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  1. #1
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    It's not how long you make it...

    With April comes Spring, the sun, the cool, breezy days and -this year- my month on call.
    Two weeks as backup, two weeks as primary.
    With a mandated response time of 30 minutes, the plans for any long rides go down the drain like a spring shower. And, of course, just as I was getting pretty darn comfortable with the new bike and I am itching to start doing some 25, 30, 40 mile rides and knock out that metric that I am now REQUIRED to complete <sigh>

    So, what to do...

    You've heard many times -to the point of absolute boredom- of my favorite practice climbs, Roberts Road and Sharp Park Road. Thanks to the Garmin, I know now how bad they really are. From once avoiding Roberts Road out of fear, it has now become a part of my standard "southern loop" A half mile of an average 7% climb. It's just no big deal anymore. Not easy for me, really, but not all the demanding... I just pedal, keep breathing and go. I just followed the age old advice and kept hitting it head on. The body does adjust.

    So, now, Sharp Park Road... another kettle of fish.
    Two miles to the top but the first mile is an average of nearly 9% with a lot of 10, 11, 14% sections sprinkled in to blow any rhythm you get going all to hell.
    From needing FIVE stops the first time up to just two... I thought, "What would happen if I rode this sucker up once a week instead of once a month? What if I rode it 2 or 3 times a week? Wouldn't I just improve just like I did by riding Roberts Road over and over again?" Well, yeah... it would

    So, that's my plan. So far, in the past 10 days or so, I've ridden up 4 times, including today for lunch.
    Yes, I had Sharp Park Road for lunch today I can now do it with one stop (soon it will be none stops. I have no doubt). I can already see a difference. The climb that used to take 20-25 minutes now takes 14. My HR now peaks out at 166 -very, very briefly- where 10 days ago, climbing with one stop jacked my HR up to 175. Once. I didn't need any repeats of that, believe me. It's all about rhythm and breathing. And there's that ride back down to the bottom... oh yeah.

    I go back to see my cardiologist for a recumbant stress/echo in 3 weeks...
    I wonder if anything has changed? I don't know, but I'm bringing my graphs with me.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  2. #2
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Go, man go!

    Good on ya! That looks like a beautiful place to ride and why not do it in pain. No pain no gain????

    Looked it up and that is quite a nice little climb in a short run.

    Hope all turns out well with the doc!
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  3. #3
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great plan for the on-call period.

    I'm sure you'll be down to no stops by the end of the month.

    Wow...am I ever glad my on-call days are way behind me
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  4. #4
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    That's an inspiration, since one of my cycling goals this year is to improve my climbing.

    The area where my new job is has some decent hills, so after-work hill intervals might be just the thing to wait out the rush hour & clear the head, as well as working the legs & lungs. I'll keep your story in mind when the body says "enough".
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  5. #5
    should know better
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    Oh yeah, SKT, you got the sickness...me too. First it was semi-grudgingly including a bit of climbing in the daily ride. Then it goes to "I bet I can stay in the saddle for the whole thing--and maybe get my cadence up an RPM or two". Next it's "I bet I can do it with one or two less teeth on the rear". The slippery slope continues to "that climb isn't long/steep enough" (while simultaneously thinking "I can't believe I'm thinking this!"). I have to admit, though, that it's really the anticipation of the descent that gets me over the top, particularly on my own Roberts Road, which is the first part of my climb over Sonoma Mountain. Going down Crane Canyon (the other side) at 45+ MPH is the biggest rush I've ever felt--and it's LEGAL! (Well, except for the fact that I'm exceeding the speed limit! )

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    New comers to Long distance riding always sseem to think they have to train to 100 miles- to be able to do a 100 mile ride. If I have time to do a 100 mile ride I will do it- and If asked- I could do one this weekend. Might struggle abit as my riding has been curtailed this winter due to the weather. But those rides I have done- have meant something. Bad weather and I don't feel like riding and it has just been a 20 miler with a coffee break in the middle. Bit more time and 25 but with a couple of 10 % hills. Less time and still a 20 miler but flatter and with a bit more speed than normal.

    So if you can't put the time in on rides- then make them worth it. Mind you- there is still the weekend and the regular 50 miler at this time of year.

    That is exactly what SKT does. Milage may not be as high as one of his normal rides- But that hill---he does it- with less breaks than normal- a bit more speed than normal- or if he doesn't feel like riding- he just does it.

    And just to remind -or inform some of you- The reason SKT takes the breaks is that he has an unusual heart condition in the his fitmness overtakes his heart rate. If he exerts himself too much- He doesn't get out of breath like any normal rider- (He may do but he is able to ride through it) His heart rate just keeps going up. Just wish I could get my HR up to his set limit. By the time I get to 160- I am looking for the top of the hill and hoping I can keep going.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    New comers to Long distance riding always sseem to think they have to train to 100 miles- to be able to do a 100 mile ride. If I have time to do a 100 mile ride I will do it- and If asked- I could do one this weekend. Might struggle abit as my riding has been curtailed this winter due to the weather. But those rides I have done- have meant something. Bad weather and I don't feel like riding and it has just been a 20 miler with a coffee break in the middle. Bit more time and 25 but with a couple of 10 % hills. Less time and still a 20 miler but flatter and with a bit more speed than normal.

    So if you can't put the time in on rides- then make them worth it. Mind you- there is still the weekend and the regular 50 miler at this time of year.

    That is exactly what SKT does. Milage may not be as high as one of his normal rides- But that hill---he does it- with less breaks than normal- a bit more speed than normal- or if he doesn't feel like riding- he just does it.

    And just to remind -or inform some of you- The reason SKT takes the breaks is that he has an unusual heart condition in the his fitmness overtakes his heart rate. If he exerts himself too much- He doesn't get out of breath like any normal rider- (He may do but he is able to ride through it) His heart rate just keeps going up. Just wish I could get my HR up to his set limit. By the time I get to 160- I am looking for the top of the hill and hoping I can keep going.
    Thanks for the props, dude
    The moral is "Just do it, whatever "it" has to be"
    As long as I'm just fighting the pain, heck, I can deal with that. Pain's all mental anyway.

    Just to clarify a bit, I'm asthmatic which isn't a huge issue; I just take a couple of hits on the ol' inhaler before I head out. I still fight a little for wind but I manage.

    The real issue is that I'm hypertensive. Stubbornly so.
    The last time I did a stress/echo, the doc was monitoring my BP and when my HR hit 165 he said "Shut it down... this is a line you do not cross"
    Well, I have a few -very few- times but I don't like to make a habit of it.
    I figure, though that the difference between 165 and 166 or 167 is pretty marginal.
    Then, I'm not a doctor.
    This is why I'm so interested in my upcoming stress/echo.
    Has ANY of this made ANY difference?
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I have to do standby, but fortunately only need to be reached by Nextel. I don't miss having to be on-site within 30 minutes. I've been working on my climbing more this year, the goals (fewer stops, higher gears) are easy to measure if not easy to accomplish.

  9. #9
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Oh SKT. Now I've got that jingle in my mind, but can't remember what it's from? "It's not how long you make it, it's how you make it long." Must have been a cigarette commercial?
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

  10. #10
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Ah. Thank you, Google. Winston Longs. I was too young to understand the sexual connotation when that commercial was originally aired. Unavoidable now! And I thought society was more innocent back then. Silly me!
    Embrace diversity: hug a conservative.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Catweazle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
    And, of course, just as I was getting pretty darn comfortable with the new bike and I am itching to start doing some 25, 30, 40 mile rides and knock out that metric that I am now REQUIRED to complete <sigh>
    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    The moral is "Just do it, whatever "it" has to be"
    As long as I'm just fighting the pain, heck, I can deal with that. Pain's all mental anyway.
    "Required"

    heh heh....

    You do rides on hills that would leave some of us broken and gasping!



    The 'metric' will come when it comes, methinks, on terrain that suits you and at a time when it's opportune for you to ride 100km. It's a number rather than a barrier, and considerably more 'mental' than pain.

    Having ridden a 'metric' myself last weekend I've found that it's rather quickly slipped down the rankings in my personal list of admirable achievements. Riding 100km over terrain I could already handle was an exercise in me sitting on the saddle and spinning my legs around for about 5 hours of riding time. It was a really enjoyable achievement to get behind me, but to be quite honest the ride I did yesterday was 'better' because, although I travelled 85km between starting and stopping, that ride was a wee tad faster, quite a bit hillier, and I didn't get dropped so easily on the climbs as has been the case previously. On a ride which was less 'social' and which involved less stops to allow the group to re-bunch I'd have been left behind of course, but on this ride for once I was able to travel with the lead group pretty much the whole distance. That was a more rewarding achievement for me than travelling 100km was.


    Unless you are actually trying to get somewhere more than 100km distant, or trying to build up to longer rides, I suspect it's probably best to go find a flatter road when the time is opportune, get that 100km ride out of the way, and then get back to the riding you actually do!


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
    ...I suspect it's probably best to go find a flatter road when the time is opportune, get that 100km ride out of the way, and then get back to the riding you actually do!

    Around where SKT lives it is vitually impossible to do an interesting 100km without some hills,

    I applaud your enthusiasm, SKT, But be careful not to over do it. I rode to Monterey from Livermore on Thursday along an inland route going through Hollister and Salinas. I will maybe write it up soon. But anyway, it turned out to be 140 miles...about 20 more than I had calculated.

    The yesterday (Saturday) I rode a hard 40 miles over Patterson Pass and into the Central Valley pushing myself cause I though I was lagging. But, actually I did it faster than ever before. Still, I think I am going too hard so have not biked at all today.

    Good luck and happy tail winds to all.

  13. #13
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
    "Required"

    heh heh....

    You do rides on hills that would leave some of us broken and gasping!



    The 'metric' will come when it comes, methinks, on terrain that suits you and at a time when it's opportune for you to ride 100km. It's a number rather than a barrier, and considerably more 'mental' than pain.

    Having ridden a 'metric' myself last weekend I've found that it's rather quickly slipped down the rankings in my personal list of admirable achievements. Riding 100km over terrain I could already handle was an exercise in me sitting on the saddle and spinning my legs around for about 5 hours of riding time. It was a really enjoyable achievement to get behind me, but to be quite honest the ride I did yesterday was 'better' because, although I travelled 85km between starting and stopping, that ride was a wee tad faster, quite a bit hillier, and I didn't get dropped so easily on the climbs as has been the case previously. On a ride which was less 'social' and which involved less stops to allow the group to re-bunch I'd have been left behind of course, but on this ride for once I was able to travel with the lead group pretty much the whole distance. That was a more rewarding achievement for me than travelling 100km was.


    Unless you are actually trying to get somewhere more than 100km distant, or trying to build up to longer rides, I suspect it's probably best to go find a flatter road when the time is opportune, get that 100km ride out of the way, and then get back to the riding you actually do!

    And the "hills that would leave [you and others] broken and gasping" -and, truth be told, I suck a LOT of wind when I tackle 'em, myself- would be considered a warm up, at best and a joke, at worst to other regulars on this board. It's all relative and I compete only with myself and the 20 years I allowed myself to lose.

    One small piece I left out is that I work for a company with a strong focus on health and safety.
    I was required to set a health/safety goal for this year's performance evaluation upon which, in part, my year end salary increase will depend. "That's easy", said I "I will complete a metric century". I pretty much know what the rough course will be and it is fairly flat. There will be a Sharp Park Road class climb at about the 20 mile mark outbound and I'll have to climb back over that to get back home. I've done the outbound climb, I've done the inbound complement. I don't whether I'm looking forward it but I'll do it anyway.

    Now, I think, having not completed it yet, that I'll be happy to have it behind me on my C.V. and then I'll go back to my regular 25 or 30 mile weekend rides. As long as I get my 200 or so miles a month in, I'm a happy guy. Of course, those miles will include hills; I have no choice, really.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Catweazle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai View Post
    And the "hills that would leave [you and others] broken and gasping" -and, truth be told, I suck a LOT of wind when I tackle 'em, myself- would be considered a warm up, at best and a joke, at worst to other regulars on this board. It's all relative and I compete only with myself and the 20 years I allowed myself to lose.
    Spot on, and unless you're riding with and trying to stay with those regulars who'd consider the rides a 'joke' it doesn't matter a fig

    Here on the 50+ board, and out on Sunday Social rides with my local group, I haven't come across anybody who denigrates the achievements of others. Out on solo rides (which I enjoy more than any other cycling activity) whatever anybody else might think isn't even a consideration.

    I'm an asthmatic too, by the way. And a lifelong smoker. Done all the things to myself I should never have done, and still doing a fair slice of them. We're all different, and 'achievement' gets measured on our own scale, IMO. Getting to someplace you decided to go to is an achievement. Getting over the hill in front of you is achievement. Wanting to be as 'jock' as the next bloke is just ego

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