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Is it better to try and fail, taking the sag wagon home... or to not try at all?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Is it better to try and fail, taking the sag wagon home... or to not try at all?

Old 04-12-16, 12:25 PM
  #26  
mpath
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I live by the adage, "I don't mind failing, as people fail all the time. But I cannot not try."
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Old 04-12-16, 01:02 PM
  #27  
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It is very unlikely that you need to output a sustained 500 watts to complete a charity ride. Say you weigh 200 pounds, that works out to 5.5 watts/kg, which for 5 min power is pro or cat 1 level power.

Typically when people describe a climb, they will describe it in terms of ave % grade, not max % grade. Pulling up a recent climb that I did that was ave 9.5% grade for 2 miles, I can see that I rode up that at 2.6 watts/kg power output. That is a pretty mellow effort. There is (according to Strava) a tiny amt of 19.5% grade on that hill. You can extrapolate based on your weight what kind of wattage you'd need to maintain to climb a similar hill, its probably going to be something like 250 watts.

No one here can really speak to whether you should do this ride, because of your heart condition. You should consult your physician. But its likely your proposed ride is actually significantly easier than you're thinking it it, and (if not for your heart issues) you could probably do it.
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Old 04-12-16, 01:23 PM
  #28  
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Sustaining 500 watts? Should go do the Giro instead.
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Old 04-12-16, 01:26 PM
  #29  
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Just get out there and ride it!
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Old 04-12-16, 01:40 PM
  #30  
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@jtaylor996 I know the part of you that wants matching Enve decals will hate this suggestion, but can you put a triple on your bike? Even with a 20% pitch, you would still maybe be able to spin up steep inclines if you have a 30t inner ring and a 12-30 on the back without going over your HR limit.

If you have mechanical shifting rather than Di2, I think you'd need a new left shifter and FD in addition to the obvious need for a new crank.

Probably no time to do that before your ride, though. I'd just go for it and make sure you don't push yourself any harder than the MD is telling you to.
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Old 04-12-16, 01:46 PM
  #31  
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Looking at the map and comparing it to a topo map of Texas, it looks like the only steep stuff is up near Bulcher. Seem like if you got to rest stop #5 and didn't think you had it in you to do the hills you could just ride back on Hwy 82 to the start. You would still have a good 45 mile ride in.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:05 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
It is very unlikely that you need to output a sustained 500 watts to complete a charity ride. Say you weigh 200 pounds, that works out to 5.5 watts/kg, which for 5 min power is pro or cat 1 level power.

Typically when people describe a climb, they will describe it in terms of ave % grade, not max % grade. Pulling up a recent climb that I did that was ave 9.5% grade for 2 miles, I can see that I rode up that at 2.6 watts/kg power output. That is a pretty mellow effort. There is (according to Strava) a tiny amt of 19.5% grade on that hill. You can extrapolate based on your weight what kind of wattage you'd need to maintain to climb a similar hill, its probably going to be something like 250 watts.

No one here can really speak to whether you should do this ride, because of your heart condition. You should consult your physician. But its likely your proposed ride is actually significantly easier than you're thinking it it, and (if not for your heart issues) you could probably do it.
500W on my power curve is just over 1 minute. I don't mean to be claiming I'm talking about long efforts here. The climbing out here is short hill after short hill after short hill. 1 min at 500W is enough to get most of the way up these things if you have momentum with you at the beginning. Then I end up dropping down to 300w to get to the top or so. My 5 minute power is somewhere in the mid 200s.

I'm not sure how to get avg. grade numbers from strava without creating a new segment just for that climb. If you just zoom in on the analysis to that part of the ride it just tells you the grade as you mouse over the plots.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:06 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
@jtaylor996 I know the part of you that wants matching Enve decals will hate this suggestion, but can you put a triple on your bike? Even with a 20% pitch, you would still maybe be able to spin up steep inclines if you have a 30t inner ring and a 12-30 on the back without going over your HR limit.

If you have mechanical shifting rather than Di2, I think you'd need a new left shifter and FD in addition to the obvious need for a new crank.

Probably no time to do that before your ride, though. I'd just go for it and make sure you don't push yourself any harder than the MD is telling you to.
Inconceivable.

My low gear is 34-32 at this point. I don't see a triple gaining me much. Plus, I'm not giving up the quarq.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:12 PM
  #34  
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do, or do not. there is no try. - Yoda
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Old 04-12-16, 02:15 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
Well, I just looked at the map of the hill that kicked my ass this weekend. I got off and had to walk it up the last bit (about 80 seconds off the bike). Where I got off the grade was 20.8%... I guess I don't feel so bad after seeing that.
That's a pretty serious hill!

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Old 04-12-16, 02:17 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by seajaye View Post
I am not sure how the ride being too hilly equates to immediate injury. Unless the OP has some sort of hill-induced latent injury they are trying to keep at bay....

If you struggled through a less-hilly metric last week, chances are you'll be able to tackle this upcoming, hillier metric with similar gusto after a week to recover. Yes, the additional climbing will take a toll, but what is the worst that can happen? You end up riding a bit slower than you thought, but hey, you finished!

Coming from an endurance background, I am of the mindset that I can finish nearly any ride, given enough time.

Take it slower than you think you should, rest when you're tired, eat when you're hungry, and get off and walk a climb if you need to. You should be just fine.

Immediate injury are your words, not mine. I never said immediate.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:20 PM
  #37  
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Ride like there is no sag wagon.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:27 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
Inconceivable.

My low gear is 34-32 at this point. I don't see a triple gaining me much. Plus, I'm not giving up the quarq.
Lol, I forgot you just got a Quarq. Yea, probably better not to get rid of that and spend even more $$$. Does your cardiologist say the 90% restriction could be lifted at some point in the future? Or is this a permanent thing?
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Old 04-12-16, 02:37 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Lol, I forgot you just got a Quarq. Yea, probably better not to get rid of that and spend even more $$$. Does your cardiologist say the 90% restriction could be lifted at some point in the future? Or is this a permanent thing?
I don't know. We'll see if the next echocardiogram says in a few months time. I'm really hoping it shows some improvement. This may be a permanent restriction. I'm prepared to live with that if I need to.
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Old 04-12-16, 02:38 PM
  #40  
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There's no guarantee there will be a spot for you on the wagon. It may well be full when you need it. I guess you can always start the 100k and turn off and do the 65k route if you feel you can't make it.
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Old 04-12-16, 03:44 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
You guys aren't doing the OP any favors here.

He says he already knows the ride is too much for him and said he struggled with an easier ride of the same length. Telling the guy to ride a ride which he already knows he can't do is pretty irresponsible.

Pride says ride. Humility says train and and then ride. A week and a half isn't enough time to train. Better to train and ride it well then ride too soon and be off the bike with injury.


-Tim-
i'm with you. He may not get injured physically, but what's the point of suffering through a ride? Just to see that you can suffer, perhaps. I say if your training says that you can, then by all means go for it. Otherwise work towards it; the hills will all still be there next year.
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Old 04-12-16, 04:21 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
I'm not sure how to get avg. grade numbers from strava without creating a new segment just for that climb. If you just zoom in on the analysis to that part of the ride it just tells you the grade as you mouse over the plots.
Open the web version of Strava, open the ride of interest and then click on the tab to the left that says "analysis". This will bring up a screen that displays a map of your ride, with an elevation profile below that and your data graphs below that:



Then right click on whatever portion of the elevation profile you'd like stats on. In the sample I'm using, you can see the climb highlighted in grey. Immediately below the elevation profile, now you can see the stats on the highlighted selection. In this case, the hill in question: 1.7 miles (distance), 906 ft (elevation gain), 9.7% (this is the ave % grade), 23:24 (time).



Its helpful to look at stats on hills from previous rides to figure out what you can do on future rides. Again, if you scroll around on this hill, you can find that 19.5% section. But typically this would be referred to as a 9-10% hill, not a 19.5% hill. Not to hassle you, but if you're asking questions here about what people think you can/should do, you'll get better responses if people understand more fully what the ride will be like.

Again, though, the best person to know if you can do this is you. By looking at stats on previous rides and comparing those stats to what you want to do.
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Old 04-12-16, 05:33 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
"You don't know what you can do and what you can't."--Oscar "Manny" Manheim, "Runaway Train"
I'll see your Oscar "Manny" Manheim and raise you one Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
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Old 04-12-16, 06:20 PM
  #44  
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I don't believe in failing as always being beneficial, nor especially worthwhile. It is better to try and succeed, and almost as good to struggle against long odds if there is a chance. But knowing there is no chance, I don't want to "give it my best shot" and fail. Train more, reach the point where the goal is at least within reach, and then try.
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Old 04-12-16, 06:21 PM
  #45  
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Honestly, it looks pretty flat, for the most part. Any hills look to be relatively short.

Here's a strava segment of the whole ride for your obsessing pleasure: https://www.strava.com/segments/7091826

Looks like the worst placed strava rider was in the 5-6 hour range. He and the second-worst put out an average of about 100 watts (estimated.) That sounds like they took it pretty easy.

I think you may be over-thinking this ride. Eat and rest right the night before, fuel properly during the ride, shift properly for the hills, don't over-cook your effort on the easy parts and keep yourself measured on the rollers.

You'll be fine. Do it.
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Old 04-12-16, 08:13 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
There's no shame in walking up a 20% grade. You know your heart issue and have to deal with that. For me I can usually push myself a bit farther than I think I can. If you were absolutely wiped out after the last one, then you should probably not undertake a harder ride so soon afterward, but keep building up. OTOH, if after the last ride you felt reasonably OK after a short period of time you probably have a bit more capability.

Three thoughts: 1 - don't kill yourself the week before a big ride. Ride, but take it easy, 2 - pace yourself, pace yourself pace yourself, 3 - long rides near your limit are as much mental as physical. If you can't psych up for it, don't do it.
If not to complete some cycling route, is there some other reason to participate? Are friends/family participating? Is it a convenient excuse to go somewhere and see something interesting? If not, it would seem perverse to enter an event one had no honest intention or real ambition of completing.
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Old 04-12-16, 11:58 PM
  #47  
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"There is no try. There is only do." Yoda

"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that's not what ships were built for." Melville

"What the hell, go for it!" GravelMN

Never plan to fail but never fail to plan. Train hard, eat well and get plenty of rest, then give it everything you have. If you have to SAG in after your best effort, there is no shame in that. Abandoning the attempt out of fear of failure, that can make it hard to look in the mirror.
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Old 04-13-16, 01:34 AM
  #48  
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None of my rides have a sag wagon. I don't leave myself much choice other than getting to the end.

Do you have a map of the course? If all else fails, perhaps a shortcut is possible.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
You guys aren't doing the OP any favors here.

He says he already knows the ride is too much for him and said he struggled with an easier ride of the same length. Telling the guy to ride a ride which he already knows he can't do is pretty irresponsible.

Pride says ride. Humility says train and and then ride. A week and a half isn't enough time to train. Better to train and ride it well then ride too soon and be off the bike with injury.
Everything being equal, the second century ride should be easier than the first.

In this case, it is not exactly equal, but the previous ride should help.

Also, you have to look at the hill characteristics, not just the sheer number of hills and elevation change.
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Old 04-13-16, 05:24 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
I'm riding with a heart issue, so I can't go over 90% max HR. This is why climbing sucks for me. I find it very hard to keep the HR down. Now that I'm riding with a power meter I can better pace myself, but it's hard to climb at all with anything less than about 170W. At my weight, that's lowest gear almost falling over speed. If I just go for it I'll end up sustaining over 500W. I would consider moderate pace climb to be like 330W. I just can't sustain those wattages without my HR getting too high.
I am in a similar situation (though not so fit as you.)

There is no question but that you could make it ... the only question would be, could you keep ahead of the Sag Wagon? If you slowed down enough to keep your HR in a safe range, you might get so far behind that the support truck would have to pass you .. and then you would have no choice but to grind it out in ultra-slow motion all the way to the end (don't ask how I know.)

The next question would be, if you finished an hour after everyone else, would yo then be stranded with no way home except to ride back---which would probably be way too much?

I'd say, if you think ti is too much for your current condition, either go for it planning to stop when you couldn't keep up with the group, or try it on your own and just go partway and ride back, and keep going until you felt you had increased your fitness level to the point where you could hang with the group.

Either option offers benefits. The group ride can be a great motivator, so long as you know when to quit (if you need to.) The solo ride allows you to tailor your pace to your fitness level on that specific day, so that you can actually make better training gains than going hard, burning out, and riding the bus might offer.

No matter what, riding the bus back is in now way a shameful option. If you are riding for yourself to begin with, then when you no longer feel like riding ... why keep riding? You have nothing to prove to others, except maybe that you are smart enough not to hurt yourself trying to prove things to others.

Personally, I would ride the route solo, in sections, and see if I could work up to the whole distance over time ... but maybe that is not the right approach for anyone else.

(By the way, for those discussing "injury": When I push my heart too hard for too long, I feel pretty sick inside, sometimes for several hours afterwards. I have read people postulating that in that case, what I have done is done minor damage to my heart, actually caused muscle tearing and scarring on a very small level, and each time I do that, I lower my overall heart functionality.

I am not sure, but that is a really serious thing to gamble with. I try to back off before I do potential harm. I still push---at my last spin class, according to my HRM, i spent about 20 minutes over 200 bpm (this was an exception--I had an extra cup of coffee which really hurts me if I work out after)---but I am not at all sure that if I push that much, that I might not be hurting myself, so I try to back off and let my HR drop to a reasonable level.

Normally (when I don't OD on caffeine) I keep my HR just below the point where I know i will feel bad afterwards---and if that means parking the bike halfway up a hill or whatever, to me that makes a Lot more sense than trying to macho my way through it.

Anyone who has had that most joyous experience of feeling his heart stop beating---and start again---will certainly never want to go there twice. A torn ligament can be repaired. An entire knee can be replaced---I ride with several people (in the old folks' club) with replacement knees who can outride me with ease. I don't know anyone who can still ride after a major heart attack and after a pacemaker implant.

Yoda is a fictional character, by the way.

Last edited by Maelochs; 04-13-16 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 04-13-16, 05:57 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by jtaylor996 View Post
Trying to decide if I should do a metric century or not that I know damn well is too hilly for me (based on the less hilly one I did Saturday).

Pros/Cons?

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
You guys aren't doing the OP any favors here.

He says he already knows the ride is too much for him and said he struggled with an easier ride of the same length. Telling the guy to ride a ride which he already knows he can't do is pretty irresponsible.

Pride says ride. Humility says train and and then ride. A week and a half isn't enough time to train. Better to train and ride it well then ride too soon and be off the bike with injury.

-Tim-
This was my immediate thought too. I follow a 10 week published training schedule for a Century, even if I’ve been riding my bike a lot to commute.

BTW, what’s your motivation to do this ride, @jtaylor995, instead of using the time for a perhaps more appropriate training ride?
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