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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Question Distance Climbing Help

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    Warning, this is long! I am training for a ride in August that is 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. Below is a description of my weekly long ride yesterday, which was harder for me than I had hoped. Following that is my planned weekly progression. I would love comments, especially from you experienced distance climbers.

    Yesterday, I really worked HARD to do my 50 miles with 3400 feet, and I am feeling pretty uncertain that in the next 12 weeks, I can make it up to 100 miles with 10,000 feet.

    I feel OK today, although stiff. Yesterday I felt cooked about 40 miles in, and one climb in particular REALLY kicked my butt, and gave me a LOT of pain in my quads (although the pain subsided after the descent and back into easier climbing around 5%). I believe my nutrition/hydration was fine.

    My ride yesterday was not a long steady climb, but relative flats punctuated with about 4 climbs, a couple with short sections of 13%-15%. The hardest was at about mile 40. A three mile climb with a stretch at the start of 15%, then leveling off to about 8-9%, then 5%. It toasted me.

    However, the last 7-8 miles of the total ride, I was only up to about 3000 feet, and my goal was about 3500. So, I did a couple repeats of a 2 mile, steady 5% grade that makes up the last climb of the ride. I was tired, but when it dropped back to that 5%, I did OK and felt like I could keep going. I felt strong enough to repeat it to meet my climbing goal.

    I was a little surprised it was so hard. Last week I did 21 miles with 3100 feet. A lot more concentrated climbing, and it was a lot easier on me. I guess the longer distance took more of a toll than I thought it might. Also, I think those couple of 13-15% sections toasted me more than the steady 9% or so of last week's ride.

    Below are the benchmarks I am trying to hit once/week for my long rides, in order to stay on track and build up for my August ride. I am trying to keep the climbing increase to about 10% per week. It feels quite agressive, in practice. Also, as my long rides have increased, my workouts during the week have gotten fewer and shorter, to accomodate recovery. I'm wondering if that is wise...maybe I should be doing more frequency, with less volume on the long ride? But, those long rides seem important for endurance and climbing endurance? I wonder if I'm fooling myself that I can increase this fast. But, I want to keep trying. Any thoughts appreciated.

    January & February were a walking program, moving into gym workouts, swimming, lifting, biking.

    Weekly Long Rides. I have hit most of these numbers so far, with a little less climbing in the earlier weeks, and weeks of April 8 and 15, a LOT less exercise, and no long rides:

    2/25 14 miles, 1250 feet (did this)
    3/4 16 miles, 1380 feet (did 20 miles, 1800 feet)
    3/11 18 miles, 1530 feet (did this)
    3/18 10 miles, 1700 feet (did 26 miles, 855 feet)
    3/25 22 miles, 1900 feet (did 36 miles, 1000 feet)
    4/1 25 miles, 2100 feet (did 18 miles, 2300 feet)
    4/8 27 miles, 2350 feet (no long ride, few workouts)
    4/15 30 miles, 2600 feet (no long ride, few workouts)
    4/22 32 miles, 2900 feet (did 39 miles, 2300 feet)
    4/29 36 miles, 3200 feet (did 21 miles, 3100 feet)
    5/6 40 miles, 3600 feet (did 50 miles, 3400 feet)
    5/13 45 miles, 4000 feet
    5/20 50 miles, 4500 feet (plan to do OCC metric, for 60 miles, 3000 feet)
    5/27 54 miles, 5000 feet
    6/3 60 miles, 5400 feet
    6/10 65 miles, 6000 feet
    6/17 72 miles, 6675 feet
    6/24 80 miles, 7000 feet
    7/1 65 miles, 6000 feet
    7/8 72 miles, 6675 feet
    7/15 81 miles, 7500 feet
    7/22 90 miles, ? feet
    Taper two weeks before Big Ride

    Thanks for wading through this, climbing ladies! Thanks for any thoughts.
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Your progression looks pretty good in theory. I'm coaching a group of riders for Team in Training to do the Death Ride in July, and I think my benchmarks are probably similar in terms of the increase in miles and climbing. We started in February and ultimately we'll have a 120 mile ride with about 11,000 feet as our longest ride. (The Death Ride is 130 feet, 14,000 climbing over 5 passes in the Sierras. We'll also have a weekend of riding the passes at altitude to prep them for this aspect of it.)

    One thing we've done as we've gone along is to shake up our planned training rides a bit - go long one week and don't worry about the climbing, then go shorter the next and really climb. I'm trying to do some periodization with them, and see something like that in your end of June beginning of July that looks good. You can't just build, build, build all the time. You need to take even some of your long ride days and give your body a recovery ride.

    Some days it is going to be harder than others - that's just a fact. Who knows why? Sleep, nutrition, hydration, stress, wind, heat - everything factors in. And I fully agree that a 12+% climb wastes me WAY more than mile upon mile of less than 10%. For me it is really a body weight issue. My power to weight ratio is fine for shallower climbing and my speed is decent. But throw in the double digit percentages, and it all starts to wear on me. Recovering from the steeper climbs when they become shallow is key - it sounds like you never fully recovered from the steep part. Use the more shallow grade to really spin out your legs - don't shift to a harder gear until your heart rate and breathing have really come down.

    The LAST thing you should do is to tell yourself, well my training rides are a lot harder than I thought they'd be so I'm not going to do the event because I don't think I will be ready. Regardless of what your long ride turns out to be, I have seen people do remarkable things when energized by "event day". I had a woman I coached last year for Death Ride who had a nasty divorce going on and she wasn't able to make our training rides and she did all 5 passes. It was sheer determination. Never discount that mental aspect of it. That's largely how I finished DMD. Find what is it that inspires you and just keep that positive soundtrack rolling in your head.
    Last edited by maillotpois; 05-06-2007 at 01:13 PM.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    2,059
    Sarah, thanks. A little addition info:

    1) I have a "power to weight ratio" issue. I am SLOWLY losing some weight, about 6 pounds in the past 6 weeks. Hope to keep that up right through July.

    2) I am attempting some periodization by cutting way back on mid-week training time and intensity about every 3rd week, even if the long ride stays long.

    3) Due to terrain where I live, as much as anything, I think I will also be alternating longer hilly rides with shorter truly mountain road climbing.

    4) I do keep an eye on my HR monitor and gearing...for recovery from efforts...but, sometimes even my 30-32 low gear feels tough! LOL

    I really appreciate the encouragement about not giving up on my goal before ride day. Yesterday after the hard climb, I had the choice between going up and over for a shorter, easier route back to my car, or going back down and doing the additional climbing to hit my goal. I told myself I was tougher than that and that I could do it. I felt toasted, but satisfied, at the end of my ride.

    It sure helps to hear from those of you who have done a lot of climbing, and trained others. THANK YOU!!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    PPS: pics

    For pics of my routes, including yesterday's, check out the gallery at:

    http://www.olympiccyclingclassic.com
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    You are NOT giving up girl! You are making good progress. Stick with it. Besides there is no point in having a goal that you know you can achieve. Where's the challenge?

    I too have a power to weight ratio issue. I will never be a little person. It kills me all these chicks who talk about weighing 120. That's how much my non fat bits weigh!

    When I show up to a double century or a brevet, and look around at the other women riders, I often get this little voice in my head telling me I don't belong. I don't look like the other women. I'm 3 - 5 inches taller than the top double century riders and 30 - 50 pounds heavier. What am I doing there?

    I kick the little voice's a$$ and go ride the ride.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Marin County CA
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    Starfish - the only thing I would change is truly to give yourself a periodization week - keeping even the long ride (in addition to the weekday stuff) easier every month or so.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,600
    Lets see I've done Death ride (fun ride)
    Climb the Kaiser (those who do this poo poos the death ride)
    race around the bear (timed 100 miler going up to a ski resort... over 7,000 ft of climb ??)
    breathless in agony ride (another 100 miler with lots of hill climb)
    and others.

    Unless your ride has 10-15% grade, I wouldn't spend too much time on such a grade. Training on such hill doesn't seem to do much except to just grind you down. Instead concentrate on doing 5-8% grade over longer stretches. the 10-15% grade do appear on Death ride and on Kaiser pass but they are really short. On Ebetts (death ride), you find them on the switch backs. On Kaiser, its after the big creek and it lasts only 1/2 mile. And if you are used to riding 15 miles sections with 5% grade, you wil handle the 15% grade without too much difficulty. I wouldn't say its easy. Its doable. To a runup to you big event I think it would be prudent to ride a 75-95 miler rides with 7000ft climbs and repeat it maybe five times. During the week, you do need to add a rest day. You also need work on strength and endourance. Your speed on flat may decrease somewhat so don't be alarmed.

    Also if possible train at altitude. You can lose more than 10% of your strength and stamina at altitude. Otherwise don't psyche yourself out of it.

    Lots of luck and don't give up.

    The secret of great hill climbers are they are all really tough mentally. Psyche first then physical.

    now do take my comments with grain of salt cause I'm not a coach nor claim to be trainer. just my personal experience.

  8. #8
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    I actually think the higher grades do serve a purpose - it goes to what you say later, smilingcat, the mental aspect of it.

    One of our Death Ride training rides is the second half of the Terrible Two course - Skaggs and Ft. Ross. Both of which have extended sections (up to 1/2 a mile) of 15+% grade. Getting up these, however they do it, gives our folks a real mental edge - especially when I tell them there is nothing on the Death Ride that's as hard as those sections.

    It's the mental thing: "Well, I've done "X" ride, and this ride isn't as hard as that!"
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    1,933
    My two bits:
    I'll agree with MP, sometime doing harder grade will give you the confidence to do things- The start of Glendora Mountian Road has a nice steep pitch (about 8%) before leveling off to 5-6% for the next 12 miles. It always helps me to know that If I can make it to the gate, I can do the rest of it.
    Alitude, I noticed this on my 300K in Arizona that I DNF'ed - From Flagstaff to Happy Jack it rolling, but I found myslef in easier gears - elevation was from 7000 to 7600. I've got another Brevet in month in Utah - 200K w/6000 feet and the starting point is at 6800. I've been debating going up and doing a loop around Big Bear lake and up to Onyx Summit. if only gas wasn't so dear.
    Smiling Cat - I thought ride around the bear was closer to 9000 - you start about 1200, onyx is 8400 something, plus you've that descent into Big Bear on 18 and that "little" climb on the descent at Barton Flats

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
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    2,600
    I didn't want to exagerate the bear ride's climb.

    Yup start at Sylvan park then ride over to town of Highland then hop onto hwy 330? And you soon see a sign "elevation 2,000 ft". And you go &*^% Onyx summit is 84something... and you struggle and keep on. When you think you are half way up, you see a next sign "elevation 3,000 ft"...

    Train from Big bear lake to Onyx summit is a good work out. Some local clubs make a habit of making an extended weekend trip up to Big bear and train.

    Go up to onyx, come down turn around and go back up. Good training. (except one year one of the girls crashed into a tree and had 5 metal pins in her wrist. That was a bad year for the club.)

    Another place to train is over in Eastern Sierra. I used to go to mamouth mtn. and ride over dead man's pass into June lake area then onto Lee Vining then up conway pass. Also some people stay at Lee Vining and climb Tioga pass around 10,000ft elevation. Actually number of people do this like 3 to 4 weeks before Death ride as a warm up ride. If you can do the Tioga pass, you can do the death ride.

    ----

    hey you are in Rancho Cucamanga. You are lot closer to Big bear than me (Hermosa Beach) What are you talking about gas price!!! Its 90 miles to the base and another 20 miles to big bear.
    meowmeow
    Smilingcat
    Last edited by smilingcat; 05-07-2007 at 09:33 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    2,059
    Thanks, everyone. No, V, I'm NOT giving up! And, MP, I am sure you are right about the periodization. I got worried about getting up to enough climbing if I used a few weeks for just recovery rides here and there, but I'm sure it is time well spent.

    Part of riding the harder grades is that there are only so many roads where I live. We don't have many long climbs. We have one mountain road. And we have a gazillion foothills with roads that create a few loops. And, I don't have an elevation profile for the event ride, so I can't be sure there aren't some steep pitches.

    I will get some training in at elevation. Our highest road only goes up to 5000 feet (in 19 miles!), but the snow is finally melting up there, so soon I can get up there and do repeats of the last few miles for elevation.

    Thank you all so very much. It has been a hard year, and I really, really want to have fun and success on my goal ride this year. I need a lot of encouragement, and I am so grateful that when I unabashedly ask for it, you come through! What wonderful people!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9
    Starfish,

    Sounds like a fun ride. The progression is good. Might I suggest you put in one "intensity" ride a week? Shorter, but intervals....but it depends on your overall fitness level...which after the rides you've been doing, looks to be good!

    20 minute intervals at a pace that is just above the "no talk" zone (you could talk if you had to, but it would be rather short and annoying to do so! ), rest 5-10 min and repeat. Don't do these above 7% avg grade (5% is ideal). Aim for 1 the first time, then the next week, add another, or a partial interval. If you use HR, aim for 80-85%.

    It's really hard, but the increase in your overall fitnes will benefit you greatly in several ways: increased fatburning, increased aerobic endurance, and a faster pace on the climbs overall, among them.

    My fav climb here is a 10,000 ft climb (0-10,000ft) in 36.2 miles. Epic is the best description!

    Good luck with everything...keep us posted on your progress!

    aloha,
    KJ

  13. #13
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    Oct 2002
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    I've been looking for an elevation profile for the ride (Mount Shasta Summit Century btw.) There are a few rider comments on the website that talk about 10 -12% grades going on for four miles. That could be an exaggeration of course.

    They do have a map on the website and maybe one day, when I'm feeling ambitious or bored, I can put it into Bikely. That would give us a profile.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  14. #14
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    Oct 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikegirlnhawaii View Post


    My fav climb here is a 10,000 ft climb (0-10,000ft) in 36.2 miles. Epic is the best description!

    Which volcano would that be?

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  15. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikegirlnhawaii View Post
    My fav climb here is a 10,000 ft climb (0-10,000ft) in 36.2 miles. Epic is the best description! KJ
    Holy Cow, KJ...epic, yes.

    Thanks for the tips on the intervals. Earlier this year I had been doing some easier intervals in the gym while trying to keep my HR lower out on the roads. Then, when I started doing harder loops, I figured I was getting in some de facto intervals. But, Veronica talked me into going to a spin class this morning, and I intend to keep doing that once/week. Way harder than I keep up on my own out on the road.

    I am thinking 50 minutes HARD in spinning on Tuesdays, and the de facto intervals during my long rides Saturdays. Filling in with recovery rides and aerobic workouts in the gym. I'm not a real high volume person, yet. I have bumped it up from about 5 hours/week in February to about 7 hours/week these days.
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

 

 

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