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  1. #1
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    Would appreciate training pointers for Breathless Agony.

    I registered for it... This would be my first official/unofficial century.

    Quick background: I got in cycling about a year and half ago after leading sedentary life style for a decade+. Prior, I was very athletic but time took it's toll with bad habits such as smoking, overeating, etc. (Stopped smoking 4 years ago).

    This is my first actual goal for training (other than saying... to get better, improve power by certain %, etc). I am starting to gather information on where I stand now and hoping that I am not too far off from my goal:

    Be able to ride Breathless Agony within designated time all the way up~~~.

    Here are currently what I can do and have been doing.

    1. I do ride daily bases with my 30+ miles commute. Do semi structured training concentrating on base fitness at this point (no group ride, race, etc... just not willing to commit the time at this point until my kids grow older). Each day it is 1500-2000ft climbing depending on route. Been doing this for a little over a year now.

    2. When my leg is fine on Saturday and it is for endurance ride, I would either do quick 2 hour ride with 3000ft or so climb or 3.5 hour ride (62 miles) with almost no climbing. I definitely could do more but not willing to spend more time at this point. (Time constraints)

    3. I went out today for VO2 Max (about 114% of Threshold Power) ride on near by hill... I only had about 2 hours available today and wanted to get as much climb to see what I can do today.
    (9% grade average for the section I can ride for 5 minute straight... more than that for my speed now but I turned around for rest period in middle) Did 10 repeat with 5 minute up and 3 minute rest ride (down+ looping around) and 15 minute warm up and 20 minute cool down. That was about 3500ft of climbing in 1.5 hours. I think I could have gone more repeats, maybe 4-5 more before the exercise was going to turn into anaerobic.

    At this point, I am wondering what should I really look into testing and improving. My gut feeling tells me I probably need to test out how far I can STEADILY climb at threshold power/tempo/endurance. Or should I just spend the time on concentrating on building more base at this point?

    Thanks for the people who read through and any comments would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I've finished in the top 10 at BA.

    You have picked a hard first century! I'd do an easier one first, then worry about getting a time at something like BA.

    First you need to have the endurance to handle a ride of whatever time it's going to take to get to the top. Then you need to have the legs to handle that much climbing (10k feet or whatever it is to the top). You can treat it as two separate rides, use up everything to get to the timing stop at the top, then recover there for the ride back down. There's often pedalling involved as there's usually a headwind but since you're done with the timed portion you don't have to go hard.

    Then you need to be able to do X hours of climbing at a sub threshold pace. That last climb is very long and it's after some other good climbing.

    Even when going for a fast time there's not much time at threshold. It's all 90% of threshold or therebouts. There's definitely no vo2max work. That's burning a match. Do that often and you will be hurting.

    Reading your training it looks like you need to find the time for longer long rides, and do more climbing. If you have a power meter you can do SST, but you should also do some long climbs at a sub threshold pace, and do some days with a lot of climbing. You should be able to handle 6-7000' in a day without dying.

    I have not had much luck using my power meter to pace climbing races- it doesn't take altitude or heat into account.

    Speaking of heat if you can get acclimated before the ride it may be useful for the lower section of onyx. It can be warm there.

  3. #3
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    Understood on sub-threshold. That's usually what I do once a week just to break monotony from endurance riding I do. I am assuming most of BA climb is done at sub-threshold? I was thinking more in line of tempo/endurance for climbing... Heat is no real big deal. I'm used to commuting at low desert heat in middle of summer... (90F+) Redland is only about 15 miles away from my home so we share same climate. Sounds like to me I will need to dedicate a good portion of day to climb a mountain somewhere at least once to get a good feel for what I would need to improve for next few months...
    I would imagine short climb that takes 20 minutes and ride back down and up wouldn't really simulate the climbing effort... or would it?

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I've finished in the top 10 at BA.

    You have picked a hard first century! I'd do an easier one first, then worry about getting a time at something like BA.

    First you need to have the endurance to handle a ride of whatever time it's going to take to get to the top. Then you need to have the legs to handle that much climbing (10k feet or whatever it is to the top). You can treat it as two separate rides, use up everything to get to the timing stop at the top, then recover there for the ride back down. There's often pedalling involved as there's usually a headwind but since you're done with the timed portion you don't have to go hard.

    Then you need to be able to do X hours of climbing at a sub threshold pace. That last climb is very long and it's after some other good climbing.

    Even when going for a fast time there's not much time at threshold. It's all 90% of threshold or therebouts. There's definitely no vo2max work. That's burning a match. Do that often and you will be hurting.

    Reading your training it looks like you need to find the time for longer long rides, and do more climbing. If you have a power meter you can do SST, but you should also do some long climbs at a sub threshold pace, and do some days with a lot of climbing. You should be able to handle 6-7000' in a day without dying.

    I have not had much luck using my power meter to pace climbing races- it doesn't take altitude or heat into account.

    Speaking of heat if you can get acclimated before the ride it may be useful for the lower section of onyx. It can be warm there.
    What would you think of spending 3-4 days hiking and sleeping above 10,000' as part of a taper, maybe the weekend before? A buddy of mine took 45 minutes off his age group record on a mountain TT after returning from an MTB trip in the Himalayas. Quite remarkable. I've been curious about these effects ever since I climbed Mt. Rainier 2 weeks before Ramrod and then had a very good ride.

    After googling around some more, maybe 3 weeks before the event to give time for red blood cell production to run its course?
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 01-17-12 at 07:23 PM.

  5. #5
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    As mentioned, the BA is quite a first century to attempt. Though not acentury, maybe the Alpine Challenge would be better for a first challengingride.

    Almost all of the climbing of the BA is within the first 73 miles - more than 11,000' within the first 73 miles.

    My first attempt at the BA was a week after the Alpine Challenge (6,500' over 73 miles), and I completed 3 of the 4 passes of the BA - about 7,800' of climbing.

    I came back a few years later and completed the whole thing. I was not among the top 10, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once a few years ago.

    The second pass I find to bethe most challenging - 6.7% for nearly 5 miles. If you've got anything like that for training, you should work it fully in your legs over the next few months.

    Man, try to make time to do that 2 hour ride with 3000ft twice in a day…a few times.

    Why is your leg fine on Saturday?

  6. #6
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    Why is your leg fine on Saturday?[/QUOTE]

    I do higher effort ride on Saturday typically while keeping it at endurance or recovery during weekdays. After all, Mon-Friday I am commuting and don't like the idea of becoming too sweaty (no shower at work). If I feel that I am not

    So that 3000ft twice would somewhat simulate the effort you think? The only concern I have for that one is... it's just short 1 mile 9-10% average I could repeat... or 2.5 miles 6% I could repeat. I suppose I could wake up early and do 4-5 hour of climb/descend on Saturdays before brunch time hits... I am just wondering if this broken to pieces climbing effort is effective for steady long climb like what you mentioned.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    The short climbs are good for doing intervals and getting in a good amount of total climbing. But I think it's important to do some long climbs in training. That gets your body used to climbing for a long time, and also your brain gets used to it. The first time I did BA the climb to Angelus Oaks seemed really long because I hadn't done that many 3000' climbs so I wasnt used to spending an hour climbing.

    Too short a stay at altitude makes you slower rather than faster, as it takes a while to acclimate and then you need to catch back up on the training you missed or were doing slowly.

    BA doesn't get to an altitude where I notice a change in performance until the last bit of the last climb. So I don't think altitude is much of a big deal there.

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