pry it open again, and still, don’t see anything wrong.  So put on another tube, but this time, the tire is much harder to put back on.  We pump it up, but there is no air going into the tube.

At this point, Lisa, one of Debbie and Sharona’s friends, comes along, and we are now 4 riding back.  However, we still have the tire issue to deal with.  Robert, Sharona’s hubby, who also happens to be SAG’ing the ride, comes by to the rescue, with a full floor pump, more CO2, and tubes.  We get that going, and off we go.  I have no idea how long we spent struggling with this, but I’m now pretty refreshed, other than the energy it took me to put the tire back on.

It’s getting dark, and we need to get our lights on, layer up, and finish this Alisos Canyon climb.  After a right turn, we ascend Foxen Canyon.  Debbie and I are riding in front, and I figured we would re-group when we got to the bottom at Hwy 154 intersection.  We didn’t see Lisa and Sharona in back of us, but in the distance we see some headlights.  We thought it was them … nope.  A few more cars and bikes pass by, and no Lisa and/or Sharona.  OMG … we start to panic at this point.  We gotta climb up the hill to get them.

We climbed only about 1.5 miles before we saw them, and Sharona had just about finished putting it back together.  Dang, what is up with this tire?  What’s important is that we are back on the road again … this time, we’re going to stay together, keep every in sight.  From this point on, I’m sweeping, just to make sure we are not separated.

4 flats?  Damn, there goes our daylight plan … there goes our OCD plan to get to 200 miles.  At this point, the drive to get OCD miles has gone … we just want to get to the finish before 10 pm.  Finally, we made it back to the finish.

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We were delirious at this point

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Am I a lucky guy or what?

WE finished at around 9:30 pm, and here are the stats:

Strava:  194.8 miles, 8,649 feet climbing (even with elevation correction enabled)

Garmin Connect: 194.75 miles, 7,753 feet climbing

This was the most fun I’ve had in a really long time.  What a way to get off double #13.  This was my 14th double, 5th Solvang Double.  Thanks for such a wonderful day, Debbie, Sharona, and Lisa.  All for one, one for all.

 

 

Getting the Double Century Bug

This Saturday was the first double century of the year Camino Real Double, and I had a number of my friends doing it.  I saw so many Facebook postings from it, that it really has inspired my double century training.  I can’t wait till my first double, Solvang, which is what I’ll use as a training ride for DMD.

They looked like they were having so much fun, and I wish I was down there doing it.

Instead, what I did do was a pair of rides on the weekend to train up.  Saturday, it was a ride with Ramon and Karen, with two steep tough climbs, Hicks and Metcalf.  Was not long on distance, but made up for it by intensity of the climbs … We’re talking 16-20% on Hicks.  Then, if that’s not enough, stiff headwinds on the way to Metcalf, then some punch your gut steep climb.  Both of them on the same day just tires you out.

When I finished this ride, I didn’t feel overly fatigued, but others reading my Strava posts were saying I was a glutton for punishment. Well it was tough, but I didn’t really think too much of it. I guess it was a good thing I canceled my original Sunday ride, which was Diablo – Morgan Territory. Instead I just did an out and back to Kings Mountain, then descent Skyline to Hwy 92, then back on Canada.

I met up with Marco at Robert’s Market, to climb Kings, and we took it easy going up, but took it aggressively going down on Skyline. That is one fun and fast descent, averaging 30-35 mph.

I’m Not Quite Ready for DMD Yet

I finally was able to get in a good training ride for DMD.  This was an 80 miler, starting from Fremont, then climbing Mt. Diablo, then back.  It’s actually a pretty flat ride, with one bump in the middle … that’s a huge bump. meetup-01262014-2We went out along Niles Canyon (Hwy 84).  This is a two lane road that can be pretty busy at times.  Since there is not a whole lot of shoulder room, we had to paceline it through Niles Canyon.  We kept up a pretty nice 18 mph average, and we kept that up for a good part of the flat stretch before getting to Danville.  A couple guys got flats along the way, but they had us go on ahead, thinking they would catch us on the climb.  Later on, I flatted as well close to the base of the climb.  I guess the good thing is I didn’t get the flat on the descent.  The bad thing is the hole in the tire was pretty sizable, and I had to “boot” the tire.  The one time I don’t bring a boot, is when I need it the most.  The only thing I had was a $5 bill … this is one expensive boot. After getting this flat, it deflated me … ok, I’ll stop with the bad puns.  But ever since then, my motivation and energy was not the same.  I think the off season affected me a bit more than I thought, because I just wasn’t climbing like I was before.  My back could feel it, that my core was not that strong, so I need a bit more work on climbing, as well as endurance riding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miQYI93heho With the combination of the flat, and my general lack of climbing fitness, most of the group was there waiting at the top.  There were a few guys from the first flat that were still climbing (ones that I that would surely pass me, but they had valve problems with their flat). We all re-grouped after descending the mountain back at the base of the climb.  After that point though, my legs felt like jello, and it had no energy, so I rode the second half of the ride solo.  No paceline, just timetrial it back.  At least there were no stiff headwinds, so that’s good. It’s a good thing that DMD is still 3 months away.  I still have time to train, but at least I got a good long hill ride in.  You gotta start somewhere, right? http://www.strava.com/activities/109249407

Zombie Raccoons Climbfest with WW

It’s been over a year being on Google+, and I’ve had such a blast connecting up with fellow cyclists on Google+, but never actually ride with any of them.  That all changed this weekend.

Zombie Raccoons Ride #bikecommutercabal

Zombie Raccoons Ride #bikecommutercabal

I finally got a chance to ride with my friends Lynne Watanabe and Chris Davies. In addition to this, we ride together with another hill chimbfest with Steve and Cheryl from WW.

Once again, we had short but very steep climbs and descents .. Ranging into 20% grades.  Yes, they were relentless.  These were a little like the hills of San Francisco.

Now I did warn Lynne and Chris that some of these climbs are really steep, but we still sent on ahead anyways.

It was still a little chilly, so I wore toe warmers on my shoes. When I wear toewarmers, sometimes it’s a little hard to feel where the pedal is with the shoe with the toewarmers on. One time, I missed, then hit the pedal on my leg. In the process, my left sit bone hit the saddle pretty hard. That was pretty painful, and I wound up riding with that pain for the whole ride. That pain still lingered with me the following day.

Then with all the hills climbed, it did catch up to a few of us, forcing some to skip the Ascension hill. Yes, this was a hard day. This was also historic. Finally getting to ride with some of my commutercabal peeps. Now if I can only ride with Jenny Oh, now that would be cool.

Meetup Group to ride to a Meetup Ride to do Zayante

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Today’s ride was a loop to climb Zayante, which starts somewhere in Felton, and end up at Skyline.  The start of this ride was at Saratoga Gap, at Hwy 9 and  Hwy 35, but I wanted some extra miles, and so did a number of others.  We decided to meet at Starbucks in Saratoga.  This was a big group.

Official Group Start at Saratoga Gap

Official Group Start at Saratoga Gap

We got to the official start of the ride in plenty of time to spare.  The official start had even more people.  I think there were about 27 riders signed up for this … awesome.

Dew from trees dripping on us

Dew from trees dripping on us

First up, the descent down Hwy 9. It hit cold on that descent, and it was a good thing I wore a base layer … I just didn’t want to bring a vest. There was a lot of dew from the trees, and it gave us the illusion that it was raining, but we were just being dropped on by the trees. A few didn’t bring jackets and were freezing. Luckily Steve had extra jackets, and offered to those in need.

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Descending Hwy 9 got really sketchy after we passed through Boulder Creek. There was not much shoulder room, and a lot of car traffic. It got so bad, one of the riders in the back took a fall. He flipped over the handlebars, and suffered a broken clavicle.  It seemed to be a matter of crossed wheels.  Luckily, an ambulance happen to be rolling by, and was able to assist. Kudos to Steve and to John for jumping in and heading back to be with our fallen rider until he was safely transported in the ambulance. They also made sure his significant other made it to the scene. Scary moments. This was definitely on every rider’s mind.

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We went on ahead and we all decided to regroup at the Zayante Market. We refueled here, ready to tackle Zayante.

It was about 10 miles to the top, but the real climbing didn’t start until about 5 miles later. Some of the switches were pretty steep, and you could see it as you were approaching it. You gotta just shift, and power through it.

The climb was well shaded with an abundance of trees, and it kept the sun away most of the way, and the temps reasonable. One rider made a comment about how shady the climb is, compared to those in Contra Costa County, which are all completely exposed.

Made it to Skyline where we all regrouped. I offered an easier way back by going on Summit, t Hough Lexington Dam and into Los Gatos, but everyone wanted to continue on the route. Besides, it will add to the mileage and climbing on Strava.

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The rest of the ride was a series of rollies, and this is tough when you have miles and climbing already in your legs. But at least it was still pretty scenic.

Everybody split off when we got back to Saratoga Gap … one thing nice about this … it was all downhill.

Great ride, except for the accident. Just wish there was a better way to get down to Zayante. I guess the other way would have been to go up Jameson Creek, then go down Empire Grade, and onto Felton, but that has tons of traffic too. I guess there is no good option … gotta just be very aware and careful.

Stats: 74.3 miles, 6870 ft climbing.  Legs are feeling it the next day.

http://www.strava.com/activities/82467539

Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge with a modified 3 Spur Option

Saturday, we did the Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge.  The original plan was to do the 200k, with 3 spurs (basically additional loops), which was supposed to have a total elevation gain of < 15,000 feet of climbing.  However, with lack of long rides leading up to this (2 weekends prior were shot), I didn’t have too much confidence that I would last.  I rode with Karen and Ramon, and we pretty much stayed together the whole ride.

Started the day leaving at 6:30 am, and on the way over, we drove through a bunch of fog, so it was still misty at the start, and a little chill in the air.  I only brought a vest and arm warmers, and that should be sufficient, since we are doing a bunch of climbing.

This is one of my favorite rides (can you tell?  I’ve only done it the last 4 years consecutively).  The views are spectacular, with lots of tall trees, but you pay the price with steep 15-20% grades.  Of course, with the fog bank, it was kinda hard to see much of a view.

Old Santa Cruz Hwy

The first spur was a loop out to Hwy 17, straddling Old Santa Cruz Highway, then up Summit Road.  We seemed to be the only ones doing the spurs, until a few of them came up and passed us a bit later on in the spur.  Then, we saw more come up … they must have been the 7 am starters.

There is one thing about doing the spur … the rest stop comes at mile 33 … that’s a pretty long stretch to go without a potty stop, especially at the beginning of the ride.  It might have been good to include a potty stop at Old Santa Cruz Highway, after making that long descent down Bear Creek Road.  It was easy for me to just pull over, but for Karen, that’s a little more of an issue.  We got to the corner of Bear Creek and Skyline, and saw a porta potty there … but unfortunately, it was locked.  Oh, how cruel.  Guess we’ll have to hold it, but there’s another 1000 feet to climb before we descend into Saratoga Gap for rest stop 1!

First Rest Stop

First Rest Stop

After a few rollies, we finally rolled into rest stop 1.  We probably spent a bit too much time at rest stop 1 … Looking back at Strava, we were there a good 20 minutes.  Dang .. we should have a rest stop timer, especially since the next 10 miles or so is a downhill descent.

Fresh faces before climbing China Grade

Fresh faces before climbing China Grade

We descent down Hwy 9, and we break off to the 2nd spur, while the rest of the group continue into Big Basin.  Actually, we end up taking a different route to the same rest stop, then doing the climb up China Grade, for the 2nd spur.  Karen kept urging me to do at least the 2nd spur, so I caved in, and said I would.

China Grade

Once again, we were the only ones out there, until we get passed by one big guy … and I mean big.  Later on, we find out he’s 250 pounds, and he was on a 58 or 62 cm frame.  I end up later passing him.  I was stuck trailing, and then I saw him, and that was my target.  He was a good uphill climbing target, and that kinda helped me up the hill.

Ok, back down the hill, back to the same rest stop before we started the climb.  However, we had a big wake up call.  They were starting to tear down the rest stop!  One of the support workers asked us “is there anyone behind you”?  Wow, are we that slow?  We started thinking about whether or not we should cut short the ride, should we do the last spur … but then I said, we still have to do Jameson!

Re-fuel, then get on the road, and do this Jameson climb.  Since I had done this as a training ride about 4 weeks ago, I figured I’m prepared.  It was all business, just concentrate on smooth pedaling, getting efficient power into my drivetrain.  I notice the switchback that every falters on, and just power from the heels.  I felt pretty good about this climb, and I was averaging around 5 mph, dipping at the lowest at 4 mph.  I still didn’t beat my PR from the 2011 SCMC, but at least finishing it felt good.

Lunch came after Jameson, and by the time we were about to leave the lunch stop, it was about 2:10 pm.  I noticed the sign saying lunch closes at 2:30 pm.  Wow, we are really behind.  Now if we went straight back on the 100k route, we would get in only 90 miles, so we decided to continue onto the 3rd spur, then finish off with the 100k once we got back to Felton.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

It was a long descent down before we hung a right onto Smith Grade.  I think Jameson plus lunch did me in, and my legs had no strength for Smith, which really is not that bad, if your legs are fresh … mine weren’t.  I was way behind Ramon and Karen, and when I finally re-grouped with them at Bonny Doon, “I’m all spurred out”.

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Still a few climbs more before we get to Ice Cream Grade.  Before getting there, we cross over the charred remains of a fire from a few years ago, and the charred remains are still present.  Kind of eerie coming through here … reminds me a little of Yellowstone when I toured there after their big fires.

Ice Cream Grade is the last significant climb we do before we make the descent down Felton Empire into the town of Felton.  We did get the ire of a local, who didn’t like the idea of cyclist being on the road.  Just can’t please everyone.

We got into Felton, and it was about 4 pm.  At this point, we were at the 94 mile mark.  Now if we continued on the 200k route, we would climb up Zayante (a long 18-ish mile climb), going over to Summit, loop around on Soquel San Jose Rd, before coming back to the school.  That would be a hard climb, especially since my legs felt like jello, with no zip in them at all.  We decided to take a more direct route, climb Mt. Hermon Road, before getting onto Scotts Valley Road.  This was a direct route back to the start.  However, Karen’s Garmin had 1-2 miles less than mine, and she had to get at least 100 miles (because she was advertising to everyone she’s doing the 200k).  So we ended up doing a few extra miles, before I ran into some thorns, which flatted both my front and rear tires.  At that point, after fixing both flats, I just told them go on ahead, and I’ll just ride back to the school.  It turns out, I would end up with just over 100.

More importantly, we got back, just in time to take advantage of hand rolled burritos back at the school, and a couple scoops of ice cream too.  You can’t climb Ice Cream Grade without having ice cream at the end!

It was a long, hard, painful day, but it all felt good.  This is one reason why I prefer the long hard ride on a Saturday, instead of a Sunday.

Links to more pics: https://plus.google.com/photos/107775104280723216283/albums/5908256887341515889?authkey=CNvg7JbC3bXbkgE

Strava data : http://app.strava.com/activities/71996600#

With a Name Like On Orbit, it’s Gotta Be Tough

This weekend, my friend Karen came up for another Bay Area visit.  Ramon tweeted me earlier in the week, “Bohlman/On Orbit, Hicks” … oh boy!  You know what that means … climbfest!  NorCal style.  This will be a doozy.

DCIM100MEDIAWe started out with a few warm up hills, Mt. Eden, Saratoga Heights (with some sort but steep 16% grades), just to get our legs warmed up.  This was just a teaser.  This in itself would be a pretty tough ride, but at least the length of the climb is short.

It’s kind of funny, that the start of the climb on Bohlman is right where the cemetary is.  That’s a strange omen … something about taking it’s victims that attempt to climb this.

It’s hard to tell which is tougher, Bohlman or On Orbit, but I like to think of On Orbit as an extension of Bohlman. Climbs were sustained at 15-25% for about 1.5 miles.  I was pretty quickly riding from the back, but I was not in a hurry to finish this climb, especially with Hicks later on in the ride.  The switchbacks on Bohlman were incredibly steep, and there was not much relief, no matter if you were on the inside or outside of the curve of the switchback.  It’s a good thing this is a small residential street, with not a lot of traffic.

DCIM100MEDIAThis is one of those climbs where you need to tack, and it’s no shame to get off your bike and rest, but the hard part is getting back on. I didn’t stop, but there were so many times where I was tempted to. Luckily, there was a flat spot where Bohlman and On Orbit intersects. That gives me a few moments to take deep breaths and compose myself, and ready to finish this damn climb.

I think On Orbit might be a little easier than Bohlman, but not by much … it’s still a sufferfest only because your legs have been under duress for some time.  I climbed pretty much seated, only because the grade was so steep, I was afraid if I stood too much, I’d tip over.  I did pass a couple of women who were walking on this road, and I can only imagine what their reaction was of me struggling up this hill.

Now we had to go down the same way we came up.  Now, keep in mind, these grades ranged from 15% to 30%, and we have to go down these hills.  It got so steep, Karen had to walk it down some of the steeper grades.  Now that’s a first.  We were not in a hurry to come down, and we broke up the descents multiple times.  This also helped cool our rims down, and save our brake pads.

DCIM100MEDIAAfter this we headed over through Los Gatos, en route to Hicks.  There was enough flat junk miles before hitting the hills that our legs, for the most part, had recovered.  I can’t really say that Hicks was as tough as Bohlman or On Orbit … it’s a notch below, but it was still tough.  16+% grade is still pretty tough, and I definitely wasn’t attacking Hicks.  I was still climbing from the back of my heels.  Strangely enough, we were the only ones climbing.  Either it’s not that popular, or people have more common sense than us.

20130330_123210It didn’t occur to me to climb Mt. Umunhum, as Ramon had specifically mentioned Hicks.  It would have been a great day for it, but we’ll have to save this for another day.  I think I had enough in my legs to climb to the gate on Mt. Umunhum, but Mt. Umunhum is not going away.  Next time, we’ll attack it without Bohlman … Hicks and Umunhum is tough enough without Bohlman and On Orbit.

More pics are at https://plus.google.com/photos/107775104280723216283/albums/5861508720868290513?utm_source=chrome_ntp_icon&utm_medium=chrome_app&utm_campaign=chrome&partnerid=gplp0&authkey=CMuEkonTuKSUAQ

And of course, the Strava data – http://app.strava.com/activities/46543599

Hill Climbing and Fast Rolling Hills Makes for a Tough Weekend

Saturday, I decided to do some hill repeats of Montebello, my local mountainous hill.  It’s a 5.2 mile, 2,000 foot climb.  I did this with the Meetup group, who were training for the Death Ride.  Their goal was to do 5 repeats … that’s a 10,000 foot day.  I wasn’t up for that much, but I did join them for climbs 2 and 3.  It was actually a pretty decent sized turnout.  I think there were about 12 of us when I went on the first climb.

I felt good going out, and I started out on my middle chainring.  However, that soon changed, as the grade pitched up to 15+%, and time to shift into the granny gear.  I could already see the strong riders pull away from me, and I’m not about to go chasing them (as if I could).  As soon as I reached the school, it leveled off a little bit, and was able to go back to my middle chain ring.  From that point on, I kept it there, and just powered it until the last mile of the climb.

I know this climb very well, and with that in mind, I just kept my head focused 10 feet in front of me, not tempting myself to look and see what slope I have ahead of me.  That kind of help me with my pacing and aggressive hill climbing.  As they always say, don’t look up, and just power through it.  I felt pretty good, but only found out afterwards, it was not a PR, but that was okay.  All that mattered was how good it felt.

Munchies await at the bottom of the hill

Down the hill, and to munch on snacks (cookies, nuts, smoked salmon …mmmm).  Kudos to Mark for coming up with this ride, and most importantly, the rewards at the bottom of the hill.  After munching on goodies, it’s back up the hill again.

Second time around, I could definitely feel slowness in my climb, as expected.  Now you would think that doing the same climb over and over again would be a little boring, but for some odd reason, it isn’t monotonous.  It had its own challenges.  Remember how I said I would just keep my head down and not look at what’s up ahead?  Well, I looked up … not sure if that impacted my climb time, but it was a little slower … 5 minutes slower.  Back at the bottom of the hill, munching for more goodies, and I do feel my legs are saying no more, so that’s it for me … only 2.

Sunday, it’s some rolling hills, with about 60 miles and 3000 feet of climbing, so doesn’t look too bad, right?  No long climbs like Montebello … only substantial one is Edgewood, but there are plenty of short bursty, punch in the gut climbs.  This group had some aggressive riders, but I was able to hold my own.  After the major climb of the day, it was mostly flat on the way back.  For some reason, I was struggling to hang in with the group.  I just started to think, is this how it’s like to ride in a multi-day race?  Mountainous terrain one day, aggressive, short, rolling hills the next day … and it had me gasping, reaching to grab onto any wheel in front of me.

Perhaps it’s the aggressive hill climbing in the morning, or maybe it was the intensity and amount of climbing I had the previous day … but I did feel the suffrage.  Good suffer points, I guess.  At least I’m not racing … but then again, anything’s possible.