a friend signed me up to climb Mt. Washington with him this summer. average 12% grade for 7.6 miles. not easy.
i ride a lot (5000 miles last year) but tend to avoid hills because I'm on the Clyde side. so this will be not be easy for me. I am naturally trying to cut as much weight as possible, no need to remind me of the power/weight ratio :-) and of course I will get a super-low gearing setup.
Mt. Washington is closed to bikes except on race day, and although there is a mountain with a similar grade for about half the distance it is a 3 hour drive. I will of course go there for a couple of "reality checks" before August, but I can't do that every Saturday.
instead, my racer friend suggested that I do two things:
1) hill repeats on a local hill that averages a 10% grade though only for 3/4 of a mile - 1/10th the length of Mt. Washington. he said this would mostly be useful to get used to the sensation of climbing, but that it's not long enough to be a realistic simulation.
2) he said it would be more important to practice sustaining effort over a long period of time, at least the 2+ hours it will likely take me to finish the Mt. Washington. he said that this would best be done on a fairly flat course because something with hills will make it hard to sustain HR on downhills. (I also get scared going too fast)
I've done #1 a couple of times, and my HR averages in the mid-170s. This makes me a bit nervous, because the 220-age equation says my max should be 180 though my Garmin has recorded a max in the mid-180s several times, so I'll assume a max of 185. I'm not used to doing hills, so I hope/think my average on a hillclimb should come down with time...probably can't sustain 95% of max HR for 2+ hours!
on #2 I tried to push hard enough to maintain a similar HR but just couldn't do it. I was able to average 160 bpm over a 90-minute effort, which is 86% of max. I did stop pedaling a few times, which is a big no-no on the mountain, and I wonder whether this is an adequate effort...at least for starters. I should probably build up to doing this for 2 1/2 hours.
Any comments much appreciated, whether on the target heart rate for endurance training or the program in general.