Posts tagged ‘climbing’
Today was a really hard ride … no racing this weekend (sadly) since the Barbers race was cancelled this year. So I did a bit of race simulation by picking out the longest climb in the Birmingham area (Pumphouse – Vestavia Dr) and trying to take back the KOM on it. I also picked out two other climbs to hit hard – one before the Pumphouse climb and one after it. The Vestavia Falls to Vestavia Lake overlook climb came shortly after the Pumphouse climb. I had gone hard enough on the Pumphouse Climb to be hyperventilating across the top down to chester and then nearly fall over climbing up chester so I had only barely pulled it together by the time I hit the Vestavia Falls climb. By the top of this third KOM effort for the day, I had so little upper body strength left from pulling on the bars that I felt something was wrong with my wheels/tires because any bump or small gust of wind would knock me a little sideways. I realized later that it was because I had nothing left in the muscles to compensate for the normal riding conditions. Thankfully this only lasted a short ways back down the descent. Still, I was somewhat shell-shocked from the back-to-back efforts, and it wasn’t until I had made it over closer to Bluff Park that I was starting to feel normal again. The rest of the ride was at a much harder than normal tempo to try to minimize total ride time given that today is my wife’s birthday, and we were heading out to the cheesecake factory for a late birthday lunch.
Here are the iBike stats on the KOMs I set today (in order) -
---------Caldwell Mill to Abingdon Abandoned House --------- Dist: 0.78 mi (0:03:33) Energy: 78.9 kJ Cals Burn: 75.4 kcal Climbing: 288 ft (Strava cat 4) Braking: 0.0 kJ (0.0%) Min Avg Max Power 204 370.5 562 W Aero 0 39.2 191 W Rolling 10 17.1 28 W Gravity -2 298.7 520 W Speed 7.9 13.2 21.5 mi/h Wind 0.0 8.4 22.2 mi/h Elev 291 433 560 ft Slope -0.0 6.79 15.6 % Caden 55 73.7 92 rpm HR 106 161.2 173 bpm NP:371W IF:1.34 TSS:11 VI:1.00 CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039 168 lbs; 4/7/2012 11:05 AM 71 degF; 1013 mbar
---------Pumphouse - Vestavia Dr --------- Dist: 4.85 mi (0:16:22) Energy: 335.2 kJ Cals Burn: 320.4 kcal Climbing: 864 ft (Strava cat 3) Braking: -15.5 kJ (-4.6%) Min Avg Max Power 0 341.3 678 W Aero 0 127.6 900 W Rolling 0 23.0 43 W Gravity -971 163.4 667 W Speed 0.0 17.8 33.2 mi/h Wind 0.0 16.3 41.1 mi/h Elev 157 468 853 ft Slope -8.8 2.75 14.8 % Caden 16 77.9 107 rpm HR 126 171.6 193 bpm NP:363W IF:1.31 TSS:47 VI:1.06 CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039 168 lbs; 4/7/2012 11:32 AM 75 degF; 1013 mbar
---------Vestavia Fall to Vestavia Lake overlook --------- Dist: 0.75 mi (0:03:17) Energy: 73.2 kJ Cals Burn: 70.0 kcal Climbing: 274 ft (Strava cat 4) Braking: 0.0 kJ (0.0%) Min Avg Max Power 0 371.6 675 W Aero 0 35.8 321 W Rolling 12 17.7 32 W Gravity -89 317.4 693 W Speed 9.3 13.7 24.4 mi/h Wind 0.0 10.6 27.2 mi/h Elev 416 562 684 ft Slope -2.5 6.96 14.8 % Caden 8 70.6 95 rpm HR 122 170.1 180 bpm NP:392W IF:1.41 TSS:11 VI:1.05 CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039 168 lbs; 4/7/2012 12:07 PM 76 degF; 1013 mbar
The pumphouse climb is the longest climb in the immediate Birmingham area (that I know of). It is just over 4.5 miles long with nearly 750ft of vertical diff from the low point near the Cahaba River to the highest point on the Shades Mountain ridge on Vestavia Dr. There are also two stop lights, three stop signs, and three downhills on the climb so the total elevation gain is well over 850ft. What was really interesting today is that there was a steady, firm breeze blowing from the west and yet I had a tailwind on most of the pumphouse climb which should have been straight into the headwind. The deep valleys in Birmingham sometimes get colder in the mornings than the top of the ridge lines. Then during mid to late morning and even early afternoon, you get an updraft on the hills as the air warms in the valleys and rises. Note in the iBike screenshot below zoomed into the pumphouse climb that there is a headwind on the flats and downhills and a tailwind on the uphills. This wasn’t just erroneous wind readings on the ibike, it was really obvious when you were hitting the headwind and when you had the tailwind.
pumphouse climb annotated map with wind direction
ibike graph for pumphouse climb – annotated
Finally, here is a fun easter picture I got of the kids right after I got back from my ride … happy easter everyone!
THREE easter bunnies
And here annotated garmin screenshots from the ride:
Chasing Josiah up the hill at the end of my ride – wearing @strava bibs and #southerncx jersey
iBike data annotated at peaks (click to enlarge)
Today was an easy day with a big criterium tomorrow in Dothan. I spent most of the ride looking for good hills in the shade to do repeats on. The nice thing about the hills through neighborhoods like Bluff Park and Green Valley is that you can practice criterium cornering using gravity to help you accelerate up to crit speed rather than wearing yourself out trying to punch it up to 30mph to head into a corner. The course tomorrow has a pretty good hill so that will make for a bit of climbing, but I’m likely to be even farther behind Robin who is crushing the climbing over in England. Jeremy in France is catching up with his climbing in the Alps, and Guido from Australia is not too far behind. That’s four riders in three different continents pushing hard in the Strava virtual competition. That’s the beauty of Strava — bringing riders from all over for virtual competition.
Today was quite a combination of rides — hitting a new personal record of shortest distance to 5,000′ of vertical gain on the way into work and then hitting 5,000′ ft again in less than 30 miles on the way home from work. Both rides were pretty slow with lots of weaving on the steep parts and several roller coaster repeats. The best thing about the roller coaster repeats is that they are insanely fast in the 53×11 on the descents and then nearly instantly into the 39×28 — that’s a lot of wear and tear on the derailleurs. No wonder I have broken three front and one rear derailleur in the past year and snapped several cables.
Finally, here are the garmin screenshots:
Well, this makes two weeks in a row of two flats on Sunday. Last week, two flats might have cost me a podium at Rouge Roubaix. This week, I had two flats on the way to church, but just like last week where thanks to a quick change from the motorcycle wheel support, it all worked out just fine. Today’s ride started out really great with the typical Skyland – Dolly Ridge – Caldwell Mill climbing. I was looking for a hillier way to get over to Hugh Daniel and ended up discovering a really cool climb up onto (literally) the Healthsouth Corporate Headquarters helicopter landing pad. Very cool! Then on the fun, fast, twisty descent out the backside of Healthsouth, I pinch flatted on a drainage cover at the back gate. I thought I would practice a quick change, and I thought everything went well, but I flatted again about 5 miles later just before the top of the Hugh Daniel – Greystone Crest climb. The flat was on both sides of the valve stem so it looks like I might not have had the tube in straight after the first flat. I didn’t have any more tubes, but I did have a patch kit. It turns out that my original flat was a snake bite in one location and a small gash in another location. Two patches later I was able to pump up the original tube that had flatted first and continue on to church. Thankfully, I made it because after church the tire was completely flat again. So I just caught a ride over to grandma’s house with Kristine, and we had a nice afternoon together as a family. I’ll definitely take that any day of the week – flat or no flat!
When we got home, I tried to get a picture of the whole near the valve stem when a chipmunk wandered into the view finder literally a foot or so away from me. Then as I was trying to take a picture of the chipmunk eating some nuts, a beautiful female cardinal landed right behind the chipmunk. A little while later another bird landed but I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Here are the pics:
Annotated view of the Big Momma (West Oxmoor Rd) climb
Fun, hard ride today. I didn’t have any particular goal in mind other than steady tempo climbing for most of the ride and a KOM attempt on the West Oxmoor Rd climb (Big Momma). Big Momma is a moderately steep climb that starts out really steep and then gradually gets shallower and shallower as you get closer to the top. I’ve tried at least once to take back this KOM and fell far short. Today, I wanted to give it another go. Along the way I did a lot of steady climbing over in Mountain Brook and Irondale.
Then, as I headed over to Red Mountain I started to get antsy (sp?) to go hard. I hit Woodcrest kinda hard and then as I got closer to the top I felt really good so I drilled it. Crossing over the Red Mountain ridge at the top, I took the Warwick Dr neighborhood cut-through to descend back down towards Five Points South, but I missed a light and turned early onto 12th (I think) and climbed back up the ridge again before heading all the way back down the ridge again into UAB campus. This felt a bit like what I would imagine most of the Tour of Flanders would feel like – climbing up cobbled steep roads and turning around at the top to descend down before turning around at the bottom to climb back up the same ridge line on a different cobbled road. Check out the topocreator map and elevation profile below.
The main difference being that instead of cobblestones in downtown Birmingham, you just get sections of really crappy pavement with potholes, bumps, and rough pavement mixed in with whatever random section of road has been repaved recently and is perfectly smooth. I went hard from UAB all the way up the Red Mountain Water Tower climb – around one of the closed gates (hello cyclocross) and ended up setting the KOM on that climb as well. I’ve updated the annotations on the panoramic picture of Red Mountain that I have posted on a previous ride.
Finally, it was time to head down Valley Avenue over to West Oxmoor and do the climb. By the bottom of the climb I had already climbed almost 8500 ft and set two KOMs, but I was still feeling good when I hit the climb. I started out way too hard and struggled at the top but it was enough to take the KOM. Afterwards I stopped by a Starbucks to get some water after it turns out that the Hoover Burger King has replaced its nice soda fountain with easy access cold water with one of those silly fancy “Mix your own drink” coke machine. I had run out of water just before the Big Momma KOM so I had been out for a little while. The iced cold water from Starbucks though was perfect. I headed back up Shades Mountain through Bluff Park at a much easier pace and ended up running out of water 20 miles later close to home. Hot, hard, fun ride!
Here’s a link to all the interactive data on Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/5334767