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Old 06-23-10, 06:26 PM   #1
JohnTP
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Advice needed on upcoming ride

I started cycling again last summer after many years. I rode a 60 miler last August and rides in the 30 to 40 mile range a half a dozen times so far this year. I have logged over 900 miles on the bike this year and over 600 since April.

I recently signed up for the Chelan Century Challenge ride (www.centuryride.com). It has three loops (30m, 40m, 30m) with 8,800 ft of total elevation gain.. There is a monster hill (McNeil Canyon) starting at about the 60 mile point which climbs 2,200 ft in 5 miles with an 8.5% avg grade. Because it is an "out and back" section of the ride it can be skipped.

I am trying to decide how to approach this event.

1) Ride everything (pretty sure that I am not ready for this).

2) Ride Loops 1 and 2 and attempt McNeil Canyon depending on how I feel (leaning this way).

3) Skip the Canyon and ride loops 1, 2 and 3 (still maybe too many miles based on my current training level?).

I feel in great shape but would have liked to have ridden some 50-60 mile rides more recently; however, business and family obligations as well as the Seattle area weather haven't cooperated. My training rides incorporate hills - some as steep as 10% but nothing over 400' total climbing on a single road. A typical 30 mile ride will have 1,500 ft or so of total elevation. By the way, I am age 50, 5'9" and 150 lbs. Knees are ok - minor condromalatia - I ride a Lemond Buenos Aires with a triple crank (low gear of 30T front and 25T rear).

Suggestions, strategies and encouragement are welcome.
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Old 06-23-10, 06:32 PM   #2
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Go easy on yourself and just have fun with the ride.
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Old 06-23-10, 06:36 PM   #3
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I feel in great shape but would have liked to have ridden some 50-60 mile rides more recently; however, business and family obligations as well as the Seattle area weather haven't cooperated.
+1 on that!

I'm trying to get ready for RAMROD in July, but haven't done any really long rides lately because of the weather (and because I am a wimp, I guess). I'm even taking the day off Friday, I think, to do a long ride by myself just to get some miles in.

I am wondering -- are you driving over the Lake Chelan for the weekend? Maybe you do the parts of the ride *without* the canyon on Saturday, then get up Sunday morning and do the canyon by itself. Then drive home, stopping in Leavenworth for a beer (make sure you have a designated driver, of course).

BTW -- I'm guessing that some of your training is on the Chilly Hilly route on Bainbridge Island. My own experience is that if you can ride the Chilly Hilly course comfortably, you can make it up anything in Washington state. Chilly Hilly hills are short and steep; the mountain climbs are longer but less steep.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:03 PM   #4
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Yes I rode the Chilly Hilly - I live in Kitsap county and my local rides are on very similar terrain.

I fully plan on enjoying the scenery - quite a contrast to the green side here. I like the challenge of the hills and am leaning toward #2. If I hit my limit I can always just turn the bike around and head downhill and call it a day.

I will be returning on Saturday after the ride but I like your suggestion.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:40 PM   #5
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I'd go for it. What is the most negative thing that could happen? But I'm an advocate for sometimes picking a goal that you think is slightly out of your reach just to show that you're still capable of growth. The last few months I've been thinking a great deal about the things in my life that I wished I had "gone of it" but didn't. You can't get those back. IMHO too many people are afraid of failure. I think it's important to "know you limits, and then try to stretch them. That means at times you are going to come short of your goals, but so what? You gave it a shot. If I didn't think this way, I would never have married the wonderful woman I share my life with and who is the mother of my two sons; I never would have completed graduate school; I never would have earned a third degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, I never would have tired my first century. You sound like someone who knows a bit about your limitations. So, now the real question is, do you feel like stretching them?
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Old 06-24-10, 09:31 AM   #6
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I'd go for it. What is the most negative thing that could happen? But I'm an advocate for sometimes picking a goal that you think is slightly out of your reach just to show that you're still capable of growth. The last few months I've been thinking a great deal about the things in my life that I wished I had "gone of it" but didn't. You can't get those back. IMHO too many people are afraid of failure. I think it's important to "know you limits, and then try to stretch them. That means at times you are going to come short of your goals, but so what? You gave it a shot. If I didn't think this way, I would never have married the wonderful woman I share my life with and who is the mother of my two sons; I never would have completed graduate school; I never would have earned a third degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, I never would have tired my first century. You sound like someone who knows a bit about your limitations. So, now the real question is, do you feel like stretching them?
Ditto-you're not going to truly know your limit until you get there. If you do get in over you head don't feel bad about it one bit. You will know where and what you need to work on and can feel good about going to your limit. You may find you have more capacity than you think and will feel the exhiliration of taking on something bigger than you thought you could. Plus, next year you'll smile as the ride will be so much easier.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:15 AM   #7
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I would be tempted to do the climb. But really, this is about fun and not making this a painful experience. Do what you are capable of doing. If you think you would enjoy the misery by all means do it. I do the Horrible Hundred here in FL every year and just about all the guys in my age bracket have long since scaled back to the short routes.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:23 AM   #8
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A word of warning - short (~ 2 mile) and steep climbs are not the same as a long climb in that 8% region. I also find for myself I am not prepared for a century until I can casually do a metric. So seeing as the ride is this Sat and you have only been doing 40 milers I would seriously get my head around not feeling like I had to do all three loops.
Maybe I am reading the maps wrong but it appears loop 2 (Mcneil canyon loop) is the big challenge, I think I would tackle that first, I would also not be afraid to stop 1/2 way up the hill and take a break. If I can get through that one - and it appears there are ample flats to recover, then I would do the others. That way I know I have the worst behind me and can enjoy the rest of the ride - besides after the ride is over you can talk about your experience on that part of the ride without having to say you skipped it.

It's a little late for this but I would consider a 12-27 or 11-28 cassette for that climb, but I am old, slow and fat.
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Old 06-24-10, 12:02 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your encouragement.

I have never had the chance to attempt a 5+ mile 8.5% hill before and I am thinking that that is the physical challenge that I want to shoot for - a century can wait for another time.

I know that I can handle 10% hills in the 300'-400' range with my current 12-25 cassette. Whether this is low enough to do at the 60 mile point is another question. I guess I will find out on Saturday!
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Old 06-24-10, 01:08 PM   #10
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Go for it! You might regret missing the opportunity of achieving a significant challenge. I am guessing you are going to succeed.
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Old 06-24-10, 01:37 PM   #11
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That sounds like a great ride. 3 loops and you can stop at the end of any of them. But definitely try the hill. What if you walk or take a rest?-----bet you won't be the only one.

Only thing about your first attempt at a hill like this- Take it slow and keep going. And I do mean slow- NO attacking it--till you find that you enjoy it. Then forget the rest of the loops and just do this one again-----And again----And Again

Have fun.

I did Ventoux 1 year after starting road biking. 7.5% for 13 miles. I did a bit of training but not much- just my normal riding. It was long but barring a couple of places where I had to put in effort- it was easy. Just take the I-Pod with you as long hills get boring. And take enough water too and a couple of Gels or your favourite energy food. (Fig Newtons work for me)

Pics will be required of you at the top so take the camera.
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