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Old 11-24-13, 08:22 PM   #1
Big B
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Mulholland Challenge training, need some help.

Need some help with the training required to complete this beast of a ride.........I had a crack at it last year and i didnt make the cutoff time at Decker......I want to have another crack at it this time but with a more laid out training plan. Can any of you guys recommend how much mileage a week and elevation climbing i need to do to complete it. One of the SAG guys recommended doing two 10k+ climbs a month, 4 months out to get you ready........... any thoughts? I would love all the feedback i can get.
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Old 11-25-13, 01:41 AM   #2
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In my opinion, unless you have BMI 22 (or less), your best bang for buck 4 months out is losing weight.

Two 10k+ climbs a month is overkill. I'd say, target a minimum of 3 rides/week, one long ride during the weekend, and try to stretch the long ride to 6 hours or longer for the last month or two.
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Old 11-25-13, 01:49 AM   #3
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In my opinion, unless you have BMI 22 (or less), your best bang for buck 4 months out is losing weight.

Two 10k+ climbs a month is overkill. I'd say, target a minimum of 3 rides/week, one long ride during the weekend, and try to stretch the long ride to 6 hours or longer for the last month or two.
Im not a heavy guy, im 5'9" and 168lbs but i would like to lose a little more weight. In those 3 rides a week how much elevation and miles should i be getting in per ride? Just a ballpark number? Thanks for the input.
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Old 11-25-13, 02:00 AM   #4
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I had decent results targeting 150 miles/week. If that sounds too time-consuming, do 100 for the next couple of months and raise to 150 closer to the event. Though 150 would probably help you shave a few extra pounds by April. I did the KOM series this year after 550 mi / 34,000' in February and 670 mi / 43,000' in March.
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Old 11-25-13, 02:47 AM   #5
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I did it two years ago. My training was one ride a week and that is usually a 70 mile 5000ft ride. As I got closer I rampped up to 90 miles and 9000ft (three of these rides) every other week. I would definitely get some long rides in so your body will be used to the time on the bike and makes sure you get some hard rides in. I think two 100 miles 10,000 ft rides a month is a great idea. I wish I had done more. I am a big guy 200+ but I did finish. Decker at miles 85ish? and Stunt around 100 is very hard, I think this year it is more mileage then when I did it. Hamster put in a lot more miles and elevations for preparation than I did. After MC you will be in much better shape for the next two and then come up pretty quickly as well. I perfer BA but then again that is in my back yard.
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Old 11-25-13, 11:33 PM   #6
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I did the Malibu 7 last year before MC and it helped me to grind in the same turf and 100 tough miles in the legs. Stunt for me was daunting as I had not ridden it. I would make some trips up there and chew on the same ground. I would hit stunt to get familiar with it as it is the last big one. I was more worried about getting four rides a week than total miles but made sure I got some big rides and climbing in as well. They did not do so good on food so I would bring some options just in case. Good luck
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Old 11-26-13, 11:07 AM   #7
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I agree with Lesper and Hamster - lose weight (if you need to) and ride portions of the route beforehand if you can. Last year was my first time on the KOM and I barely made the cut off for all three. On MC I think I was less than 5 mins under the wire - so this year I am going to drop some weight and do some cross training - running. Last year I was doing 125 a week and I rode big chunks of MC in the month or so beforehand. My standard training area is GMR and FUllerton area. So I typically do 75 to 100 miles of rollers M-F (total vertical of 1000 to 1500 per ride) and 50+ on the weekend with 5000+ vertical. Based on my performance last year, I am going to try to get more vertical miles in this year, and lose 30 lbs (lol) ...
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Old 11-26-13, 12:22 PM   #8
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Besides weight I would also look at gearing. I've done the MC several times and I'm 5'6" 175 - 180. If you can't finish with your easiest gear, then you need more, simple as that. Not everyone can push a 39 - 25 or whatever up decker, use what will work for you and the only way to know that is to experiment with your gearing. The length of climbs on MC can last for a good while 20 - 45mins a pop depending upon your strength. What I would be aiming for in rides is basically about 6k - 7kft of climbing in 60/70 miles or so once a week. During the week try to do hill repeats 3 x 20mins or 2 x 30mins. Add a recovery ride of about 1 - 1.5hrs or so. After 60/70 miles you need to gauge how fresh your legs are relative to your ride. Steady climbing power is what you are looking for.

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Old 11-26-13, 12:42 PM   #9
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Definitely try to keep the ratio of 10 miles per 1000 ft but make sure you are doing at least 50 miles or more when doing so. That is a good training ratio for all the KOM rides.
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Old 11-26-13, 10:23 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for all the input...........Ive ridden pretty much all of the climbs on MC, but i havent done them all in one day. I thought i was ready last year and being the naive idiot that i am, i started late at 8am and got completely smashed. Ive got a couple triathlon races scheduled for next year ( Wildflower Long Course and Vineman 70.3 ) so im still contemplating if i should even attempt MC again or do something more reasonable like Heartbreak 100........ My buddy who is a 7x MC finisher said to pass on it because i would need more time on the bike and wouldnt be able to fit in the proper training with the running and swimming that i would be doing. Oh and did i mention we just had a brand new baby boy!!!! So time will be scarce.... BUT THANKS everyone for their input.
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Old 11-26-13, 10:27 PM   #11
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Besides weight I would also look at gearing. I've done the MC several times and I'm 5'6" 175 - 180. If you can't finish with your easiest gear, then you need more, simple as that. Not everyone can push a 39 - 25 or whatever up decker, use what will work for you and the only way to know that is to experiment with your gearing. The length of climbs on MC can last for a good while 20 - 45mins a pop depending upon your strength. What I would be aiming for in rides is basically about 6k - 7kft of climbing in 60/70 miles or so once a week. During the week try to do hill repeats 3 x 20mins or 2 x 30mins. Add a recovery ride of about 1 - 1.5hrs or so. After 60/70 miles you need to gauge how fresh your legs are relative to your ride. Steady climbing power is what you are looking for.

Ian in SD
Ian, thank you. That is exactly the kind of advice i was looking for, especially with the hill repeats. How often are you adding in the hill repeats during the week?
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Old 11-26-13, 11:18 PM   #12
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Once a week for three weeks, followed by the duration climb ride and recovery ride. Every fourth week skip the climb ride + intervals and just go a for a 3 - 4 hour ride. Look for a route that you've done before this way you can gauge your fitness in between the workouts.
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Old 11-27-13, 10:01 AM   #13
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I am not sure I will go for all three again this year but have my eye on BA as that was truly a challenge. I rode all of them to survive and did not push my pace but kept steady. I flatted after Stunt on Mulholland just before the turn going back to the start and for whatever reason bonked then. Limped back pretty broken. BA was a poor ride for me and I was running on fumes the last 15 miles of climbing which is one hill. Heartbreak I mailed it in as I knew I was getting the jersey. As far as trimming weight I think it is a great idea but should be done in such a way you still have reserves for the big pushes. It should be done well before the ride like months and not concentrated on at all for the month before hitting the trigger.

There is a san Diego Challenge that started last year and I think I will do it instead of Planet Ultra. I will most likely go for BA again

MC 10:43:47 BA 8:46 HH 7:59:14 Total 27:29:01 I think I could trim an hour off my overall time with proper prep and now my road experience on all of them. I am pleased with completing on my first try and HH was on my 50th bday which was one of the reasons I went for it. I have never been a great climber but enjoy the challenge
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Old 11-27-13, 12:09 PM   #14
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Big B - congrats on the baby. My fourth was born just before MC last year, so I was lucky to get any training in before the KOM series. I feel your pain when you try to roll out the door and there are diapers to change etc. Like Gallo, this year I will celebrate my 50th bday the day before HB100. Planning on doing Malibu 7, KOM Series, the Classic Climbs of the Alps via Trek Travel in June, followed by the Death Ride in July. By then my wife will probably be calling the divorce attorney... haha. If anyone wants to get in a training ride up GMR, AC or out in Malibu between now and the big rides post on here and I'll be happy to ride sweeper
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Old 11-27-13, 01:39 PM   #15
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Definitely try to keep the ratio of 10 miles per 1000 ft but make sure you are doing at least 50 miles or more when doing so. That is a good training ratio for all the KOM rides.
This. Every ride you do should have 100 feet per mile or more. Start now at 50miles w/ 5K feet. By the end of March you need to be riding a century once a week with 10k. Last year's course was over 120miles and 12k feet.

Decker is not the killer. Stunt is the killer. Yes, Decker is steeper and longer than Stunt but Stunt comes around the 100mile mark now and at that point it seems really hard. Cold Canyon is also nasty because to your eyes it does not appear that steep, but your legs are cold after descending Piuma, and you just want it to be over.

You can complete MC riding one day a week on the road. Either sign up with a coach (find something like Robert Kahler's Torture Clinic in LA) or load up on climbing DVD's from Coach Troy and Carmichael and do that twice a week during the week on a trainer. Fitting in the climb training with the swimming, running and new baby will be challenging.

One thing no one else mentioned, stay healthy. As a 6'3" Clyde, I was able to do Mulholland under the time limit with about an hour to spare. I completed the KOM series in 2012. Late last February I picked up a nasty bug that had me down for weeks and killed my chances of repeating KOM this year. Get a flu shot. Wash your hands frequently. Become a complete germophobe: carry purell and Clorox wipes. Share a keyboard/mouse at home or office? Wipe it down before you use it. Pump your own gas? Slather on the purell when you're done. Avoid crowds as best you can.

WHEN you do finish Mulholland next April, sign up for Breathless and Heartbreak because that KOM jersey is a really nice one to have in your collection. MC is the toughest. If you finish that, the other two won't be as hard.

Congratulations on your baby boy!
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Old 11-27-13, 03:37 PM   #16
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100 feet per mile is a lot of climbing. I almost never get that much, and I have 6-8% grades in all directions. If you go for 100 feet per mile, you're probably going to end up spending a lot of time out of the saddle, and I just don't see the point. With the exception of Decker and a bit of Cold Canyon, nothing in MC requires you to go out of the saddle.
I screwed up my training a bit just before MC last year (I rode a double century in late March and only got myself to do 80 miles in 3 weeks between that and MC), but I recovered after that and did the other two in 8:03 and 8:00, training as described above. I averaged 87'/mile (not counting MC itself) in April. In March, I averaged 64'/mile including the double and 75'/mile excluding it.
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Old 11-27-13, 04:25 PM   #17
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nothing in MC requires you to go out of the saddle.
What huh? So people who are in shape should be able to sit the entire ride? Riding Up to Yerba Buena required getting out of the saddle. and so did Decker and Stunt I think I was just out of energy to get up. Even parts of the snake (Mulholland) does. Given I am bigger but look at all the KOM: MC, 120m 12,000ft BA, 114m 12,000 HB, 100m, 9,000ft. Devide and that is roughly 10ft per mile great for training.
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Old 11-27-13, 06:24 PM   #18
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What huh? So people who are in shape should be able to sit the entire ride? Riding Up to Yerba Buena required getting out of the saddle. and so did Decker and Stunt I think I was just out of energy to get up. Even parts of the snake (Mulholland) does.
"With the exception of Decker and a bit of Cold Canyon."

Last time I had average cadence ~75 on Yerba Buena. Looks like there was some out of saddle time on Cotharin, obviously standing a lot on Decker, I think I was sitting all the way or almost all the way on Stunt (had to stop a couple of times though), and I walked parts of Cold Canyon. That was with 34/32 low gear. So yeah you have to stand from time to time, but it's not hugely important.

And I was sitting 99% of the time in the other two.
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Old 11-27-13, 06:51 PM   #19
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Then again it comes down to riding style. I sit a whole lot more then I used too but I notice I do stand more then most.
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Old 11-28-13, 12:14 AM   #20
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Then again it comes down to riding style. I sit a whole lot more then I used too but I notice I do stand more then most.
What was your lowest gear before the accident?

I think that standing training was helpful for WMD (6000' of climbing at once, average cadence below 70 ...) It's not as necessary for MC, where most climbs are below 8%. And, if you train specifically for out of the saddle climbing, your flatland/downhill performance suffers.

On the other hand, if you just do GMR repeats or something, you can get over 100'/mile without ever really having to go out of the saddle.

Last edited by hamster; 11-28-13 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 11-28-13, 04:44 PM   #21
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Get a flu shot. Wash your hands frequently. Become a complete germophobe: carry purell and Clorox wipes. Share a keyboard/mouse at home or office? Wipe it down before you use it. Pump your own gas? Slather on the purell when you're done. Avoid crowds as best you can.
Bad advice. I live and work in an area with a lot of homeless bums. They're filthy and stink. But there are several that have been around for years. Why? Because they have the same immune systems as a cockroach. Bums don't slather Purell on their hands, they drink it. Bums pickup old butts out of the gutter and put them in their mouths. Bums share their 40s with other stinking bums. Learn from this. Being too clean is bad for you.

The amount of training you do depends on whether you want to post a good time or if you just want to finish. I had dinner a couple years ago with three guys that had trained hard for months. They'd do club rides then tack on an extra 50 chasing each other up Palomar. On the other hand, if you just want to complete it, your #1 tip is to leave as early as possible. If you started at 630 you would have made the cutoff. You should also get a riding partner like Ian that will stay in front of you and tell you how slow you are. Kind of like a human power meter.
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