Archive for May, 2008

Long Distance Training Ride

May 4, 2008 7:44 pm

I completed a club ride today that went 111 miles with 12,500 feet of climbing. That is about as many feet of climbing as you will find on any training ride and approaches the number for some organized cycling events that are know for the climbing aspect. The Climb to Kaiser event is 13,500 feet (and 155 miles) and the famous Death Ride is 16,000 feet (and 126 miles).

The legs felt a bit weak since it has been only a week since the Devil Mountain Double but I was able to stay up with the front group. When climbing up Highway 9 I mentioned to Russ that I am getting too old to go up at that pace. He replied that is true only if I think it. It made me contemplate about how much we cut back because we think we are getting too old. Even though I turned 60, I have done better this year than in any prior year in terms of my finishing times for the two double centuries I have ridden. It was not until I was 58 that I was able to run a marathon fast enough to qualify for Boston. So in many respects I have not slowed down because of aging. That is not to deny the fact that aging is a factor we all deal with, only that there are other aspects that may have a great bearing at this time in my life.

Even though it is May, the weather was cool, even what I would call cold in some spots. I was keeping my heart rate up around 160 for the first climb, up Highway 9. That takes you to 2,500 feet elevation. That is a bit high for a sustained climb but it didn’t seem to affect me for the remainder of the climb. During the last climb of the ride, I did feel weak and had to lower my heart rate in the 140’s. Some hills had very steep grades and the gearing I had meant I had to really torque the pedals to keep moving.

I developed a formula for what I classify as an Ultra Distance Cycling event. I use the miles plus 4 for each 1,000 feet of climbing. If the combined number is equal to 150, then I call that an ultra distance event. Today’s training ride comes out to 161 using this formula, a similar result as the Mt. Hamilton Challenge. I am not sure that each 1,000 feet of climbing is equivalent in effort to riding an extra 4 miles, but it seems to be a workable approximation. By comparision, the Devil Mountain Double comes in at 206 miles + 4 x (18.6) = 280. The Solvang Double Century is 193 miles + 4 x (7.5) = 223.

Look at the events on my website where I associate a difficulty rating. Solvang gets 2, DMD gets 5 squares. I am using something like this for the total score computed:

  • Less than 175 : 1 square
  • 175 – 225: 2 squares
  • 225 – 250: 3 squares
  • 250 – 275: 4 squares
  • 275 – 300: 5 squares
  • Greater than 300: 6 squares