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VAM for a Multi-day Haute Route Event

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VAM for a Multi-day Haute Route Event

Old 04-05-21, 11:04 AM
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Cyclefiend
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VAM for a Multi-day Haute Route Event

I am training for the 5-day 2021 Haute Route Dolomites and want to know what a reasonable VAM (Vertical Ascent in Meters) would be for such an event. My goal is to finish well within the daily cut-off, not necessarily place well (60+ Male category).

Does anyone have any experience with this metric, particularly for sustained climbs (> 1 hour, > 5% grade)?
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Old 04-05-21, 03:53 PM
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I added that to my Garmin screen recently. Haven't read up on what to do with it. Watching it for the hills I have here, there is just too much lag. About 3 to 5 seconds going up when I'm actually going down. So I haven't felt it useful.

Is this 5-day thing just about endurance and climbing? Or is there something else to it? If you have HR, then that'll get you a consistent idea what you can maintain for a period of time. So what HR can you maintain consistently without tiring?

Power will be the better thing to go by if you have that.
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Old 04-05-21, 09:49 PM
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I have a lot of experience with the metric. For example, I climbed Mount Venteux in 2:10 minutes with a VAM of ~900. Could I climb Mount Venteux 4 days in a row at 900 VAM? No.

I do not see VAM as anything too interesting to use real time and I use power for pacing climbs. VAM is more interesting post ride to compare one climb to another. The steeper the climb, to a point, the more VAM one will generate. It is hard to generate VAM on shallower grades.
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Old 04-06-21, 07:26 AM
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That's a tough question given the multi day and different nature of each ascent.

I'm no expert in that at all. I guess I'd have to personally work at it from an "inputs" point of view. If I train up to an extent I know I can do XXXX KJ per day over several days and know that my Z2 or tempo power or HR is whatever.......I can then maybe get at how something like that might go.

I've only ever done AOMM, single day of work/climbing that's a bit more a task than a single Haute day. But still only a single day.

If I had to get at that VAM figure I'd find a local hill of shallow, mid, steep grades and go up them at my target power or HR or whatever. Then see how the VAM worked out and extrapolate over the days and climbs of the Haute event.

Oddly, my most elevation in an hour is local doing repeats on a 100 foot hill. I was slower and heavier enough doing the AOMM thing and that climb is 70ish miles into the ride.

My Zwift Alpe time is like 54min. Usually done after already doing the 20ish min KOM climb earlier in the ride. Also, that's with a 39/30 easiest gear at 100% trainer difficulty. If I'm going to ride virtual, I want it realistic. Man that usually hurts something good.

I've lost 10lb in the last 2 months, would be interesting to give it another go.
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Old 04-06-21, 10:18 AM
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Look at the profile and the route information, and you can start to make a good estimate. For instance, Stage 3 (2021 Haute Route Dolomites Stage Descriptions | Haute Route) looks like the toughest, since it's almost all uphill. At the macro level, if you get 7 hours to get to the final summit (I think that'll show up in the rider book later this year), you'll be climbing 3,600 m, or 515 m/hr. Of course, the tough part is going to be the two final climbs. Just eyeballing those, it looks like 2,000 m combined over 35 km. If you can ride 80 km with 1,600 m climbing in 4 hrs, you've got 3 hrs left to climb at 670 m/hr. I'd call that sporting, especially since the grade's not likely to be consistent, with some much steeper pitches than that 6% average.

FWIW, I did a big climb a couple years back at about 2,000 ft/hr with a fairly large group. That seemed to be about middle of the pack. (The downhill on the other side was GREAT!)
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Old 04-06-21, 12:22 PM
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Here's a fun one I stole from GCN show. How much vert can you get doing hill repeats in an hour. Not everyone can do an Everest, or Haute. I think my PR for an hour on the 100 foot hill in front of the house is about 2500ft. No momentum elevation, turnaround at bottom.

https://www.strava.com/activities/4659169148
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Old 04-06-21, 10:56 PM
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Have a look at previous results and look up riders on Strava. You'll be able to see how they performed on the climbs. I looked up a friend who did the 7-day 2015 Dolmite-Swiss Alp route. On stage 5 they were doing a little over 700-800 VAM on 70 min climbs in the 50-59 age group. There were 7 60+ yr olds ahead and 11 behind.
Stage 2 was a little over 800VAM.
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Old 04-09-21, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
I have a lot of experience with the metric. For example, I climbed Mount Venteux in 2:10 minutes with a VAM of ~900. Could I climb Mount Venteux 4 days in a row at 900 VAM? No.

I do not see VAM as anything too interesting to use real time and I use power for pacing climbs. VAM is more interesting post ride to compare one climb to another. The steeper the climb, to a point, the more VAM one will generate. It is hard to generate VAM on shallower grades.
Good to know. So it sounds like its a good goal metric (a value to train to), but not as a pacing metric. Do I have that right?
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Old 04-09-21, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Have a look at previous results and look up riders on Strava. You'll be able to see how they performed on the climbs. I looked up a friend who did the 7-day 2015 Dolmite-Swiss Alp route. On stage 5 they were doing a little over 700-800 VAM on 70 min climbs in the 50-59 age group. There were 7 60+ yr olds ahead and 11 behind.
Stage 2 was a little over 800VAM.
Good idea to look at others Strava data for the routes/climbs. Will do. I was trying to glean this data from the HR handbook and peoples results from the official results page but it is a bit difficult as the start point for some timed sections is not necessarily at the start (bottom) of a climb.
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Old 04-09-21, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclefiend View Post
Good to know. So it sounds like its a good goal metric (a value to train to), but not as a pacing metric. Do I have that right?
It is an interesting metric but not that useful - at least I have not found it useful.
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