Archive for August, 2008

Everest Challenge Training

August 31, 2008 3:48 am

August is almost over and my training for the big events coming up is in the final stages.  First up will be the Everest Challenge on September 20/21.  This is a two day California/Nevada USCF State Climbing Championship.  Each day has about 15,000 feet of climbing.  Doing that on back to back days will be the big challenge.  I had hoped to do this event last year but the weather turned very bad and I was worried about the doing the Furnace Creek 508 two weeks later so I ended up canceling.

This year I will again be doing the same Furnace Creek 508, but I am more comfortable with that event and feel that the two weeks in between it and the Everest Challenge is sufficient time to recover.

I have built an 18 week training plan to do both events, using the Everest Challenge on week 17 to get ready for the FC 508.  Now that I have finished week 14, with three weeks to go to the Everest Challenge, here is an update of my training status.  You can see that I am on plan for both miles and feet of climbing.  I have another big ride scheduled for this coming Saturday, then it will be taper time.  My climbing is not quite as much as last year when I did the Death Ride and Climb to Kaiser events, but it is still on my plan.  I still need to lose some more weight, however.


Four Hill Climb

August 27, 2008 8:00 pm

Today I did a repeat of last week’s four hill climb. With a total of 84 miles and 8,600 feet of climbing. I started from our Utah house and biked up Provo Canyon, then made the first big climb up the Alpine Loop. After descending down the American Fork canyon I made my way over to the next climb, up Suncrest. After reaching the summit I headed down the backside, called Transverse Ridge, that takes me down to Draper in the Salt Lake valley. This is the turn around point and I retrace my steps back, up Transverse Ridge, down Suncrest, up American Fork Canyon and down the Alpine Loop, back home. Here is the route map. You can see from this profile that is mostly going up or down (click graph to enlarge). My Polar heart rate monitor shows 8,500 feet of climbing. Bikely.com shows over 10,000 feet.

I was able to improve all my climb times, except for Suncrest. Last week I had met up with another cyclists and was pushing hard up Suncrest, hence the difference.

After returning home, Ann and I went on a tandem ride up South Fork.  That brought my total riding for the day to 110 miles.

Here are the comparisons between the two weeks.

Four Climb Route

Alpine Loop
Suncrest
Trans. Ridge
AF Cyn
Total Ride
Distance
8.9 mi
3.9 mi
3.5 mi
8.4 mi
84 mi
Climb
2,700 ft
1,060 ft
1,165 ft
2,400 ft
8,500 ft
Date
Time
Time
Time
Time
Time
8/27/08
0:58:24
0:26:03
0:26:52
0:59:24
6:29
8/20/08
1:08:01
0:23:54
0:30:28
1:07:20
6:42

Cache Valley Century

August 23, 2008 9:20 pm

Great roads, great weather, and friendly riders sum up our experience with riding the Cache Valley Century. On Friday we drove up to Logan Utah to stay the night. After a lousy experience at an expensive Italian restaurant in the town, we returned to the motel to get an good nights sleep.

Before 6 am, we got up to get ready. The Best Western motel we were staying at had a great breakfast buffet so we fueled up before heading up the 12 miles to Richmond for the start.

We started at 7:30 am, along with two other tandem riders we knew. We rode with them for maybe 15 miles until we had a long gradual climb, where we pulled ahead. Since we had to get back home for a party that day we decided to proceed without them.

We were zooming along and would continue to pickup riders as they would join the long train of riders that were following us. At times we would take a break and move back in the pack. At mile 40 we made a stop at the second rest stop (we skipped the first one). After a short stop we were back on the bike, skipping the 3rd rest stop, and stopped at mile 71 for the lunch stop. They had a great lunch for us.

After lunch we started to form long pace lines again. We were doing much of the pulling, but did move to the back of the pack to get some recovery. About 10 miles from the finish, the rider in front of us did not have time to signal a bad pot hole. Although he was able to miss it himself, without any warning we hit it straight on. It was a real jolt. One of our water bottles flew out. As we came to a stop we saw we had flatted on the front.

After changing the tube we were off again. But when I had to touch the brakes the first time I felt some grabbing, realizing that that pot hole had done some damage to the rim on our front wheel.

We rolled into the finish averaging 20.2 mph, a total of about 5 hours riding time, and about 40 minutes of stopping time. It was a lot of fun. Except for the flat, which could happen on any ride, it was a very enjoyable century and one we would like to do again in the future.

Here are the stats:

Cache Valley Century

Distance: 100.3 miles, Climb: 2,080 feet
Date
Start
Finish
Total
Avg. Speed
Max HR
Avg HR
8/23/08
8:34 am
1:10 pm
5:36
20.2
163
133

When you can compare this with how we did on the recent Ulcer Century, you can see we averaged almost the same overall speed, but my average heart rate was significantly lower. Must be the clean air up in Cache Valley.

Ulcer Century

Distance: 111 miles, Climb: 1,320 feet
Date
Start
Finish
Total
Avg. Speed
Max HR
Avg HR
8/09/08
7:22 am
1:14 pm
5:52
20.3
167
148
8/11/07
7:26 am
1:39 pm
6:13
20.7
176
155

Climbed Over 100 Miles

August 22, 2008 10:35 am

No wonder I am exhausted!  Last September I wrote a blog entry about climbing almost 100 miles.  This year I am climbing even more and have now reached 530,000 vertical feet of climbing, which is over 100 miles up.  That is like climbing all the steps of the Empire State Building 433 times, about twice a day for every day so far this year.  Click the graphs to view enlarge.

At the same time I have biked over 8,000 miles so far this year.  More than half of those were on the tandem.

One of 300 Warriors – Tour of Utah

August 16, 2008 8:00 pm

I finished, along with a limited group of 300 cyclists, stage 4 of the Tour of Utah, called the 300 Warriors. It was a great experience to ride a stage of a pro race on the same day when all the route signs were up (such as “KOM 5K”), and some of the people who had assembled early for the race cheering you on.  Although the roads were not closed for us, we had a police escort for the first 15 miles.

We were the citizen riders so we started at 6 am on Saturday, 4 hours ahead of the professional riders. The 99 mile course started the 14,788 feet of climbing in Park City, Utah, traveled over to Midway, down Provo Canyon, then up over the Alpine Loop. We went down American Fork Canyon, over Suncrest to the Salt Lake Valley, took local roads over to Little Cottonwood Canyon, then the last big climb, up to Snowbird Ski Resort.

The 300 riders started in the dark. Even though it was August, it was cold, around 42 degrees. The route took us from Park City over a hilly course to Kamas then to Midway. After making one climb we had a very fast descent. It was too dark to see my speed, but when I checked my HRM later, it was 41 mph in the dark! I was hanging with the lead riders then, but the group was growing smaller with each climb. I stayed with them for about 25 miles.   I was too far back in the peleton on a climb when I noticed a gap was opening up ahead of the riders in front of me.  I made my way around the riders who were dropping off but I could not quite catch the leaders before they went over the crest. From that point I rode the course mostly sole, occasionally getting with one or two other riders for a few miles. After 33 miles I made it into Midway, averaging 21.5 mph, which was fast considering we had climbed over 1500 feet.

Ann drove SAG but I didn’t feel she needed to follow the course. After taking us to the ride start, she headed over to Midway where she was was waiting when I arrived. I made a very quick stop, just long enough to fill my water bottle and remove some of the clothes I had been wearing due to the cold temperatures at the start. Since we had been advise to not have the SAG’s try to go over the Alpine Loop, she then was able to head home for a short period then head over for the second meeting place at mile 70 on the route.

I was able to catch two other riders leaving Midway. Since we had 11 miles on highway 189, with a lot of traffic, I was hoping to ride with others to be more visible, but I eventually went ahead of the others. The ride from Midway to the start of the Alpine loop was more rollers. I reached the turn up the canyon faster than I expected, averaging 21 mph. The climb up the Alpine loop took me 1:05. I was keeping my heart rate down to the mid 150’s, knowing we had a lot of climbing ahead. After reaching the summit, at over 8,000 feet, we had a fast descent down American Fork Canyon. We were being held up by some cars driving down and had to make our way around some of them when we had a clear view. A few miles after reaching the valley, I arrived at the second meeting place where Ann was waiting.

She filled my water bottles and handed me a PBJ sandwich, which I ate as I took off again.

I felt I had enough to finish from there and so she headed to the finish at Snowbird. I turned right up Suncrest and reached the summit in 31 minutes. It was then a steep downhill to the Salt Lake Valley. Once I reached Wasatch Blvd, it was the start of a lot of climbing as I made my way to Little Cottonwood Canyon.

From there it was a very difficult climb. The grade was a bit steeper than  Metcalf,  and it seemed to go  forever.

Maybe it was the miles at speed on my legs, but I had to grind it out. It took me 1:15 to reach the finish.

I finished in 6:29, which was 30 minutes faster than my goal. The pro winner of the race came in at 4:15. Some other well know pros were Oscar Sevilla at 4:17, Tom Danielson at 4:19 and Tyler Hamilton at 4:27. Danny Pate, Will Frischkorn and Freddy Rodrigues did not make the time cut. I was happy I was able to complete the 98 miles and 14,778 feet of climbing under 6 and half hours.

After eating lunch, we headed back to the finish where Ann and I waited for the Pros to arrive and so we could take their photos.

This chart shows my heart rate and altitude (click to elarge).

Here are my splits.

Tour of Utah Stage 4 – Actual Splits

Distance: 98 mile, Climb: 14,477 feet
Section
Distance
Avg. Spd
Climbs
Clock
Start in Park City
0 5:54 am
Main Str. in Midway
33 21.5 7:25 am
Start of Alpine Loop
47 21.0 8:09 am
Alpine Loop Summit
56 8.1 1:05 9:14 am
Start of Suncrest
70 26.7 9:48 am
Suncrest Summit
75 9.4 0:31 10:19 am
Start of Snowbird Climb
90 17.0 11:08 am
Finish Snowbird
98 6.3 1:15 12:23 pm

300 Warriors – Tour of Utah

August 14, 2008 8:10 am

I was able to get into a limited group of 300 cyclists who will do stage 4 of the Tour of Utah.   Called the 300 Warriors, we start at 6 am on Saturday, 4 hours ahead of the professional riders.    The 99 mile course starts in Park City, Utah, travels over to Midway, down Provo Canyon, then up over the Alpine Loop.  We will then go down American Fork canyon, then over Suncrest to Draper, then take the roads over to Little Cottonwood canyon, then the last big climb, up to Snowbird Ski Resort.

This stage represents over 28% of the horizontal distance and almost half the climbing in the five-day Tour of Utah stage race. Finishing this ride is the equivalent to riding the Tour de France’s Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d’Huez.  It is advertised as 99 miles and 14,778 feet of climbing. I am estimating that the the climbing will be a bit less, closer to 11,000 feet.  Here is the profile (click to enlarge).

The steepest section occurs near the end, starting at mile 95, where the grade goes to something like 20% for a quarter of a mile.

Ann will be driving SAG since this event has no support.  I have estimated my arrival time for where we will meet along the course using an estimated average speed of each segment.  Since I have not ridden on some of these roads, these are a rough estimate since I have no log data to use.  In any case, I need to finish before being caught by the pros.  The estimated times really depend on accuracy of the feet of climbing estimate.

Tour of Utah Stage 4 – Estimates

Distance: 98 mile, Climb: 14,477 feet
Section
Distance
Avg. Spd
Time
Clock
Start
0 6:00 am
Main St. in Midway
33
19
1:45
7:45 am
Turn on Alpine Loop
48
19
2:35
8:35 am
Church Hwy 92 near 6000 W
70.7 13.5 4:10 10:10 am
Church on Wasatch
86.5
14.5
5:15
11:15 am
Finish
98.1
7
7:00
1:00 pm

Civil twilight is going to be after we start so the start should be dark, and cold according to the weather forecast. I will be fun once the sun comes up and the temperatures warm. I am glad that the weather forecast for tomorrow is a bit cooler but it will be still warmer than I would like on those big climbs.

New Tandem PR up Squaw Peak

August 13, 2008 11:59 am

We got up early to make a climb up Squaw Peak before the warm temperatures arrived. It was rather cool with a head wind as we made our way up Provo Canyon. We exited from the bike trail over to the busy highway about a half of a mile before the entrance to the Squaw Peak road. Franz had made the climb earlier in the week with a time of 31:51 so we wanted to see how long it would take on the tandem. Our tandem time last year, when we first made the climb, was 47:03. We were sure we could beat that.

We pushed hard all the way up but did hold back some since we have a fast paced ride with the Utah Velo club this evening. We finished in under 40 minutes, for a new best time for us. The climb up Sqaw Peak is 4.3 miles with a 7.4% grade. It is similar to the backside of Mt. Hamilton where the grade is close to 7.9% and the miles of the climb are a bit further.

We felt so good about our climb that when we got home we signed up for another century ride in a couple of weeks.

The weight and heart rate numbers in the table below are for Franz only.

Squaw Peak Climb

Distance: 4.3 miles, Climb: 1,700 feet, Avg Grade: 7.2%
Date
Time
Weight
Max HR
Avg HR
Ft/Min
Single
Tandem
8/11/08
38:47
138
168 158
43.9
8/10/08
31:51
138
171
155
53.4
8/6/08
32:27
141
172
162
52.3
5/30/08
47:03
142
161
141
36.2
8/12/07
34:22
136
164
150
49.5

Squaw Peak Double Climb

August 10, 2008 8:56 pm

Not doing that much climbing last week, I decided today to make the climb up Squaw Peak twice.  This climb is similar to the backside of Mt Hamilton in terms of distance and average grade.  The first time I pushed hard to see if I could set a new best time on the climb.  I was able to shave more than 30 seconds off, even though I we did a 111 mile century ride yesterday on the tandem.  The nice thing about finding a new hill to climb is you can set a new PR.  I have started to add a parameter to my tables to show the feet of climbing per minute.  For thie climb today it came out to be 50 ft/min.  My best times up Metcalf this year comes out to be 64 feet per minute but that is a much shorter climb.  My hill repeats up Thomas Grade also come in more than 60 feet per minute.  Considering a 32 minute climb I was very happy I could climb 50 feet per minute.

Squaw Peak Climb

Distance: 4.3 miles, Climb: 1,605 feet, Avg Grade: 7.2%
Date
Time
Weight
Max HR
Avg HR
Ft/Min
Single
Tandem
8/10/08
31:51
138
171
155
50.6
8/6/08
32:27
141
172
162
49.4
5/30/08
47:03
142
161
141
34.1
8/12/07
34:22
136
164
150
46.3

I took a look at my climbs up the backside of Mt. Hamilton.  These were part of a long ride and I was not pushing the pace but show them here as a comparision.

Mt Hamilton Backside

Distance: 4.5 miles, Climb: 1,900 feet, Avg Grade: 7.9%
Date
Time
Weight
Max HR
Avg HR
Ft/Min
Single
Tandem
7/26/08
49:15
142
160
150
38.6
5/10/08
49:45
142
165
155
38.2

Ulcer Century 2008

August 9, 2008 8:00 pm

We finished the 111 mile Ulcer Century today. The teams that were doing the team time trial went off at 7:20 AM and we left soon after that. Unlike last year, this year we saw a lot of riders go down. One rider was down at mile 5 as we passed by. He had a very bloody face standing on the side of the road surrounded by his teammates.

We initially stayed in a big pack and found it took a lot of concentration because some of the riders were less than experienced riding in a pace line than they should be for those 24 mph speeds we were going. One of the riders to the right of us hit a cone in the road when going through a round about and swerved to the right nearly going down and taking the rider to his right down too. It is a good thing that we left some extra distance and stayed on the side of the pack because at about mile 20, several riders went down at the front of the peleton we were in. We heard later that the front rider thought there was a right turn but then then suddenly corrected himself to go straight and someone touched a wheel.

We had enough of that so we decided to only pull, ride by ourselves or draft with a small group. We started to pass a lot of riders, including the teams and a large peloton formed behind us. We kept pulling for many miles until the rollers convinced us to slow the pace down and the riders went ahead. We saw a couple more riders who had gone down as we passed by. A bit scary.

Our first 62 miles was faster than last year, averaging 22 mph hour up to the lunch stop. I think we went out too fast because we had to slow the pace after lunch, but still finished with a total time of 5:52, so we met our goal of doing it under 6 hours. We arrived at the finish line at 1:14 pm, compared with 1:37 pm last year. Ann had some cramping starting at around mile 70, but she kept working through it. But you can see Ann looked great at the finish!

Franz’s average heart rate of 148 was significantly lower than last year;s 155, showing that Ann had really improved.

This table shows a comparision with last year.

Ulcer Century

Distance: 110 miles, Climb: 1,320 feet
Date
Start
Finish
Total
Avg. Speed
Max HR
Avg HR
8/09/08
7:22 am
1:14 pm
5:52
20.3
167
148
8/11/07
7:26 am
1:37 pm
6:13
20.7
176
155

Furnace Creek 508 Training

August 8, 2008 7:12 pm

I have updated my log with the training I am doing for the Everest Challenge and Furnace Creek 508.  The Everest Challenge occurs two weeks before the 508.  My miles are on track but my climbing is not quite there yet.  I am getting my weight down.

See here for all the latest charts.