Posts tagged ‘climbing’

2011 Six Gap Century

What a fun experience to ride the Six Gap Century 15 years after I first rode it in 1996. Fifteen years ago, there were about 200 riders assembled at the North Georgia College campus gymnasium to head out of town to tackle six mountains. On the very first climb, we rode from a sunny valley up into the fog and I still remember thinking maybe this is what it feels like to climb L’Alpe du Huez. Fifteen years later, yesterday, thousands of riders assembled at the North Lumpkin Co High School parking lot to tackle the same climbs. I’ll write up more about how the ride went yesterday and post a race report from the crit Saturday night later, but I wanted to go ahead and post all the data from the ride. As a quick summary, I ended up crossing the line together with Jimmy Schurman (Chemstar) in a few minutes over 5 hours after Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) flatted on the Unicoi Gap descent taking him out of our three-man group established halfway up the first climb (Neels Gap). Click on each image below for a zoomed in view, all graphs are smoothed at 30 seconds from Golden Cheetah:

2011-09-25 Six Gap heart/rate power data

INTERVAL/POWER DATA SUMMARY IN THE IMAGE BELOW:

2011-09-25 Six Gap interval summary

2011-09-25 Annotated Six Gap power map

2011-09-25 Neels Gap power/heartrate data

2011-09-25 Jacks Gap power/heartrate data

2011-09-25 Unicoi Gap power/heartrate data

2011-09-25 Hogpen Gap power/heartrate data

2011-09-25 Wolfpen Gap power/heartrate data

2011-09-25 Woody Gap power/heartrate data

September 26, 2011 at 10:24 am 6 comments

Sassafras Mountain

South Carolina mountains annotated

My grandmother died on Saturday, and since we were already in South Carolina when we found out, we decided to stay here until the funeral on Wednesday. Today I went for a ride up Sassafras Mountain that brought back lots and lots of memories. The last time I did this ride in the middle of the summer was with my roommate and teammate from Clemson University, Bert Hull. We did the ride in the middle of summer from 10-3PM on what was probably the hottest day of the year. Well, here we are close to 15 years later and I pretty much did the same ride again today from 10-3PM on an incredibly hot day (see temp graph below) -

Sassafras Mountain ride with temperature and elevation – annotated

I have climbed Sassafras a few times in the past few years, but always on our fall break trip, never in the middle of the season. I chose a route that was similar to the route that Darol Timberlake and I used the very first time I ever climbed Sassafras. I just spent a few days at Darol’s house while racing in Charlotte so that was special, too. Even though I was kinda tired from the 5 day omnium that ended yesterday, I thought I would try and hit the Sassafras climb hard. Well, I did the Beasley Gap climb pretty hard (304 watts for 14 minutes) on the way out there and pretty much decided after that the rest of the ride was going to be pure survival, including the climb up Sassafras.

The Sassafras descent, however, was up for grabs and I hit a new speed record (62.5mph) on the freshly re-paved road.

Chimney Top descent to Rocky Bottom

I may have gone faster on the descent, but Jeremiah Bishop smoked me on the climb by 2mph. I was pretty much in survival mode, though, on the climb after overreaching on the Beasley Gap climb.

Finally, here is a map with some of the more popular climbs in the Greenville area highlighted.

Sassafras area map with a couple popular climbs annotated

August 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm 5 comments

1,000,000 ft on the way into church

1,000,000 ft route – click to enlarge – climbs annotated

Elevation profile for today’s commute to church (click to enlarge)

On this ride into church this morning, I reached 1,000,000 ft of climbing for the year. I marked the map with a red X where I think I was at the time. I guess I must have been missing climbing while I was racing in Wisconsin because during this week I have set the following milestones:

* New shortest distance for 10,000 feet of climbing (52.3 miles)
* New shortest time for 10,000 feet of climbing (3 hours and 35 minutes)
* New weekly climbing record – 55,849 feet over 360 miles
* Plus, reaching the 1,000,000 ft mark for the year (measured from Jan 2nd)

I am winning the Studio Velo KOM competition on Strava, and here is a screenshot of the current standings showing me crossing the 1,000,000 ft mark.

Studio Velo KOM competition – 2011 results (click to enlarge)

You can see all of my rides for 2011 on one page at this link: http://www.strava.com/komchallenge/brian-toone-2919/results/overall

The return ride after church was very hot – see temperature graph below – it was in the 90s by the end of my morning ride, too.

Temperature graph for my return ride home. VERY HOT!

Here is a screenshot of the weekly climbing leaderboard on Strava.

Strava weekly climbing leaderboard

Here are super-hi res topo maps that I made on topocreator of the route and another one zoomed in on the Double Oak climb.

Topocreator map of the entire route – 40ft contour intervals – click to enlarge (6.6MB).

Zoomed in view of the Double Oak way climb and roller coaster section at the top. Contour intervals are 20ft. Click to enlarge

Finally, if you made it this far in the post, I post all these graphs, stats, etc… because I want to remember these things later, because I enjoy the technical aspects of making the maps, posting the blogs, calculating the stats. It certainly feels like bragging, but that’s not my intention. I figured others might be interested to see details of the rides that I do (especially others not from this area who might wonder how I can climb so much in “Alabama” and people in Birmingham who would like to recreate these adventures themselves or with me – email me, let’s ride!)

July 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm 3 comments

New (not really) monster

Recall the Birmingham Monsters post that I created a few months back. Well, there is a new monster in town! Not really, as I have done the climb several times, but today I grabbed the stats on it so that I could include it with all the other monsters. My rough definition of a monster is any climb which exceeds 20% for some portion of the climb. Also, a related statistic is the Scanuppia Distance (which is the cumulative distance traveled on the climb where the gradient is greater than or equal to 17%, which is the average gradient for what is arguably the world’s toughest climb – the Scanuppia).

iBike data for the Stoneleigh Dr – Oakdale monster

---------Oakdale via Stoneleigh Dr ---------
Dist:        1.78 mi (0:11:04)
Energy:     176.3 kJ
Cals Burn:  168.5 kcal
Climbing:     548 ft
Braking:    -13.6 kJ (-7.7%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  265.5   508  W
Aero        0   34.3   575  W
Rolling     8   17.6    55  W
Gravity -1149  182.5   467  W
Speed     4.4    9.6  30.2  mi/h
Wind      0.0    8.6  33.0  mi/h
Elev      356    605   864  ft
Slope   -15.6   5.72  27.2  %
Caden      30   70.7   101  rpm
HR        125  143.0   158  bpm
NP 287 W; IF 0.957; TSS 16.9
5/27/2011 11:48 AM
84 degF; 1013 mbar

Here is a table with all the monsters sorted by Scanuppia distance. Note that today’s monster (Stoneleigh Dr) has the highest max gradient of all the monsters.

Climb Distance Climbing Scanuppia Max %
Double Oak Way 3.77 mi 883 ft 0.42mi 23.9 %
South Cove Dr 0.26 mi 229 ft 0.26mi 24.3 %
Hugh Daniel Brae Trail 1.97 mi 614 ft 0.26mi 19.4 %
Southcrest 0.56 mi 299 ft 0.22mi 24.5 %
Vesclub – Vestavia Dr 3.35 mi 793 ft 0.21mi 21.9 %
Woodcrest 1.91 mi 478 ft 0.18mi 21.4 %
Oakdale via Stoneleigh Dr 1.78 mi 548 ft 0.15mi 27.2 %
Montclair (Trinity) 0.38 mi 212 ft 0.13mi 21.8 %
Hugh Daniel Greystone Crest 1.36 mi 371 ft 0.11mi 24.4 %

And here is the topocreator map of the ride I did today with the elevation profile. Note that I did three variations of the Oakdale climb with the Stoneleigh version being the first one. Also, I really enjoyed the Shook Hill climb again today from Rocky Ridge and then climbed it towards the end of the ride for the first time from the Cahaba River in what I called on Strava a “mega stair-stepper” climb.

Topocreator map of today’s ride, which includes the Stoneleigh Dr – Oakdale monster

And here is the annotated elevation profile:
Elevation profile for today’s ride – annotated

May 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

Four weeks later…

So it’s been four weeks since the tornadoes went through Alabama, and I have seen a lot of the damage on my normal commute routes through Cahaba Heights and Vestavia Hills. But yesterday, I rode on Sicard Hollow for the first time since the tornadoes hit. Apparently, the Cahaba Heights tornado traveled along part of Sicard Hollow after it crossed the I-459. Part of the road was still one-lane as they were clearing out the last trees. When I took Kristine and the kids out there before heading out to dinner, we got some pictures and videos of the damage. Portions of the road have lost a lot of trees, but they will grow back!

The ride that I did earlier in the day was awesome. Tons of climbing and even one new climb – from Rocky Ridge across 280 up Shook Hill with 610′ elevation gain and only one downhill. Here is a screenshot of the Strava info … plus here is the link to the Strava stats on the ride – http://app.strava.com/rides/621013

Strava screenshot of the ride

May 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Birmingham 10,000 feet revisited

Strava achievements, 4 personal bests, 3 second bests, and 4 third bests

Today, I incorporated one of my favorite climbs into a 10,000 foot climbing route. Rouge Roubaix was a long hard race on Sunday, and I took Monday almost completely off (1.9 mile bike ride with the kids). So I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel today. I started out easy, but then when my heartrate soared into Zone 5 on the first climb with what I thought was just a medium effort, I decided to hammer the rest of the ride. I ended up setting four personal best times on climbs, 3 second bests, and 4 third bests.

Heart rate zone summary (25 minutes in zone 5!) and calories burned (3944)

The ride itself was awesome with very little traffic. Everybody must have been out of town for spring break. I guess I couldn’t get enough of the dirt / gravel roads from Rouge Roubaix because I added Cahaba Beach Rd in the downhill direction – very, very similar to the dirt sections of Rouge Roubaix when you ride it in the downhill direction. I normally ride it the other way (uphill). I also added a new climb I have never done before which basically parallels Oakdale and ends at the same spot. The climb begins in a drainage ditch at the bottom of a neighborhood, climbs very steeply at first (>15%) and then rolls its way to the top at an average of almost 7% – shorter and steeper than the Oakdale climb. I did four Cat 3 climbs and one Cat 4 climb pretty much one right after the other at the end of the ride. Whew, that was painful!

Lastly, I snapped both of these photos on the steep climb leading up to Renfroe when my Garmin was getting close to ticking over to 10,000 feet!
Garmin annotated – about to tick over to 10,000 feet.
Purple flowers next to the road at the same spot as the Garmin pic.

And finally the TopoCreator map and Garmin .GPX file in case you want to try this ride yourself! A couple notes of caution – inspired by the photo below from a toy airplane instruction manual – most of the descents are crazy fast and dangerous so use caution and don’t go as fast as I do until you have had a chance to do them as many times as I have (e.g., I have descended South Cove almost 60 times!)

Use lots of caution.

Annotated topocreator map and elevation profile.

Strava link: http://app.strava.com/rides/350727

Garmin GPX: http://topocreator.com/gpx/Double Oak 10K.gpx

March 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

One last monster and a summary of all eight

On my way to the BBL this morning, I had just enough time to head up one last monster – Vesclub to Vestavia Dr. This is also very close to my house with the start of it less than two miles away. My apologies to the BBL folks as I was running about 5 minutes late because of the additional climb on the way over.

The final monster – Vesclub from Little Shades Creek to the Vestavia Dr high point. Click the picture for the medium version or click here to down the huge version. Note on the map how the climb starts in the “blue” lower elevation and goes all the way up to the highest point on the map!

3D view of the Vesclub – Vestavia Dr Monster.

This stair-stepper climb has five or six major sections depending on how you divide it up. You start out and climb from Little Shades Creek onto Rocky Ridge Rd followed by a flat to gently rising gradient to the Tanglewood entrance. Turn left into Tanglewood and the first steep step is immediately in front of you. Take this step and then turn right at the next stop sign to continue climbing steeply up and around the bend. Then you’ll go through a 3-way stop down a short steep hill before hitting the first wall climbing 150ft in less than 0.2 miles! At the top turn right to get a “breather” as the climb continues at close to 10% avg gradient. Then you get a real breather where you can enjoy the view to your right looking across Dolly Ridge towards Meadowbrook, Hugh Daniel, and the top of Double Oak Way just peeking out from behind Hugh Daniel. Enjoy the view because the steepest part of the climb is coming up fast – 0.12 mi @ 17.2% with overall average gradient of maybe 15% for 0.3 miles. At the top, turn right at the stop sign to head straight on over to Vestavia Dr where you climb the last quarter mile at an average gradient of 6.5% all the way to the top where you are rewarded with a great view of Red Mountain, Homewood, and the entire Shades Valley.

First statistic – the Scanuppia Factor (length of climb with avg gradient > 17%)
0.21 mi split into two segments (0.09 mi @ 18.2%, 0.12 mi @ 17.2%)

---- Vesclub - Vestavia Dr ----
Dist:        3.35 mi (0:14:56)
Climbing:     793 ft
Energy:     248.1 kJ
Cals Burn:  237.2 kcal
Braking:     -1.9 kJ (-0.8%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  276.9   504  W
Gravity  -784  198.7   513  W
Speed     3.1   13.5  29.0  mi/h
Wind      9.9   13.0  24.3  mi/h
Elev      414    761  1187  ft
Slope    -7.9   4.31  21.9  %
Caden       9   79.9   106  rpm
HR        137  162.7   178  bpm
NP 301 W; IF 1.084; TSS 29.3

iBike data – check out the wildly swinging gradients.

And finally, here is the summary of all eight monsters sorted by Scanuppia Factor:

Climb Distance Climbing Scanuppia Max %
Double Oak Way 3.77 mi 883 ft 0.42mi 23.9 %
South Cove Dr 0.26 mi 229 ft 0.26mi 24.3 %
Hugh Daniel Brae Trail 1.97 mi 614 ft 0.26mi 19.4 %
Southcrest 0.56 mi 299 ft 0.22mi 24.5 %
Vesclub – Vestavia Dr 3.35 mi 793 ft 0.21mi 21.9 %
Woodcrest 1.91 mi 478 ft 0.18mi 21.4 %
Montclair (Trinity) 0.38 mi 212 ft 0.13mi 21.8 %
Hugh Daniel Greystone Crest 1.36 mi 371 ft 0.11mi 24.4 %

February 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

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Short very hot ride. Cahaba river at the lowest I've ever seen it - at Hoover east ballfields shortly before running over fresh gum and cutting the ride short to clean it off my tire. Today's rollercoaster experiment - 20 repeats with Garmin 1000 forwards and backwards. Movie theater roller coaster (top) and Green valley rollercoaster (bottom).

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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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