Archive for January, 2012

Hoover – Vestavia Hills 10,000ft

Annotated panoramic view from Vestavia Hills Baptist church (click to zoom in and read the captions)

Garmin elevation profile – 60 miles,
10,000+ ft of climbing
Garmin – max speed 57.5mph
(South Cove Dr)

Out of the three 10,000ft rides so far this week (Red Mountain 1200s on Tuesday, South Shades Crest climbs on Wednesday), today was definitely my favorite by far. These are the roads I ride all the time, but usually not all in the same day! The entire route was nearly 65 miles long, yet the farthest point was only 5.2 miles (as the crow flies) from my house with Sulphur Springs/Shades Crest the western boundary and US-280 the eastern boundary of the route. I was toying with the idea of very carefully creating a diabolical route that could climb 10,000 ft in this area without any backtracking or route intersections, but that would have taken some of the fun out of just riding. Instead, I opted not to duplicate any climb. I did end up duplicating the middle part of the Vesclub climb and the final push to the top on Vestavia Dr – but otherwise, these are all different climbs of Shades Mountain in Hoover and Vestavia Hills. I documented them with screen captures at the steepest sections of the climbs – as well as lots of photos (126 photos narrowed down to 61).

First, the topography in this area is just absolutely incredible. And it’s not just because the area is especially rugged, because it really isn’t. Instead, what makes the topography so interesting is the combination of valleys, ridges, AND roads that go up, across, down, sideways, over, under everything! Note that for my route today, all the climbs are either on Little Valley Mountain or Shades Mountain on the SOUTHERN side in either the Patton Creek valley or the Little Shades Creek valley … so notably missing are some local favorites: Smyer, Berry, Big Bertha (W Oxmoor), and Hwy 31, which all start on the Shades Creek valley (different from Little Shades Creek). On the side I did ride, I somehow missed the Patton Chapel climb past Simmons.

Hoover – Vestavia Hills topocreator map, annotated Click the map for a medium resolution version, or click here for a super hi-res version (10.2 MB)

Now, onto the climbs and the photos. I’m going to do a Garmin screenshot from a climb and then follow it up with one or more photos that were taken on that climb – but first…

All ready to go … lots of water leftover from the heavy rain yesterday.

South Cove neighborhood (but not south cove). The Garmin screenshots are taken near each other, with the second one just past the skid marks in the photo.

The first climb up Shades Mountain was from the low point near Patton Creek on Al Sier Rd all the way to one of two high points on Shades Crest Rd – this one near Crest Lane. The pictures from the top are captioned here (you can also just hover over each pic for a caption) – 1) Shades Mountain Ballpark – I played baseball here from T-Ball to Junior High. 2) Looking towards the steep part of the climb on Shades Crest Rd. 3) Looking up at the steepest part of the climb – this is a busy road! 4) Took this pic to keep the camera from going into sleep mode while I was discreetly getting ready to take the next picture with the neighbors standing in the yard as I rode by. 5) Reminder that we do live in the South, even in Birmingham. Confederate flag. Alabama flag. Two other flags? Vote for Ron Paul. 6) The high point of the climb at the intersection of Crest Lane.
Shortly after the crest of the climb, you reach an interesting intersection which is a hub of activity. A long time ago, there was just Lover’s Leap and the antique store. Now there is also a very popular restaurant – Tip Top (aptly named). Hover over each picture for a caption.

The next climb up the mountain started out next to the Green Valley golf course (at the Patton Creek bridge) climbing back up to Crest Lane – the same high point as the previous climb. Near the middle of the climb, I heard a hawk calling out overhead and then heard a response from a different hawk. I looked up and saw these two hawks flying together. It was really cool so I took a bunch of pics. But before I saw the hawks, I crossed several full creeks as I criss-crossed the mountain. Each creek creates a mini-roller coaster as annotated in the first picture. In the second picture, you can look ahead through two different creeks and see the hills that are created. After the hawks, I turned around to finish the climb up to Crest Lane and caught up with the van at the stop sign to take the picture of the slogan across the back. Plus, I took a picture of the narrow rough road at the end of the climb.
At the top of Crest Lane, I turned right again and took a few more pictures near the Tip Top Grill. There is one of the choo-choo train antique store called “On a Shoestring” antiques, and there is also an interesting historical sign talking about the origin of the area as a popular resort for some sort of springs at the top of the mountain. Then I took one of the small access roads off of Alford Avenue to get back up to Shades Crest Rd before descending down Hackberry (one of six 50+mph descents today).

After the descent down Hackberry. It was time to really hit the climbing – starting with Jacobs Rd – Mountainwoods.
Instead of descending all the way back down into the valley, I headed back up over Columbiana Rd (after taking the last two pics from the previous photo set) and down into the valley that separates the two ridges at the summit of the mountain. Hurricane Branch is the name of the creek that runs through the middle where it joins some of the other creeks that form the headwaters of Patton Creek. The elevation gain from the creek to the summit is about 200-250ft on the southern ride and 250-350ft on the northern ridge. Today, I noticed a gate that was normally closed on an access road off of Blue Ridge Blvd was open – so I went down it and found a very muddy creek crossing. I started there and went up to one of the summits on the northern ridge on Shades Crest Rd – and lo and behold it was long and steep enough to be a Strava Cat 4 climb – so I actually discovered a new climb today in an area that I have literally ridden tens of thousands of miles. After that climb, I descended back down a different road to this valley between the ridges and climbed up the Old Creek/Indian Hill climb which is also a Strava Cat 4 climb – but one that I do all the time on my commute home from work. The Garmin screenshot is from the Old Creek climb — and the photos are from both climbs (the first two are associated with the new climb, and the next four go with the Old Creek climb).

After these climbs, I did the crazy Vestavia Forest speed reflector dodging descent followed by a diversion across Hwy 31 to Little Valley Mountain where I climbed up and over via 20+% Gay Way, turned around and then came back up 25% South Cove Dr. Below the Garmin screenshots, I have included an annotated photo of the descent showing the approximate max speed spot and where you have to brake to keep from crashing. Also, I have a picture taken at the top which shows the blind curve where you have maybe 1/10th of a second to decide whether it’s a “go” or “no go” on the descent. Sometimes you just have a bad feeling and hit the brakes. Sometimes you see a car pulling out of a driveway or at the cross street and hit the brakes. Or sometimes you see cars parked alongside the road and you hit the brakes. But if it is completely clear, then you tuck and accelerate from about 40mph up to 60mph in only two or three seconds. It would be interesting to calculate what percentage of free-fall skydiving acceleration this descent is … my rough guess would be 25-50% … i.e, you are accelerating at a rate equivalent to 25-50% of simply jumping off a cliff. In other words, this is a really, really dangerous descent. CLICK EACH PICTURE TO ZOOM IN.


Panorama of the Vesclub roller coaster descent. While we are talking about descents – here is a panoramic photo showing a descent that causes an interesting Garmin phenomenon. This is the middle part of the Vesclub climb – but if you come back down at close to 50mph and then make the hard right turn up the 18-20% gradient where I was standing when I took the pictures that make the panorama, then you can achieve a 3 second vertical acceleration of greater than 10,000 ft/hour upwards simultaneously with a 30 second vertical acceleration of greater than 10,000 ft/hour downwards.

Before I could descend down Vesclub – I first had to get over to it and climb it. From South Cove Dr, I headed across Panorama and down Limerock Rd past Vestavia High School into Rocky Ridge to do the longest/steepest climb of the day — Vestavia Dr from Little Shades Creek. This climb has well over 800 ft total gain and several sections with gradients approaching 20% and one section with gradient above 20%. I got Garmin screenshots of the first three sections of the climb, but missed the steepest one by the golf course. These are the pictures I took on the way up, across the top, and then on the way back down.

After the descent, I headed across to Dolly Ridge, climbed back up to Smyer Circle and Vestavia Dr via Caldwell Mill Rd (the portion of it that is north of I-459). On Caldwell Mill, I heard another hawk very loudly crying and I looked up and spotted him in the tree above me. When I made it up to Smyer Circle, I stopped at the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church overlook and got the Panorama shown at the very beginning of this extremely long post. Then I descended down stopping along the way at Vestavia Falls. So I’ll end this post with a thank you if you read all the way to here and these two pics (of the hawk and the waterfall)

Beautiful red-tailed hawk
Vestavia Falls

January 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

South Shades Crest climbs

Overview map showing the entire Shades Mountain ridge line highlighted in red (click to zoom in)

Complete Shades Mountain topography annotated (click for super-hi res 12MB version)

Shades Mountain is one of my favorite mountains in Birmingham. After climbing 10,000 ft on Red Mountain yesterday (Tuesday), I didn’t want Shades Mountain to feel left out so today (Wednesday), I climbed 10,000 ft mostly on the southern portion of Shades Mountain out towards Bluff Ridge. I live at the bottom of Shades Mountain and commute over it every day to work (during the school year). The topography of the mountain is really intriguing. The part of it closest to where I live is a double-ridge mountain thanks to a creek that cuts down through the middle of Vestavia Hills and on over into Bluff Park. Plus it runs for about 60 miles starting a few miles south of Tannehill and running northeast to Springville where it ends in an interesting series of ridges (lots of them). All along the 60 mile length of the mountain, there are probably several hundred ways to climb the mountain.

Today, I headed to the southern portion of the mountain and did some climbing and photographing of the steep neighborhood access roads. The ridgeline is very narrow at its southern end dropping off steeply on either side with South Shades Crest road running along the top. Within the past 10 years, a number of neighborhoods have been built in the valleys on either side of the ridge. These neighborhoods all have steep access roads coming off the ridge down into the neighborhood. Plus, South Shades Crest road itself eventually turns into Bluff Ridge Rd and dives off the mountain towards Bessemer crossing two smaller ridges. If you turn around at the bottom and go back up to the main ridge, you traverse what is called the “Triple Climb”. At the top you can make a quick right left to hit Co Rd 1 which is a nice 50+mph descent … turn around at the bottom and you have a short steep 10% cat 4 climb back up the ridge.

Still tired from yesterday’s ride on Red Mountain, I had decided to go easy on all the climbs and get pictures of everything … but later in the ride I started feeling better so I decided to try and set a KOM back-to-back double (KOM on one side of the mountain, turn around and KOM coming back up the other side). I couldn’t quite do it, but I did hit a new power record on the Triple Climb (see screenshot below).

New power record – 336 watts for 13’10”

Here are the climbs annotated with Garmin Screenshot and photo for each climb (except for Triple climb which doesn’t have a photo) -

60 miles of riding on Shades Mountain – this screen capture was taken just after descending back down from Bluff Park on the same route that I had taken on the way out. Here is an annotated view from on top of Bluff Park looking along the south shades mountain ridge line (annotated with thin red line) … The climbs described below all come off of this ridge line on either side.
Note – this Garmin screenshot doesn’t have anything to do with the photo. The screenshot was taken out near the horizon behind and slightly left of Ross Bridge 73 degF in January – are you kidding me??? This is supposed to be our coldest month of the year! This photo is a view of the Ross Bridge golf resort from Bluff Park … Ross Bridge is interesting topographically as it sits atop its own “mountain” – look for the yellow raised area below Shades Mountain on the topo map.
Silver Lakes climb (18% max gradient near the top). Silver Lakes climb in the distance up to South Shades Crest
No screenshot for this climb! But I think it maxed out at about 17%. This is by far the fastest descent though, because the average gradient is 13.4% for 3/10ths of a mile with a good run-out although you definitely have to trust your tires as you lean into the sweeper at the bottom at max speed (53.3mph yesterday). It is not off-chamber, which helps. Long Leaf Lake descent/climb
Sterling Lakes climb – only 15% max, but it hits this at several spots and averages 11.5% for the 1/2 mile long climb. Annotated view of the mountains southeast of south shades crest – this is the view from near the top of the Sterling Lakes climb
Timberlake climb – this is the craziest (but not fastest) descent with an offchamber sweeping turn at the high speed spot. Timberlake climb – photo taken at the off chamber high speed spot towards the bottom
Bluff Ridge 2nd climb (i.e., the middle climb of the “Triple Climb”) – this max gradient is at the bottom. No photo here – I was trying to set the KOM
Shelby Co Rd 1 climb – steepest part is near the middle. Shelby Co Rd 1 descent towards the top, the steep part is also slightly curvy beyond the ford explorer in this pic and just to the left of the trees … max speed 51.0 mph yesterday – but this was into a headwind you can usually hit 53 on this descent.
Co Rd 52 (Morgan Rd) climb … this road is really busy – not a recommended climb … max gradient maybe 50m after passing by Co Rd 93. Co Rd 52 (Morgan Rd) climb back up to South Shades Crest

Ross bridge parkway
One more pic from the day – power line trails next to Ross Bridge parkway – I used to go mountain biking on these trails with friends while I was in high school. Fun times!

January 26, 2012 at 10:25 am 2 comments

Red Mountain 1200s – revisited

After riding out to see firsthand yesterday’s tornado damage, I decided to go climb my favorite spots on Red Mountain that have an elevation greater than 1200ft because I spent a lot of time yesterday looking at the topo maps of the far northern end of Red Mountain near Chalkville and Clay. I call all of these spots the “Red Mountain 1200s”, and I wrote about them just over a year ago when I climbed them in December 2010.

Complete ride map Strava data here – http://app.strava.com/rides/3582434

I pieced together these panorama photos I took on Shades Mountain looking towards Red Mountain. The labeled spots are all the places I crossed Red Mountain on my ride today. The 1200 ft spots are Ruffner Mountain (#5), St Vincents East Water Tower (#6), and Turncliff (#7). Ruffner and Turncliff each have two different 1200 ft summits for a total of 5 different 1200+ summits on the ride.

Part 1 – Red Mountain ridge crossings annotated – the 1200ft spots are #5, #6, and #7 on the northern end of the ridge which starts out from higher elevation (i.e, the whole valley is uplifted in that direction). This picture is taken from the Vestavia Dr high pt on Shades Mountain.

Part 2 – Red Mountain ridge crossings annotated – the 1200ft spots are #5, #6, and #7 on the northern end of the ridge which starts out from higher elevation (i.e, the whole valley is uplifted in that direction). This picture is taken from towards the bottom of Vestavia Dr on Shades Mountain.

Birmingham annotated along with the mountains northeast of Birmingham … this picture was taken on Crest Ln on Red Mountain

So I wasn’t planning on going hard, but I knew that there were ton of steep climbs. As I got farther into the ride, I realized that trying to “go easy” was pretty much pointless because the terrain was either straight up or straight down pretty much the whole ride. I started out with a new climb up the Vestavia Forest ridge using the road that Jacob Tubbs had posted to Strava the other day. Then I took one of my favorite routes through Homewood to my first crossing of Red Mountain by the WBRC42 radio tower … this route involves climbing through a couple alleys, one driveway, a radio tower, two tree crossings and the Vulcan trail.

Then I headed down the mountain part of the way towards 5 points south before climbing back up towards the Vulcan before veering onto Warwick Dr to finish the second crossing of Red Mountain. I headed back down via a 49mph descent of Woodcrest before climbing back up via the 16th ave south alley with its super steep gradient including one section that might be close to 30% if you take the inside part of the switchback.

Google Maps streetview image of the 16 ave so climb up Red Mountain … this is the unrotated version giving you an idea of the angle the Google Maps car was at when it took this picture

I descended again off the mountain over by Altamont before climbing back up again via Clairmont / 58th and then descending again at 49mph on Southcrest. I headed over to Oporto Madrid Blvd which could be better known as the “Ruffner Mountain” bikeway since it is the easiest way to get from Crestwood over to Ruffner Mountain. Technically, Oporto Madrid also crossed the Red Mountain ridge, but it is so low that I don’t really count it.

Finally, I made it to the first of the Red Mountain 1200s … Ruffner Mountain starts out with a gradual climb on Rugby before the grade really kicks up on 81st all the way to the Nature Center where you can hop a curb onto a somewhat paved trail up to the old firetower. From the nature center to the firetower averages 12% for 1/2 mile with a few short sections well over 20%. My original plan was to head back down the mountain past the nature center and take an alternate road in the valley to get back to the next crossing, but instead I decided to explore the trail across the top of the mountain, which I had never done before. It switches from paved to double track as soon as you turn right off the firetower. Then the double track turns into a dirt single track which takes you down very steeply to a saddle between the two 1200+ ft summits. The second ridge was way too steep (20-30%) and rutted for me to ride with the wet conditions from the rain from the thunderstorms yesterday morning so I just ran up the whole thing (maybe 1/10th of a mile). Once you make it to the water tower on top of the second ridge, there is a dirt / gravel access rd that descends very steeply to the Observatory Rd neighborhood.

From Observatory Rd, I descended down into South Roebuck before climbing back up to the St Vincents East hospital. There is a cement access ramp (see pics at the end) with a gradient well over 30% that leads onto a gravel rd which eventually turns into a leaf covered double track 16-18% climb to the water tower which at 1275 ft is the highest 1200+ ft summit that is accessible by bike (that I know of) on Red Mountain. Turning around at the top so as not to disturb the person working on the radio tower, I headed back down to the hospital and descended the other side towards Trussville. Just before you cross under the interstate, you can turn left into a really odd (but extremely cool) neighborhood called “Turncliff”. What makes this neighborhood really cool is that there are no houses until you get to the somewhat flattened summit of the climb. Along the way there are a few switchbacks and then a rolling section through a kudzu forest (i.e., kudzu has completely taken over). Towards the top, there is a very steep access road to the radio towers that is gated off. You can go around the gate, but you have to dismount and crawl through a narrow opening in the kudzu. Today, however, the gate was wide open so that made it much easier since I didn’t have to remount and start uphill on a 15% gradient. At the top, I turned around immediately and went back down to finish climbing the rest of the way up to the Turncliff neighborhood which is lower than the radio tower summit, but still just barely above 1200 ft. There are some cool 90 degree turns right before you get to the neighborhood … then you finally make it to the neighborhood and there are maybe 15 houses all on the summit of the mountain.

This was the “out” part of my out/back ride so from there I turned around and headed back home – bypassing all the summit side roads/trails but crossing back over the ridges. On the way back, I descended the Valley Hill climb which I think might be the steepest climb in Birmingham at 27% … the Google Maps streetview pictures below are the best I can do to illustrate how steep the climb is. I took some pictures, which are in the gallery but nothing ever looks as steep in a picture.

Google maps streetview image of the Valley Hill climb

Rotated version of the Google maps streetview image of the Valley Hill climb

On the way back home, I ran into Lennie’s friend Aaron and rode back with him from Ruffner Mountain all the way to Cherokee Rd in Mountain Brook … it was fun talking about Leadville with him (he did it in 2009). When I finally made it back, I had climbed over 10,000 ft in a 63 mile ride. Here are some of the pics I took along the way:

January 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm Leave a comment

Chalkville Tornado Damage

Red cross shelter information here: http://newsroom.redcross.org/2012/01/23/press-release-red-cross-assessing-damage-from-severe-weather-overnight/
Donate through the red cross “donate now”
Or I saw a drop-off location for donations in the K-Mart located just off I-59, exit 141, turn left, K-mart parking lot on the right as you are climbing the hill on Chalkville Rd

Tornado sirens went off at 3:30AM this morning … tornado north of us and tornado south of us. By the time I had made a spot in the basement for Kristine and the kids, it was pretty clear that the tornadoes were going to go around us — although the one that I rode out to today veered farther south than the original warning polygon had indicated. I was hoping that I could see the damage path from the ridges annotated in the map because I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way trying to help clean up … but there were too many houses and the valley where the tornado went through was too deep to see anything so I ended up cautiously just riding onto Old Springville Rd which was closed after asking a sheriff if I could make it through without bothering anyone. He said to watch out for the power lines and that it shouldn’t be a problem. Well, I was pretty much bunny hopping power lines for about 1/4 mile. Here is an annotated map showing where I took pictures and my best guess at the tornado path based on the damage I could see on the ground … This is the tornado that went north of Birmingham passing through parts of Fultondale, Center Point, Chalkville, Clay.

Tornado path map annotated You can view my complete ride and then zoom in on the northern end to see streetview and detailed satellite pictures of the area before the tornado by going here: http://app.strava.com/rides/3557123

UPDATE: a better description of the tornado path is listed here – http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=56602 Scroll down to – TORNADO #5 – CENTER POINT TORNADO (JEFFERSON AND ST CLAIR) Based on the description there, I have updated the tornado path to the following:

Updated tornado path based on NWS description

After looking at the streetview and satellite pictures, the damage is much worse than I had originally thought – the first houses have been pushed completely off their foundations. See the comparison photos below which are taken at slightly different angles which I tried to indicate as best as possible.

Aerial view of neighborhood before tornado

Streetview of neighborhood before tornado

Comparison photo after the tornado from as close an angle as I could get to the streetview photo above

Paradise Ln - heavy damage

First view (from water towers)… ridge blocking tornado path

These are the rest of the pictures I took…

January 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm 5 comments

Biking to school

Biking through the snow on our way to kindergarten

This picture from January 2010 is one of my favorite pictures of my kids. They were 3 and 5 years old and BOTH of them would learn to ride without training wheels by spring break of that same year a couple months later … Anyway, we have a giant canvas print of this picture hanging on the entryway to our house. When we picked our house, we knew it was close to school, but we didn’t know that there was a trail through the woods that made it even easier to walk/bike our kids to school. In Davis, California where Analise was born and where I went to grad school there are miles and miles of trails enough to connect every school in the city from just about anywhere in the city.

Yesterday, when I rode out towards Helena I noticed a trail and tunnel near the Helena Middle School – but I was pressed for time to be back in time to meet the kids to walk home from school – so today I went back to explore this cool looking bike trail in more detail (after checking out the satellite photos to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but FOUR tunnels on the trail). And what I discovered is the trail is long enough to connect the Helena Middle School to the Helena Elementary school via the Hillsborough neighborhood – 2.5 miles of trail and low traffic neighborhood streets.

The 2.5 mile bike trail that connects the Helena middle school and elementary school via the Hillsborough neighborhood

I was inspired to post this after reading about the cool stuff that bicicoop is doing in Birmingham and happy to report on a new route for kids to bike to school in Helena. It’s definitely not Davis, but it’s a start! You can see my entire route here and zoom into very good detailed satellite view of the four tunnels here (switch to satellite view) – http://app.strava.com/rides/3482902

January 21, 2012 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

BBL power records

Today’s BBL was quite a ride … Strava marked it in the “Extreme” category, and I set two new power records. Ironically, they both came in the first attack zone where I went too early and got caught in the last 50m before the line. The power map is quite colorful in the attack zones where you can see some of the tactics playing out. Here are the graphs!

New personal power records

BBL power map annotated - click the map for hi-res version

Here is the link to the ride data on strava – http://app.strava.com/rides/3338627

January 15, 2012 at 12:14 am 2 comments

Sweet Home Alabama

Slushy road and huge snow drifts - can you tell which way the wind is blowing from?

It was an awesome trip to the midwest to visit Kristine’s family and enjoy a brief winter vacation, but now it’s back home to sweet home Alabama. Our long road back home started with a 9 hour drive from Shell Lake, WI to La Porte, IN. We went right by Madison, WI where cyclocross nationals is currently being held. It felt weird to be simply driving by such a major cycling event without stopping, but we had to get the kids back for school. There was no snow at all in Madison or anywhere in southern Wisconsin even though we had just left an 8 inch snowstorm in northern Wisconsin. There was also no snow in Illinois, but shortly after crossing the border into Indiana we ran into a pretty big lake effect snowstorm.

We finished the drive pretty slowly on snow covered roads, but made it safely to Kristine’s grandmother’s house in La Porte. It was 11PM and the kids had been sleeping for a while so Kristine went in with Analise first while I took a few pictures of the snow with Josiah still asleep in the car. It was very cold so I only took pictures for a minute and by then Josiah had woken up. So I helped him get his coat and boots on and told him to run to the front door while I got the suitcase we needed. A few seconds later I entered the house and Kristine asked where Josiah was? I thought she was joking at first and then thought he must have gone straight into the bedroom or bathroom. We looked briefly in the house and after not finding him ran back outside calling out for him. I ended up following his footprints in the snow to find him standing in front of the door of the house two doors down from Grandma Vivian’s. It gave us all a big scare for a minute because it was really cold and the wind was blowing 20+mph steady with higher gusts. I guess Josiah was still half asleep!

The next morning we had a 12 hour drive in front of us. I started about 2 hours early on my bike heading south hoping to make it 60 or 70 miles with a nice tailwind, but during the night the wind had changed direction so that is was a nasty side/headwind. I averaged 15mph on very flat roads to give you an idea of the nastiness of the wind. When I left La Porte, I had to negotiate about 1/2 mile of unplowed roads before making it to the state highway which was still slushy and wet, but at least had two clear tracks between the snow. I knew that this wouldn’t last long so I rode my road bike fishtailing through the snow for that first half-mile. Then it was just really wet with an air temp of 15 degF and a constant 15+mph sidewind. This was by far the coldest ride I did during our trip. Also, because of the slow speed I was traveling I didn’t get a chance to make it through the flatlands to the nice hills around the Wabash river basin. Instead, I took Kristine on a drive through those same roads that I would have been riding. There was some really fun hills and drop-offs in the car. The kids loved it!

Here are a couple Garmin screenshots that illustrate how flat the ride was that I did.

Side by side comparison of a flat ride through the farmlands south of La Porte and a small portion of my commute into work yesterday back here in Birmingham. Note the 15.5 degF temp on the left, 7.85 miles into the ride with only 81' of climbing. On the right, I already had 699' of climbing only 3.9 miles into the ride, which was almost the total amount of climbing in my 43 mile ride in Indiana (710').

January 5, 2012 at 10:28 am Leave a comment


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Men's 100 mile podium. New PRs from fools gold nue 100, 10th place male open. Almost time ... love races that start before the sunrise!

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Brian Toone

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Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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