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Six Gap Century Training

Old 07-16-19, 11:58 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I've live in North Georgia and have ridden these roads.

I climbed Wolfpen in both directions three times since April.

Hogpen hits 12%. There are lots of short 10% sections on the route. The inside of hairpin turns can be much higher grade but these are not able to be shown on Ride with GPS and are avoidable by riding to the outside of the turn.

Not sure anyone mentioned it but a trainer could be used to simulate effort.


-Tim-
Tim, thanks for the very helpful input.

Regarding your trainer suggestion, my version of that is item #4 in the original post.

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Old 07-16-19, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Hmm, that is very interesting (re: route data). That does change my perspective somewhat. Do you have any idea what the interval is on a RideWithGPS 'route'? Thanks.

I do most of my riding in Moore, Richmond, Montgomery, and Hoke counties. The highest elevation that I have ever seen is 750' and the lowest is 210'. Those 1000' climbs are a bit tough to find :-)

dave

ps. True flatlands would actually make it easier to simulate a long climb, IMHO. In that case a steady, low RPM effort is doable. It is the descent side of rolling hills (like around here) that makes that hard. Around here, pretty much no matter where you ride it is about 1000' of gain every 25 miles.
I believe that the digital elevation database has 30m intervals. I'm pretty sure there's a smoothing algorithm, too, so as others have commented, there will be short pitches. But it's pretty close. Climbing, I watch my Garmin's grade output. It's all over the place when the gradient isn't changing.

We're lucky cyclists out here. There's a very low traffic 1000' climb within riding distance of my house with a 500' up-and-down on the way if I choose.

As was mentioned, hitting the trainer in an 80 cadence gear for a set of 30' intervals at whatever power you can hold is good practice. Some say elevate the front wheel to simulate an 8% grade. I use rollers, so can't do that. There wouldn't be the same crank inertial load as when climbing, but that would sure help with smoothing things up over long efforts. In the Gap, you'll descend for say 3 miles at say 30 mph average, so 6 minutes rest between those 30' efforts. That should suck adequately. You won't know if 30' is right, though. Maybe you're really strong and would only need 20'. In any case you might see what power you should have been using on the first one. 3 big fans.

Thinking some more, you can calculate your interval length by using a speed/power/slope calculator. Go in with your guess at power, use 9% slope say, see what your time is. Bicycle Speed (Velocity) And Power Calculator
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Old 07-16-19, 01:52 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post

4) This one is a bit off the wall. I have a spinner bike with Garmin Vector pedals that I could use to actually do some 20+ minute, 240 watt (to pick a number) pedaling.
Not so off the wall. Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

You better get to work.
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Old 07-18-19, 08:10 PM
  #29  
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Tim's comment 'you better get to work' is interesting to me.

Most of my endurance performance experience is as a marathon runner back in the late 70's and early 80's (I have run 10 marathons). What I learned at the time is that key #1 to training was that you first had to get yourself in good enough condition to do the required training volume - else real training has not yet started. I hit the ground running on that one starting around June 1 (even though I didn't have a goal at that time). So normally I would say that 17 weeks is definitely enough time.

However, this one is different. There is a strength component (the long/steep climbs) that doesn't exist in a typical century or marathon. And I am behind in developing that.

One thing that would definitely help the above is a 32t in the rear. Even the 29t in the rear is 'out of spec' for my RD and chainrings, although it would probably work. But it looks like I could put in a longer cage Campy Chorus RD that would allow me to use a Portenza 11-32t cassette. So I will be talking to my LBS soon about that.

In the meantime I have identified '3 climbs' for training purposes. The long one will take about 15 minutes. It has an average slope of under 2 degrees but, more importantly, pretty much nothing downhill (or even totally flat). So I can at least simulate a 15 minute steep climb on that using 'wrong gearing'. The 2nd is shorter at 4-5 minutes with slopes in the 3-6 degree range for the most part. I think that shorter climbs ridden above my target climbing power will be helpful.

The last one is the easiest to find. And that is to attack every single 'up' that you encounter (and you encounter these almost continuously around here). My sense is that this will also be helpful, even though they tend to be short. And FWIW, I think that I am going to have to be able to do some aerobic/musculature recovery on 6% grades, based on a detailed look at the slopes on the 'proper' RideWithGPS route (thanks, CarbonFiberBoy).

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Old 07-19-19, 10:10 AM
  #30  
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IIRC it was Fred Matheny who prepared for one of the first RAAM rides using the "attack every climb" method. IIRC^2 his team set the record.

Half a dozen years back I did one of the first ACA Blue Ridge supported tours. One of the riders was from Florida. His prep was to go ride the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, turn around and go back, and repeat several times. He did fine on the Blue Ridge Parkway (northern half) and Skyline.

Bottom line, completing the 6 Gap sounds like an achievable goal for you. Go for a ride!
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Old 07-19-19, 12:12 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Tim's comment 'you better get to work' is interesting to me.

Most of my endurance performance experience is as a marathon runner back in the late 70's and early 80's (I have run 10 marathons). What I learned at the time is that key #1 to training was that you first had to get yourself in good enough condition to do the required training volume - else real training has not yet started. I hit the ground running on that one starting around June 1 (even though I didn't have a goal at that time). So normally I would say that 17 weeks is definitely enough time.

However, this one is different. There is a strength component (the long/steep climbs) that doesn't exist in a typical century or marathon. And I am behind in developing that.

One thing that would definitely help the above is a 32t in the rear. Even the 29t in the rear is 'out of spec' for my RD and chainrings, although it would probably work. But it looks like I could put in a longer cage Campy Chorus RD that would allow me to use a Portenza 11-32t cassette. So I will be talking to my LBS soon about that.

In the meantime I have identified '3 climbs' for training purposes. The long one will take about 15 minutes. It has an average slope of under 2 degrees but, more importantly, pretty much nothing downhill (or even totally flat). So I can at least simulate a 15 minute steep climb on that using 'wrong gearing'. The 2nd is shorter at 4-5 minutes with slopes in the 3-6 degree range for the most part. I think that shorter climbs ridden above my target climbing power will be helpful.

The last one is the easiest to find. And that is to attack every single 'up' that you encounter (and you encounter these almost continuously around here). My sense is that this will also be helpful, even though they tend to be short. And FWIW, I think that I am going to have to be able to do some aerobic/musculature recovery on 6% grades, based on a detailed look at the slopes on the 'proper' RideWithGPS route (thanks, CarbonFiberBoy).

dave
That sounds like a good training plan.

The 6-Gap ride is 105 miles, 12000 feet. My rule of thumb is that climbing 200 feet is like riding an extra mile on the flats. So I'd also train for a 160 mile fairly flat route. That's a long day in the saddle.

11-32 cassette


My 34-32 low gear would handle those long climbs that are mostly 10% or less, with some 12% parts. I can mostly stay seated, just standing on the steepest parts and as a relief occasionally during the climb. On moderate grades, I shift a couple of gears harder when I stand up, to keep my cadence in check. The 34-32 handles 6% grades easily, no mashing needed. And I'm often in the lowest gear even on 4-5% grade long climbs, spinning at higher cadences.

I think that longer cage arms are just for allowing more chain wrap, to keep the small-small combo from going slack. I don't think it usually adds more room at the top pulley to accommodate larger cogs? Or you might be able to use the "wolf tooth" longer derailleur hangers that are designed to fit larger cassettes (I never tried one).

I'd try the cassette with your current derailleur and carefully test it to make sure it shifts to and from the largest cogs smoothly. (But if you do need a longer arm derailleur, the chain will need to be longer, too.)

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Old 07-21-19, 02:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
....................The 6-Gap ride is 105 miles, 12000 feet. My rule of thumb is that climbing 200 feet is like riding an extra mile on the flats. So I'd also train for a 160 mile fairly flat route. That's a long day in the saddle............
My 3 Gap rides were 103 miles with around 11,000'.

First ride on my 2013 Propel Advanced SL was in 2015 at age 65 on 3 weeks notice. Typical SW FL riding is 100 miles with 200' so pretty much FLAT. Prepared by riding 53/12 standing for 2 to 3 mile intervals at 15mph to 18mph once every 12 miles on 100+ mile rides. Rode gap with 34/53 and 12/25.

Second year on the Propel I did more standing prep riding. Rode 34/53 but upped to a 12/28. Made it non-stop to top of Unicoi Gap only on the 53. Paid for that stupid self imposed goal with major knee issue riding up Hogpen Gap.

Third year not enough prep time put in plus strength, stamina greatly reduced due to effects from prostate cancer and bi-lateral Orchiectomy. Rear shift cable broke with 8 miles left and it was not pleasant.

No more Gap riding but just rode 141 miles on past birthday with 112 miles Tuesday, 125 miles Thursday and 128 miles yesterday this past week.

Going to try a 3rd Bike Sebring 12/24 Hour next February for 350 miles RAAM.
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Old 07-21-19, 07:25 PM
  #33  
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OldTryGuy, that is pretty impressive. Those climbs on a 34F/25R - pretty difficult stuff. Thanks for the information/perspective.

rm-rf - I am not sure if going to a longer cage Campy Chorus RD buys you only a longer distance between jockey wheels or if that also gets you a bit more clearance. I hope to find out, however.

dave
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Old 07-21-19, 07:42 PM
  #34  
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have you considered adding a power based spin class to your training?
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Old 07-21-19, 08:04 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
My 3 Gap rides were 103 miles with around 11,000'.

First ride on my 2013 Propel Advanced SL was in 2015 at age 65 on 3 weeks notice. Typical SW FL riding is 100 miles with 200' so pretty much FLAT. Prepared by riding 53/12 standing for 2 to 3 mile intervals at 15mph to 18mph once every 12 miles on 100+ mile rides. Rode gap with 34/53 and 12/25.

Second year on the Propel I did more standing prep riding. Rode 34/53 but upped to a 12/28. Made it non-stop to top of Unicoi Gap only on the 53. Paid for that stupid self imposed goal with major knee issue riding up Hogpen Gap.

Third year not enough prep time put in plus strength, stamina greatly reduced due to effects from prostate cancer and bi-lateral Orchiectomy. Rear shift cable broke with 8 miles left and it was not pleasant.

No more Gap riding but just rode 141 miles on past birthday with 112 miles Tuesday, 125 miles Thursday and 128 miles yesterday this past week.

Going to try a 3rd Bike Sebring 12/24 Hour next February for 350 miles RAAM.
Web says no more clearance, but largest cog depends on year of RD. I'd talk to local Campy LBS expert or make some phone calls before I bought anything.
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Old 07-22-19, 12:05 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
have you considered adding a power based spin class to your training?
I have a spin bike with Garmin Vector pedals, so I guess I could do my own class. Where I live is a pretty small place and I doubt that such a class exists. But see option #4 in the original post in this thread.

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Old 07-24-19, 06:24 PM
  #37  
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I have done Six Gap, officially, three times. I have done training rides there many times. IMO, Hogpen Gap is the only really tough climb,and it is major league. Wolfpen is certainly hard as it winds for about four miles, but I know it stays under 10% the whole time. Neel's is long (5-6 miles) but not real steep (6% or so) I'm not sure of the exact gradient of Hogpen, but I do know the climb is seven miles. It has one brief downhill in the middle of the climb and one section of about two miles where I know the gradient doesn't get under 12%. I had a gear ratio of 28, and was glad I did.

I'm 180# so I'm not a climber, but I've done a lot of mountain events such as Mt. Mitchell, 3 State 3 Mountain, and the Cheaha Ultra. I'd rank Six Gap third from those four events as far as difficulty.

I would suggest going to ride the gaps before the event if at all possible. Any given weekend there will be dozens of riders up there riding. I have finished in the top 15-20% in all of the previously mentioned events. I would not even consider going to Six Gap with a 34-29, but I know lots of folks who have. Most are way lighter than I am.
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Old 07-24-19, 08:01 PM
  #38  
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Dieselgoat, thanks for the comments and perspective.

FWIW, I created a route on RideWithGPS that is just the Hogpen climb ( https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30654010 ). Then I found the steepest 2 mile(ish) segment on that route (see attached image). It looks like it maxes out at 12% and averages 9.3%. Still quite tough but more manageable than 2 miles of 12+% (or at least I hope that is what it really is).

dave

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Old 07-31-19, 07:38 PM
  #39  
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Well, it is only money. I just had my LBS order a 11/32t cassette and longer Chorus RD (will also need a longer chain). Training is going OK, but I can tell that I am not at age 70 what I was at age 67 and more training will only take me so far. 3 years ago I might have tried this with a 29 (or maybe even a 27).

And FWIW, starting out on a long ride with a hour of attacking every rise in the pavement that you encounter is a surprisingly tough workout (and hopefully a useful workout for my purposes as well). Time will tell.

dave
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Old 08-01-19, 11:20 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Well, it is only money. I just had my LBS order a 11/32t cassette and longer Chorus RD (will also need a longer chain). Training is going OK, but I can tell that I am not at age 70 what I was at age 67 and more training will only take me so far. 3 years ago I might have tried this with a 29 (or maybe even a 27).

And FWIW, starting out on a long ride with a hour of attacking every rise in the pavement that you encounter is a surprisingly tough workout (and hopefully a useful workout for my purposes as well). Time will tell.

dave
That is a useful workout. A similarly tough event out here has a training series that's been running for decades, maybe 100 riders participating in any given training ride. The focus is on increasing total elevation gain and mileage. The climbs are mostly shortish and steep, 100'-200', the idea being that one can't take a short steep climb moderately. One must turn the cranks. This encourages lactate removal, recovery, and climbing strength. Works. That said, personally and as a geezer, I prefer to train on long steady climbs approximating the event climbs.
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Old 08-04-19, 08:18 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
That is a useful workout. A similarly tough event out here has a training series that's been running for decades, maybe 100 riders participating in any given training ride. The focus is on increasing total elevation gain and mileage. The climbs are mostly shortish and steep, 100'-200', the idea being that one can't take a short steep climb moderately. One must turn the cranks. This encourages lactate removal, recovery, and climbing strength. Works. That said, personally and as a geezer, I prefer to train on long steady climbs approximating the event climbs.
I missed this post somehow. 100 riders in a single training event. I cannot imagine such a thing on open roads. I am a quite reclusive biker so it would not be me in there :-)

And to see how things are going see Seat Post Seized . I never expected to run into this as a training issue. But I have done some simulated climbs on my spinner bike equipped with Vector pedals - OTOH, I am woefully short of long rides at this point.

dave

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Old 08-23-19, 07:06 AM
  #42  
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I just thought that I would update this thread, firstly because of a big change where I have ended up with a new bike (Emonda SL6). My attempt to move the nose of my saddle 1/16" (see Seat Post Seized), left me without a bike for 5 days. I am not much of a mechanic so any problem of significance is either days while I fumble around or I am going to end up at the mercy of my LBS schedule. A second bike has real value to me (beyond being a new bike). See OMG - Am I Really Going to Buy Another Bike? . And on the Six Gap ride I will be on a 34F/32R.

I am going to ride the Tour de Moore (local century ride) on Labor Day as a training ride, FWIW. Just seemed like a natural. And I will add one thing that I did not appreciate going into this endeavor. And that is that building strength for long climbs and endurance for century rides really are not the same thing and are (optimally) not done at the same time (as I am basically doing). I started this roughly 16 weeks prior to the event and was thinking that was plenty of time. But I had not recalibrated my recovery time to reflect my age (hit 70 soon).

But if this is a horrible failure (of some kind), it will be on a new bike!

dave

ps. Yes, you can walk underneath these bikes if you are 5' 11" or less!
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Old 08-23-19, 06:23 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I missed this post somehow. 100 riders in a single training event. I cannot imagine such a thing on open roads. I am a quite reclusive biker so it would not be me in there :-)

And to see how things are going see Seat Post Seized . I never expected to run into this as a training issue. But I have done some simulated climbs on my spinner bike equipped with Vector pedals - OTOH, I am woefully short of long rides at this point.

dave
They spread out really quickly, just like on any event ride. I recently did an event ride with 800 people. We always start single file, then pass as the opportunity presents. Most drivers around here are nice. In some areas where meth and pickups are common, not so nice.
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Old 09-22-19, 03:11 PM
  #44  
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Well, it is less than a week and either I am prepared or I am not. Training quantity has been adequate (more on that in a bit) but training for very long climbs has mostly taken the form (mostly) of very aggressively and continuously attacking the continuous 'rollers' that are ubiquitous in this area. So this is much shorter bursts of much more intense than 'long climb power' stuff. We'll see if that gets the job done. I did ride a local century on Labor Day which will probably be helpful.

Probably the biggest mistake that I made is over-training. I think that I did too much 'riding tired' and the past several weeks have been a strict 2 days on, one day off - didn't need that at age 67, but apparently 70 is different.

But WTF is going on weatherwise. Just 2 weeks ago the forecast for the high on ride day (9/29) was mid 70's. I really don't need the weather currently out there ...
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Old 09-22-19, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Well, it is less than a week and either I am prepared or I am not. Training quantity has been adequate (more on that in a bit) but training for very long climbs has mostly taken the form (mostly) of very aggressively and continuously attacking the continuous 'rollers' that are ubiquitous in this area. So this is much shorter bursts of much more intense than 'long climb power' stuff. We'll see if that gets the job done. I did ride a local century on Labor Day which will probably be helpful.

Probably the biggest mistake that I made is over-training. I think that I did too much 'riding tired' and the past several weeks have been a strict 2 days on, one day off - didn't need that at age 67, but apparently 70 is different.

But WTF is going on weatherwise. Just 2 weeks ago the forecast for the high on ride day (9/29) was mid 70's. I really don't need the weather currently out there ...
92 isn't all that hot. Skin-tight thin wicking jersey, shorts. I wear white sun sleeves even on the climbs and a white thin poly skull cap for my mostly bald head. Plenty sunscreen esp. back of neck, knees, top of calves. Keep up with the electrolytes and the water will take care of itself.
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Old 09-22-19, 07:30 PM
  #46  
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92 degrees is hardly impossible, but 'east coast 92 degrees' does not (in my mind) qualify as 'not all that hot'. Then again I am a very heavy sweating type person and fluid uptake is a problem for me 'in the extremes'. 92 is enough for me to normally worry about. But a good portion of the riding will be early (7:30 a.m. start) or at higher altitudes (at least high enough to provide some temp relief) ... so it should be manageable for me.

dave

ps. The Century that I rode on Labor Day saw low 90's temps. I was OK but both close to dehydration and also felt like my stomach was 'sloshing a bit'.
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Old 09-22-19, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
92 degrees is hardly impossible, but 'east coast 92 degrees' does not (in my mind) qualify as 'not all that hot'. Then again I am a very heavy sweating type person and fluid uptake is a problem for me 'in the extremes'. 92 is enough for me to normally worry about. But a good portion of the riding will be early (7:30 a.m. start) or at higher altitudes (at least high enough to provide some temp relief) ... so it should be manageable for me.

dave

ps. The Century that I rode on Labor Day saw low 90's temps. I was OK but both close to dehydration and also felt like my stomach was 'sloshing a bit'.
Good training ride then. Now you know what that stomach feels like. My cure is take 2 endurolytes and drink a few swallows maybe every 5 minutes until I feel it empty. The endurolytes or some similar is important. Stomach wants to be isotonic to perform best. The 3 hour pee test is sure-fire.
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Old 09-23-19, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
92 degrees is hardly impossible, but 'east coast 92 degrees' does not (in my mind) qualify as 'not all that hot'. Then again I am a very heavy sweating type person and fluid uptake is a problem for me 'in the extremes'. 92 is enough for me to normally worry about. But a good portion of the riding will be early (7:30 a.m. start) or at higher altitudes (at least high enough to provide some temp relief) ... so it should be manageable for me.

......dave

ps. The Century that I rode on Labor Day saw low 90's temps. I was OK but both close to dehydration and also felt like my stomach was 'sloshing a bit'.


GOOD LUCK !!! Wishing I was going for another Six Gap but just not in the "health cards" right now. Enjoy the challenge and scenery, avail yourself of the SAG stops, chuckle as you pedal past the SAG stop partly up Hogpen and no faster than 55mph on the way down.

Maybe next year for my 70th.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 09-23-19 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 09-29-19, 02:36 PM
  #49  
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Well, that was ugly. I finished the ride and survived the ride. Somehow I don't feel like 'I rode the ride'.

By almost October standards this day was pretty hot - 70 at the start and the forecast was for a high of 91. It was so humid that after messing around in the parking lot before the start, I noticed that my helmet had dew on it. And I fought dew/fog on my glasses for the first couple of hours.

My climbing target was 220 to 240 watts and going into Hogpen I mostly stayed inside that. But it was hard not to end up (sometimes) well over that target for shorter periods. But I handled the first 3 climbs before Hogpen well in my mind and felt like I was in pretty good shape. But Hogpen is (by my standards) a monster. It just goes on and on, and according to my Garmin 800 (not exactly reliable on tree lined roads) there were lots of not that short segments of 12%+. I stopped at the halfway up the climb rest stop which is kind of an indication that this was not going great. I had no chance at all for any kind of recognition on that KOM climb, but would have been curious (and now the data is obliterated by my rest stop choice).

AND I was beginning to get hints of upper thigh cramps. I am subject to idiopathic inner thigh cramps that tend to show up when I am sitting in my easy chair at home (no correlation with training that I can see). But I had not had one on a bike since maybe 6 months after I restarted my cycling back in 2014. These are a real problem for me on a bike. Once you feel one coming on you have about 3-5 seconds to straighten out and hold your leg stiff straight. Failure is totally debilitating. Flats or downhill, just stand up. But up a steep hill you have to stop. And it is a super bad problem if both legs hit you at the same time as it is just hard to get out of the pedal clips with those cramps coming on. However, I did not have this problem going up Hogpen, although I could feel it (maybe) coming on.

This distracted me enough at the top of Hogpen rest stop that I forgot to restart my Garmin (irritating). Sometime after the descent I realized what I had done.

After the descent (WOW - that is a different kind of experience) there is a lot of mostly flat riding for a while.And this is where the thigh cramps started showing up with great regularity. On at least 3 occasions I simply had to stop on the side of the road to let them 'go away'. At around the next rest stop I did two things. First I drank some pickle juice that they offered. And second I decided that it was efforts above 200 watts that were the culprit. So I rode the rest off the ride pretty carefully staying at or under 200W. And I had no more leg cramps and honestly do not know if it was the scaled back effort or the pickle juice (which I drank at 2 consecutive rest stops).

Along those lines I am wondering if it was the pickle juice. The last 15 miles is net downhill (by a good bit) but it rolls up and down a good bit as well. This is more like my 'home riding' and I found myself frequently 'popping up over the rises' at well over 240W. So maybe it was the pickle juice (or maybe it was the fact that you pop up over these rises in less in a minute in most cases). From a hydration point of view I did not keep track but I had 1 plain (24 oz) bottle of water, 1 bottle with a Nunn tablet, and 3 or 4 as a guess of whatever 'Sports Drink' 6Gap supplies. Plus a couple of half bananas and a couple of fig bars (I don't think that I had a carb/glycogen issue).

The race timer said a tad over 6 hours when I finished. This is not even close so maybe I misread it. I don't have a good accounting on my Garmin (forgot to turn it on at one point) but net time was about 7 hours and riding time around 6:30. This was a VERY tough day. I would not do this again without getting some kind of handle on the cramps issue. I rode a century about a month ago (net 4500 feet of climbing with no long climbs) on a day hotter than today, and no hint of cramps at all.

dave

ps. I have decided to skip spin class tonight :-)

Last edited by DaveLeeNC; 10-01-19 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 09-29-19, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Well, that was ugly. I finished the ride and survived the ride..................ps. I have decided to skip spin class tonight :-)
You finished and that's great!!! No spin class ??? You earned not to spin tonight.
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