Posts tagged ‘ibike’

Catching up on some epic adventures

Life has been busy and is about to get busier, but I’ve had some pretty crazy adventures I wanted to blog about. These are ordered below based on when they happened, so you can jump to any specific one with these links:

American Flyers | Just a little commute | Grant ups and downs

March 8-9th – American Flyers – Rouge Roubaix

My all-time favorite cycling movie out of the two that I’ve seen is American Flyers. In the opening scene, the lead actor is racing a barge along the Mississippi River. Then he rides into his building and onto the elevator. I do the latter every day on my commute to work, but I’ve never gotten to race a barge on the Mississippi until my Rouge Roubaix pre-ride this year. The race itself was epic as always – read my race report, but man sometimes I think the pre-rides are more adventurous than the races themselves … see Hell of the South exception, though.

Racing a barge on the Mississippi River - I just "American Flyered" my ride.Racing a barge on the Mississippi River – I just “American Flyered” my ride.

One of the ironic things about the Rouge Roubaix race is how close the course is to the Mississippi River, but you can never see the river from any spot on the course unless it is in severe flood stage (see pic below)

Google street-view of the turn onto 2nd gravel. The Mississippi River was at flood stage when the streetview car drove by. During the race, you cannot normally see the river.Google street-view of the turn onto 2nd gravel. The Mississippi River was at flood stage when the streetview car drove by. During the race, you cannot normally see the river. For my pre-ride I parked at the store annotated in the picture.

This was my fifth year racing Rouge Roubaix, but I had never gone out of my way to see the river because my time spent there is usually so short. I wanted to include a trip out to the river in my pre-ride this year. I ended up picking a route onto Cat Island that veered off of the race course shortly after the third gravel section (Tunica Hills). My route plan was about 50 miles, which I thought would give me plenty of time to just cruise through the second and third gravel section. After a late start on the 7 hour drive from Birmingham plus a bit of a challenge figuring out where to park and not upset the locals (turns out I could have parked pretty much anywhere), I only had less than 3 hours of daylight left. Not exactly a lot of time to ride the 2nd and 3rd gravel sections plus the 2nd gravel section again on the return route.

I was enjoying a nice easy pre-ride, but as my brain ticked away at timing calculations I realized that there was no way I was going to finish before sunset. I picked up the pace and realized that I was probably going to be making it to the turn-around point of my ride sometime near sunset. Stubbornly, I decided that seeing the river this year was worth riding in the dark with no light. The next challenge was finding a way to the river. I knew that the road I picked out onto Cat Island swung close to the river, but not until pretty far into the island. The road kept getting muddier from rain and floods (pic below was from the early part of the road where it was still easily rideable … imagine entire short sections of road covered in thick mud), so I decided when I caught a glimpse of the river behind a gate with a short dirt road leading right up to the edge that I had found my entry spot.

Cat Island road - good practice for finding a good line for the rouge roubaix raceCat Island road – good practice for finding a good line for the rouge roubaix race

Dirt double track to the river - barge visible in the riverDirt double track to the river – barge visible in the river

Right after carefully climbing the fence and setting my bike over on the other side, a barge started to pass by on the river. That is when I knew I had to get a pic of the barge. Unsure whether I was going to stumble into a herd of bulls or cows, I took off like a rabbit down the double track to get to the river’s edge and get a pic. The pic at the top is what I was able to get. So in some sense the barge won because it made it past my access spot to the river, but in another sense I won because it was still close enough for me to get a pic!

As you can see from the lighting in the picture, it was near sunset by the time I had finally seen the river. I was taking a slightly different route back to skip the Tunica Hills dirt section, but I still had over 25 miles left to get back to my car parked at Fort Adams. Plus, the very last part of the ride would be the reverse direction of the 2nd gravel section (i.e., backwards down Blockhouse Hill).

Sunset happened before I even made it off Cat Island. By the time I made it out to LA-66, the main road to Angola Prison, it was dark and dangerous (from traffic). I spent most of the 5 mile stretch of road looking backwards ascertaining whether an approaching car was slowing down and/or moving over to pass me. Only twice did it look questionable and both of those happened to be near sections of the road where there was a shoulder so I moved over into the shoulder. When I finally made the turn off LA-66 onto Pinckneyville Rd, I was super relieved even though it was now way past sunset and very difficult to see. Pinckneyville Rd is an interesting chip/seal road that has some really nice sections interspersed with short rough “repaved” or “washed out” sections.

Ironically, the darker it got, the faster I went as I desperately tried to cover as much ground as possible while still able to see the rough sections with just enough time to grab the brakes and roll over them at a non-pinch flat inducing pace. When I made the turn onto the Blockhouse section, I had to rely entirely on the GPS and the fact that I could see a house up on the left to know that I had reached the turn! It was so dark that I could barely see the turn and could not even see the cattle guard. I was wondering if I had made a wrong turn when all of a sudden I bounced across the cattle guard … “yep, I’m good, this is the way”.

The Blockhouse gravel was in great condition, and I knew this from riding it on the way out at the start of my ride. Also, it was a brighter, lighter color because of the sand mixed in with the gravel. This meant that this section was a bit easier than Picneyville Rd to ride in the dark. I could see two things – black and slightly less black which I knew was the gravel road split into a double track. I tried to stay to the left side of the road hoping that I was judging the right spot to end up in the lefthand track. I stopped at one point to try to take a picture of the conditions. These are three pics that I got:

Blockhouse in the dark (with flash)
My iBike and Garmin on Blockhouse (with flash)
Without flash - not even enough light to make ANYTHING out - although my Nokia Lumia 1020 with great low light photography doesn't always auto-detect its settings correctly. If I had manually set the exposure to a couple seconds, this would have been a much better picture.Top – Blockhouse in the dark (with flash). Middle – My iBike and Garmin on Blockhouse (with flash). Bottom – the road ahead without flash, not even enough light to make ANYTHING out. Although this is partially because my Nokia Lumia 1020 with great low light photography doesn't always auto-detect its settings correctly. If I had manually set the exposure to a couple seconds, you would have been able to see the blurry outline of the road.

By the bottom of the Blockhouse Hill, the road turns from gravel to a partial pavement – which was in really bad shape. Fortunately, this was in a small community that had street lights spaced just far enough apart that I could safely make out all the potholes and slowly ride through. They were having a big party at one of the houses, and some of the kids shouted “hey biker dude” or something like that as I biked by. Epic. Adventure. Life.

March 24th – Short commute to North Georgia

Map showing my commute from Hoover, AL to Blairsville, GA in the North Georgia mountains. Click to enlarge and see all the annotations. This is the wall in our basement next to where I do all my work from home. I get to see some of my favorite places in the country in a raised relief map, including the highest points in AL, GA, TN, SC, and NC!Map showing my commute from Hoover, AL to Blairsville, GA in the North Georgia mountains. Click twice to enlarge and see all the annotations. The solid red line is an approximation of my route – the dashed red line at the end is the part that I didn’t finish due to being way slower than expected. These maps are on the wall in our basement next to where I do all my work from home. I get to see some of my favorite places in the country in a raised relief map, including the highest points in AL, GA, TN, SC, and NC!

Kristine bought a groupon for three nights at the Paradise Hills cabins just outside of Blairsville, GA almost a year ago. The plan was for the two of us to go up there sometime in January or February for me to do some pre-riding of the Southern Cross course. Well, life happened and we couldn’t schedule it, so we switched to a back-up plan of going over spring break and taking the whole family. With the Heart of the South 500 mile race coming up, I decided to ride what I thought would be 300 miles from Birmingham to the cabin as a “test ride”. The route looks like it would have been about 285 miles, but I called Kristine in East Elijay and got her to meet me in Blue Ridge, GA when I realized how far behind schedule I was. The plan was then for her to follow me the last 32 miles in order for her to practice her role as support crew chief for the 500 mile race. But when we met each other at the Arby’s in Blue Ridge, there was a much more traffic than I expected. Blue Ridge was hopping. The traffic combined with me feeling tired and the kids trying to stay up until I made it to the cabin made me decide to end the ride early, hop in the car, and drive the last bit with Kristine back to the cabin. The kids were still awake and I got to see them to bed, which was definitely worth cutting the ride short, seeing how excited they were to show me things in the cabin.

That is how the ride ended, but the adventure started about 18 hours earlier at 1:30AM after having gone to bed at 10:30PM the night before. I set my alarm for 3 hours after going to bed hoping to hit two of the magic 90 minute sleep cycles, which seems to fit well with my own personal sleep pattern. By leaving this early, I was hoping to make it to Blairsville before sunset or at least before the kids went to bed. Another benefit of leaving this early is that I would be able to make it through all of Birmingham and surrounding communities long before most people had even gotten out of bed.

I started out doing essentially my normal commute route, which includes the Vesclub climb (at just over 700 vertical feet diff, one of the biggest climbs in Birmingham) so that I could compare it to later climbs on the route. Doing that climb meant I would also be in good position to blast down Hwy 31, continue through Homewood, and climb over Red Mountain on the Red Mountain Expressway without any traffic on the roads. I had two Axiom 200 watt lights, one mounted to the handlebars, and the other mounted on my helmet. I barely needed them riding through Birmingham, but once I made it out towards Trussville/Leeds on Floyd Bradford and Blackjack, lights were essential. The helmet light is great for scaring dogs – perfect for the route I had picked through dog-infested Annie Lee and Blackjack road. Simply put the helmet on highest setting, turn and stare at a dog, and it will stop dead in its tracks completely blinded by the light. As soon as you stop looking, it will normally start chasing again, but it is still better than nothing.

Hwy 11 through Springville was awesome given that there was no traffic – so awesome that as I was flying along the valley I missed the turn to take Washington Valley road towards Walker Gap. I backtracked at the next major road to get over to Walker Gap because there was no way I was not going to do that climb. On top of Walker, traffic started to pick up a bit as the farmers and really far-out commuters had to start driving at about 5AM. I flew down the waterfall descent and when I made the turn in the valley to head over to Chandler Mountain, this was by far the coldest part of my ride. The temp bottomed out around 27 degF but felt much colder given that I was dressed for the entire day with highs expected in the 50s. As it turns out, I was way overdressed for most of the ride given that temps peaked in the mid 60s. At this point of the ride, I was freezing.

80 miles into the ride, I stopped for the first time in Gadsden and ate a full breakfast at McDonald’s. The police officer in line in front of me asked me where I was heading, and later a couple other guys who had eaten breakfast also wondered where I was heading. You could tell with all the equipment I was trying to recharge and all the food crammed into my backpack that I was heading a long distance. It was cold when I went into the McDonalds and already getting pretty hot by the time I left.

I did the very first new road for me about 82 or 83 miles into the ride climbing up onto Lookout Mountain via a rough chip/seal road called “Scenic Dr”. I followed this road all the way along the north edge of Lookout Mountain with two KOM goals in mind – Keener Gap and Flanders Gap. I didn’t know if these were already segments or not, but I was hoping Strava would auto-detect both as Cat 4 climbs. Both of these climbs are from the narrow US Hwy 11 valley floor back up to the Lookout Mountain ridge line. So to get to both of them, I had to first descend off the mountain to each of them.

Keener was paved and had some beautiful rock formations, one house, and a couple of dogs. I went down the descent way too fast for them to bother with me, but on the way back up as I was trying to put in an exactly threshold effort (not too hard, but not too easy either) here they come out of the house in the middle of the one switchback. Fortunately, they were friendly dogs and let me scoot on by. At the top of Keener Gap, I turned left to continue on Scenic Dr, which abruptly turns from chip/seal to dirt and gravel. The climb still continued on for another half mile or so. I really started to get excited about the ride as I was flying up the gravel road laughing giddily at how I’m trying to KOM a climb with miles and miles ahead of gravel in the middle of what I thought at the time would be a 300 mile ride. The road stayed Alabama dirt/gravel (graded and fast) for the next 5 miles to Flanders Gap. I flew down the gravel descent partly because it was really steep and I couldn’t go much slower and partly because it was easy to see good lines. At the bottom, the dirt gravel gave way to some other kind of large gravel that was not easy to ride. I slowed way down to make sure I didn’t pinch flat. I turned around at the train tracks (low spot in the valley) and headed back up to go for the KOM. I drilled it hard and the climb reminded me a lot of the Blockhouse Hill climb in the Rouge Roubaix race.

Unfortunately, neither climb auto-detected even though they were both well within Cat 4 range. I went back and created the segments and after waiting a few days, it looks like only one other person has done the paved Keener Gap climb, and nobody else has done the Flanders Gap climb. I turned around at the top of Flanders and headed back down it again so that I could take Hwy 11 across the valley to Collinsville. I wanted to do the climb out of Collinsville because on the map it had a lot of switchbacks (somewhat rare for Alabama). I was completely surprised by what I saw when I approached the climb from the streets in downtown. The climb was a powerline cut! The paved road switchbacked across the cut 4 or 5 times, putting the grade at a fairly consistent 10% and closer to 15% in the switchbacks.

At this point I needed to cut across Lookout Mountain and down the other side to head into Georgia. If I headed any farther north on Lookout Mountain, I would have gotten back into some really cool roads I’ve ridden before – but the eastern crossing of Georgia becomes problematic as there aren’t as many roads that head across the many ridges that run north and south through that part of Georgia. So unfortunately I had to just barely brush by one of Alabama’s Hidden treasure – Little River Canyon. I ended up doing a super fun descent from a firetower down to the entrance to the canyon – a national monument called Canyon Mouth.

I took a short break here before heading on some really awesome valley roads (Co Rd 58 and Co Rd 41) northeast through Cherokee County. Somewhere through here I crossed over into Georgia and continued on a northeastern track eventually reaching Summerville, Georgia. After a quick lunch at Subway, I headed back out towards the Narrows Picnic Rd (Hammond Gap) knowing that this would be dirt – Google street view car turned around exactly at the transition to dirt. It turns out that this was the roughest road of the route. I didn’t have any problems on the climb, but on the long descent I had to go slow or run the very likely possibility of pinch flatting AND cutting my tires. We’re talking ruts and large granite rocks sticking out of the ground.

Up to this point in the ride I had felt great, but after going so slow for so long and letting my heartrate dip too low, I suddenly realized that I was tired. Looking back at my heartrate data, I never did get my heartrate back up to what it was before that descent. The route between the bottom of the descent to Dalton started to pick up some heavy traffic including after school traffic, so even though it was some beautiful scenery – being tired and dealing with a lot of cars doesn’t make for a fun ride. One highlight was a smaller road just before the start of the Pinhotti climb. That climb was very steep and VERY busy with traffic. Fortunately, there was a nice clean shoulder to ride to the top. I debated about just heading on down the mountain, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to climb all the way up to the towers. This dirt climb is the final descent on the Snake Creek Gap mountain bike time trial course. It was a blast to climb (and clear!) on the road bike, and not too bad coming down either.

Dalton was a traffic disaster as I hit it during rush hour. Even with a stop for dinner at Arby’s, traffic was still bad at about 6PM as I made my way over to Fort Mountain on GA-52. What a nasty road. Drivers were all pretty courteous, no honking or throwing things, but they passed you close, definitely not 3 feet. As soon as I left the town of Chatsworth, the traffic immediately disappeared. The climb up Fort Mountain was beautiful and mostly deserted. There were a few fast motorcycles, but you could hear them coming from a long ways away. I stopped and chatted briefly with three of the riders I caught up to at the overlook near the top. I did the climb pretty slowly, but was surprised that at 215 miles into the ride not to be struggling with cramps or any other problems.

I was hoping for a long 35+mph downhill for miles and miles, but instead the descent was very punchy with half-mile climbs and only lasted a few miles. After bottoming out, the road started climbing again. The sun had set a while ago so I put my lights back on and called Kristine to let her know I was running way behind schedule. This takes us back to the beginning of the post where she met me in Blue Ridge and instead of following me for the last 32 miles, I decided to just call it a day and ride in the car back to our cabin for the next few days. 253 miles instead of 285, but I got everything I needed to get out of the ride in terms of prep for the 500 mile race, and I also had quite the adventure!

After this ride, I took Tuesday off and then had two more fun adventure rides Wednesday and Thursday. Here are a few pictures from those adventures.

Family atop the Brasstown Bald lookout tower. I beat them to the top, but I did have a 3.5 hour head start.Family atop the Brasstown Bald lookout tower. I beat them to the top, but I did have a 3.5 hour head start. Wednesday.

View of the Woody Gap climb from standing below the firetower at the very top of the mountain. Click to enlarge.View of the Woody Gap climb from standing below the firetower at the very top of the mountain. Click to enlarge.

March 29-30th – Grant ups and downs – Hell of the South weekend

As I mentioned earlier, this year’s Hell of the South was extra epic, but Mark Fisher and I tried to outdo it the next day by conquering all 11 ways up the Grant plateau plus 4 additional climbs on the way back including one of the steepest climbs in Alabama for a grand total of 15 Huntsville Cat 3 climbs. Some of the climbs are rated Cat 4 based on where the segment starts, but they all have enough vertical diff to be made into Cat 3 climbs using a slightly different starting or ending point along our route. Huntsville has the perfect topography for hard training – lots of flat roads punctuated by 2-3 mile super steep climbs. This also makes for some fun descending. Check out that amazing topography in the two maps below. Double-click (or click once to load the large image and then click again to zoom your browser into the image) to see all the details and mountain names.

11 ways to climb the Grant plateau (click to enlarge, click twice to zoom really far in)11 ways to climb the Grant plateau (click to enlarge, click twice to zoom really far in). The climbs up Grant are numbered.

11 ways up the Grant plateau plus the rest of our ride11 ways up the Grant plateau plus the rest of our ride. All the climbs are numbered starting with the Green Mountain climb, then all 11 ways up Grant, followed by Blowing Cave, Tony Wilmur Trail, and finally Cecil Ashburne. Click to enlarge. After your browser downloads the image, click it again to zoom in and see the details.

I am working on a separate blog with a catalog of the 11 ways up grant plus the bonus climbs of Green, Blowing Cave, Tony Wilmur, and Cecil Ashburne, but I have a feeling it might be a while before I can finish it. So I’m just going to put in a teaser here with the Green Mountain front-side climb, the Swearengin climb, and the Blowing Cave climb (quite possibly one of the steepest paved climbs of measurable category in Alabama).

GREEN MOUNTAIN - FRONT SIDE
Dist:        1.87 mi (0:14:36)
Climbing:     886 ft
          Min   Avg    Max
DFPM Pow   81  270.6   391  W
Gravity   -16  231.2   354  W
Speed     5.2    7.7  13.7  mi/h
Elev      578   1026  1468  ft
Slope    -0.4   9.04  19.2  %
Caden      49   67.1   109  rpm
HR         95  143.5   158  bpm
NP:288W IF:0.98 TSS:24 VI:1.06
3/30/2014 8:06 AM 40 degF; 1022 mbar
SWEARENGIN CLIMB
Dist:        1.61 mi (0:12:17)
Climbing:     640 ft
          Min   Avg    Max
DFPM Pow   19  246.9   385  W
Gravity   -48  201.2   372  W
Speed     4.9    7.9  14.3  mi/h
Wind      0.0    8.1  24.0  mi/h
Elev      591    887  1244  ft
Slope    -1.0   7.70  19.4  %
Caden      30   66.0    99  rpm
HR        112  142.1   157  bpm
NP:267W IF:0.91 TSS:17 VI:1.08
3/30/2014 11:41 AM 62 degF; 1020 mbar
BLOWING CAVE (COMPLETE CLIMB)
Note: I was super tired and weaved up the climb.
Dist:        1.73 mi (0:14:04)
Climbing:     751 ft
          Min   Avg    Max
DFPM Pow    0  251.5   451  W
Gravity  -387  202.8   417  W
Speed     3.3    7.4  19.4  mi/h
Wind      0.0    6.5  25.9  mi/h
Elev      725   1122  1470  ft
Slope    -7.3   8.28  23.6  %
Caden      34   60.2   112  rpm
HR        120  141.2   157  bpm
NP:282W IF:0.96 TSS:22 VI:1.12
3/30/2014 3:06 PM 65 degF; 1019 mbar
BLOWING CAVE - STEEP CAT 4 section only
From a 2013 ride when I went straight up the climb.
Dist:        0.29 mi (0:04:06)
Energy:      74.7 kJ
Cals Burn:   71.4 kcal
Climbing:     300 ft
          Min   Avg    Max
Power     187  303.6   398  W
Gravity   189  284.2   372  W
Speed     3.1    4.3   6.8  mi/h
Wind      0.0    2.4   7.1  mi/h
Elev       27    187   329  ft
Slope    13.2  20.23  26.8  %
HR        141  149.0   155  bpm
NP:311W IF:1.05 TSS:8 VI:1.02
2/10/2013 10:03 AM 51 degF; 990 mbar

iBike data for the Green Mountain front side climb (click to enlarge)iBike data for the Green Mountain front side climb (click to enlarge)

iBike data for possibly Alabama's steepest Cat 4 climb - note the >20% average slope (click to enlarge)iBike data for possibly Alabama’s steepest Cat 4 climb – note the >20% average slope (click to enlarge)

iBike data for the Swearengin climb up to the Grant plateau (click to enlarge)iBike data for the Swearengin climb up to the Grant plateau (click to enlarge)

April 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

BBL iBike Newton+

Cahaba river pedestrian bridge behind the ballfields (plus iBike Newton pic)Cahaba river pedestrian bridge behind the ballfields (plus iBike Newton pic)

Baseball skills assessment collageBaseball skills assessment collage … Josiah was scheduled for his tryouts at 2:45 … I rode 102 miles and arrived at exactly 2:42, but he had gone early because it was starting to rain. Fortunately I was able to catch them in the parking lot before they left.

Yesterday my new iBike Newton+ arrived, and so I ran through the basic setup to get up and running for today’s BBL ride. I still need to do my on-the-bike calibration ride, but looking at the numbers both during the ride and afterwards – the iBike Newton+ seems to be delivering pretty reliable power numbers even without that extra calibration step. We had a small turnout for BBL with a number of riders out for a variety of reasons — including the cylocross world championships up in Louisville, Kentucky. Still, we had a great time on the Kelly Creek – Tunnel – Wall – Mountain Top loop.

Once I get my Quarq fixed by SRAM I’ll be able to explore some of the more “wind tunnel” advanced features of the Newton. In the meantime, I’ve made a video and highlighted the data for each of today’s attack zones organized as follows – video first, attack zone data next, and attack zone graph last. I did this for all three attack zones / KOMs which I happened to take a clean sweep of today!

STERRETT ATTACK ZONE (1st place)
Dist:        2.77 mi (0:06:57)
Energy:     138.1 kJ
Cals Burn:  132.1 kcal
Climbing:     186 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  331.3  1049  W
Aero        0  264.9   774  W
Rolling    27   45.7    66  W
Gravity  -657    1.3   482  W
Speed    14.2   24.0  34.5  mi/h
Wind     13.5   23.2  37.1  mi/h
Elev      448    499   571  ft
Slope    -6.4   0.02   9.1  %
Caden      33   85.7   111  rpm
HR        139  162.4   184  bpm
NP:379W IF:1.28 TSS:19 VI:1.15
CdA: 0.328 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 2/2/2013 11:20 AM
43 degF; 1061 mbar

iBike graph for the sterrett attack zone (click to enlarge)iBike graph for the sterrett attack zone (click to enlarge)

VANDIVER KOM (1st place)
Dist:        1.79 mi (0:07:21)
Energy:     152.3 kJ
Cals Burn:  145.6 kcal
Climbing:     498 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power     180  345.4   642  W
Aero        0   58.2   211  W
Rolling    18   27.9    43  W
Gravity    25  253.2   387  W
Speed     9.5   14.7  22.4  mi/h
Wind      4.4   14.1  23.2  mi/h
Elev      565    822  1064  ft
Slope     0.4   5.18  11.8  %
Caden      60   76.9   100  rpm
HR        141  170.8   180  bpm
NP:352W IF:1.19 TSS:17 VI:1.02
CdA: 0.328 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 2/2/2013 11:45 AM
45 degF; 1060 mbar

iBike graph for the Vandiver KOM (click to enlarge)iBike graph for the Vandiver KOM (click to enlarge)

MIMOSA ATTACK ZONE (1st place)
Dist:        2.32 mi (0:06:07)
Energy:     135.6 kJ
Cals Burn:  129.7 kcal
Climbing:     241 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  369.5   957  W
Aero        0  236.7   851  W
Rolling    20   43.5    75  W
Gravity -1043   60.9   768  W
Speed    10.8   22.8  39.4  mi/h
Wind      0.0   21.2  37.9  mi/h
Elev      607    669   748  ft
Slope    -9.5   0.80  14.6  %
Caden      57   82.0   104  rpm
HR        122  165.6   181  bpm
NP:406W IF:1.37 TSS:19 VI:1.10
CdA: 0.328 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 2/2/2013 12:08 PM
48 degF; 1059 mbar

iBike graph for the Mimosa attack zone - annotated (click to enlarge)iBike graph for the Mimosa attack zone – annotated (click to enlarge)

COMPLETE RIDE
Dist:      104.76 mi (5:51:38)
Energy:    4063.1 kJ
Cals Burn: 3884.5 kcal
Climbing:    8491 ft
Braking:   -226.0 kJ (-5.6%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  192.6  1049  W
Aero        0  130.8  2294  W
Rolling     0   34.1    93  W
Gravity -2481    1.5   778  W
Speed     0.0   17.9  48.8  mi/h
Wind      0.0   16.1  52.5  mi/h
Elev      408    706  1107  ft
Slope   -19.9   0.02  18.9  %
Caden       0   81.8   130  rpm
HR         68  133.6   185  bpm
NP:247W IF:0.84 TSS:409 VI:1.28
CdA: 0.328 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 2/2/2013 8:28 AM
44 degF; 1063 mbar

February 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

BBL iBike data and videos

Fun day today at the BBL. I mainly wanted to put a post up with my iBike data for those of you curious about the iBike. I’ve highlighted the attack zone data below first – along with a video for the Sterrett attack zone and the Vandiver KOM. I forgot to turn the video back on for the Mimosa attack zone. The format for the post below goes like this: 1) data 2) graph 3) video. Then I’ve got the data and graph for the entire ride at the end.

Sterrett Attack Zone (1st place)
Dist:        2.64 mi (0:05:53)
Energy:     119.1 kJ
Cals Burn:  113.8 kcal
Climbing:     121 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  337.3   767  W
Aero        0  264.7   830  W
Rolling    33   51.5    70  W
Gravity  -632    9.7   481  W
Speed    17.2   27.0  36.5  mi/h
Wind      8.2   20.5  36.0  mi/h
Elev       77    126   182  ft
Slope    -6.0   0.11   7.9  %
Caden      47   86.8   107  rpm
HR        123  158.7   182  bpm
NP:366W IF:1.32 TSS:17 VI:1.08
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 2:52 AM
48 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Sterrett attack zone - I ended up winning this one after covering Mark's attack on the final hill and then taking off before the swarm led by Jeff Fuller, Jim Brock, and Darrell O'Quinn could catch back up to us. This one shows clearly when I was drafting and when I had my nose in the wind (not often)iBike graph for the Sterrett attack zone – I ended up winning this one after covering Mark’s attack on the final hill and then taking off before the swarm led by Jeff Fuller, Jim Brock, and Darrell O’Quinn could catch back up to us. This one shows clearly when I was drafting and when I had my nose in the wind (not often) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Vandiver KOM (2nd place)
Dist:        1.72 mi (0:06:31)
Energy:     134.6 kJ
Cals Burn:  128.7 kcal
Climbing:     458 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power     175  344.2   642  W
Aero        0   51.1   300  W
Rolling    23   30.2    39  W
Gravity    49  260.0   482  W
Speed    11.9   15.9  20.5  mi/h
Wind      3.0   12.2  27.6  mi/h
Elev      199    451   660  ft
Slope     0.8   4.92  10.9  %
Caden      54   83.5   113  rpm
HR        151  180.3   185  bpm
NP:358W IF:1.29 TSS:18 VI:1.04
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 3:16 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Vandiver KOM - you can see where the climb flattened out and I had trouble finding a gear that would hold that I could still keep up with Mark - couldn't do it and he rode away from me to take the KOMiBike graph for the Vandiver KOM – you can see where the climb flattened out and I had trouble finding a gear that would hold that I could still keep up with Mark – couldn't do it and he rode away from me to take the KOM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Mimosa Attack Zone (3rd place)
Dist:        2.56 mi (0:07:08)
Energy:     126.5 kJ
Cals Burn:  120.9 kcal
Climbing:     236 ft
Braking:     -0.0 kJ (-0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  295.5   793  W
Aero        0  189.1  1560  W
Rolling    16   41.2    79  W
Gravity -1889   27.9   571  W
Speed     8.5   21.6  41.6  mi/h
Wind      0.0   17.7  44.6  mi/h
Elev      221    302   375  ft
Slope   -14.2   0.39  12.0  %
Caden       8   84.4   123  rpm
HR        105  151.1   177  bpm
NP:338W IF:1.22 TSS:18 VI:1.15
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 3:37 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Mimosa Attack Zone - I was having problems with a stiff link on my chain so I ended up setting a max cadence of 124 RPM when I finally found a gear that would stick ... still held on for 3rd in the sprintiBike graph for the Mimosa Attack Zone – I was having problems with a stiff link on my chain so I ended up setting a max cadence of 124 RPM when I finally found a gear that would stick … still held on for 3rd in the sprint – CLICK TO ENLARGE

iBike data for the ENTIRE RIDE
Dist:      103.94 mi (5:58:22)
Energy:    3781.5 kJ
Cals Burn: 3615.2 kcal
Braking:   -174.7 kJ (-4.6%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  175.9   793  W
Aero        0  117.9  2724  W
Rolling     0   33.2    95  W
Gravity -2123    1.6   603  W
Speed     0.0   17.4  50.1  mi/h
Wind      0.0   14.6  54.3  mi/h
Elev       77    347   823  ft
Slope   -16.5   0.03  19.1  %
Caden       0   81.3   134  rpm
HR         71  132.0   185  bpm
NP:231W IF:0.83 TSS:415 VI:1.32
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 1/26/2013 8:35 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

BBL 2013-01-26 iBike graph for the entire ride - note the addition of the gear ratio graph -- pretty cool to show you when you switched gears.BBL 2013-01-26 iBike graph for the entire ride – note the addition of the gear ratio graph — pretty cool to show you when you switched gears. – CLICK TO ENLARGE

January 27, 2013 at 1:03 am 3 comments

Tornado anniversary and return of the iBike

A lot going on in the cockpit ... video camera, iBike, and Garmin.A lot going on in the cockpit … camera, iBike, and Garmin.

This is my last week off before the start of the spring semester at Samford, so I wanted to get in at least one more long ride. I’m riding my Scott Addict right now because the Trek is down for the count with a crack in the frame. Because I switched bikes to my Scott, I could re-mount the iBike again (the Bontrager stem on my Trek is far too thick for the iBike mount to fit). The only problem is that when I went to mount the iBike, I discovered I was missing a screw for the mounting bracket … a quick trip to the local hardware store with the iBike and a screwdriver in my back pocket and I was able to find the right screw.

In my opinion, the absolute best thing about the iBike is its ability to measure gradients quite accurately — much more so than the barometric pressure calculated gradient from the Garmin. The iBike has an internal gyrometer/accelerometer which can calculate gradient based on immediate changes in pitch, unlike the Garmin which requires motion and change in air pressure to calculate gradient based on the change of elevation over time. The ability of the iBike to measure power is a secondary benefit … and not too bad either compared to all the other power meters I’ve owned. You do have to get it calibrated correctly, but that is a one-time setup step which is supposedly eliminated on the new iBike Newton.

Excited about the iBike, I wanted to measure the gradients on the Emerald Lakes climbs which I discovered over Christmas and rode again a couple weeks ago on the way out to Skyball. I’ve posted videos below where I am calling out a small selection of the iBike gradient readings (it updates itself about every second, but I’m only calling out readings every few seconds). The front side climb Cat 4 climb (from the Lake) has the steepest pitch topping out at 30.4%, but the 20+% section is much shorter than the 20+% section on the backside Cat 3 climb. The descent back down the 30% section is dangerous. I was trying to be conservative and still hit 53mph (last video). I’m glad I was trying to be conservative because any faster, and I might very well have ended up IN Emerald Lake.

Red tailed hawk flying above its nest in tornado damaged neighborhood.Red tailed hawk flying above its nest in tornado damaged neighborhood.

When I was planning out the return route, I noticed that the climb up to the top of the Summit Pointe neighborhood off of Tyler Loop road would probably be an auto-detected Strava cat 4 climb. The picture of the hawk above is just below the summit of the climb. I was trying to maximize climbing on the ride so I created a route through that neighborhood up the climb not realizing that I would be doing the ride on the 1 year anniversary of the Chalkville EF-3 tornado (just under EF-4) which went through a corner of the neighborhood. I came to the realization that it was the 1 year anniversary late in the video below as I was narrating the damage still visible a year later. Click the “youtube” button to watch this on youtube, and you can jump to specific parts of the video using the video bookmarks in the description area below the video.

Finally, here is a photoshop – annotated view of the iBike data from the ride. I was concerned with the cold weather that the iBike battery might not make it the entire ride so I cut it off after the Vesclub climb and didn’t turn it back on again until I got up to Trussville.

ibike graph annotated for the emerald lakes rideibike graph annotated for the emerald lakes ride (click to enlarge and read the annotations)

iBike statistics - Emerald lakes ride (partial)
Dist:       77.57 mi (5:12:38)
Energy:    3691.5 kJ
Cals Burn: 3529.1 kcal
Climbing:    8806 ft
Braking:   -609.4 kJ (-16.5%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  196.8   692  W
Aero        0  120.6  2982  W
Rolling     0   19.2    68  W
Gravity -4009    4.0   548  W
Speed     0.0   14.9  53.1  mi/h
Wind      0.0   15.3  55.9  mi/h
Elev      -14    454   865  ft
Slope   -24.0   0.08  30.4  %
Caden       0   72.8   126  rpm
HR         79  131.3   165  bpm
NP:226W IF:0.81 TSS:345 VI:1.15
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 8/14/2011 2:25 PM
52 degF; 1013 mbar

A few notes about the data … the climbing total is quite a bit lower because it’s missing 23 miles of the ride and the iBike is applying smoothing (either in the software or via how the barometric elevation sensor is recording) and doesn’t pick up all the rollers in its climbing total that the Garmin does. Also, the distance is short because I turned off the iBike to save battery after the Vesclub climb and didn’t turn it back on again until Trussville. Also, the “168 lbs” in the statistics at the bottom is my weight plus the weight of the bike plus weight of clothing, etc…

January 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm 2 comments

Dothan Cityfest 2012

Race summary
17th place after missing the winning break of 8. Kenda, Mountain Khakis, UHC-Georgia, Team Coco’s, and Rosetti brought their top crit riders. Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s) won the race from the breakaway by attacking on the last lap and holding on until the end. Emile Abraham (Rosetti) took the sprint from the rest of the break for 2nd with Brendan Cornett (Locos) taking an impressive 3rd to round out the podium after bridging up to the break by himself. Kenda and Mountain Khakis also had riders in the break so they were not chasing. Andy Crater (Cleveland Clinic) tried to bridge across twice late in the race and could not quite close the gap. I tried to go with several early moves thinking that an early break would stick. It seemed that the race was too fast for any breaks to stick. I started sliding backwards after a 20 minute section with a heartrate average of 182 bpm (several beats above threshold) that started 10 minutes into the race. I recovered after a few laps, but unfortunately the winning break went at this point. I tried three different times to bridge across and/or get a chase group started, but the field brought the move back fairly quick each time. Then as the laps ticked down I switched tactics to try and position well for the field sprint and I was happy with how the field sprint played out as it felt a lot like the last couple laps of the Sunny King criterium which is coming up in a couple weeks. I ended up 9th in the field sprint for 17th in the race.

The data
No powertap data for the race, as I had a loose spoke on my rear powertap wheel and switched to my light climbing wheels (2006 Bontrager 3X Lite) which are still pretty good for crits b/c they accelerate so easily. Still, I raced with my iBike and merged the iBike data with my Garmin heartrate data to obtain the annotated polar graph shown below. The iBike graph shows where I was drafting pretty clearly.

Annotated heartrate summary (two new yearly heartrate records so far this year – most time in Zone 5 for a race and highest max heartrate of 195bpm)

Heartrate and ibike power plot annotated (click to enlarge)

Annotated ibike data (click to enlarge)

Finally, here are some pics and videos that Kristine got. The picture after the videos is my favorite … looking for the magic entrance into the side of the building

Analise and Josiah look for the magic entrance into the side of a building while scootering in the parking lot

April 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm 2 comments

Spring climbing

After yesterday’s long climbs in Huntsville, today was a different style of climbing – numerous short, steep climbs. Check out the iBike gradient graph:

Numerous climbs – click to enlarge and count the changes in gradient from up to down and then post in the comments how many “hills” there are. I don’t have time to count but I would guess 100-200 hills instead of maybe 20-30 hills yesterday?

Also, I was inspired while riding through Mountain Brook to post some pictures of the beautiful spring flowers. I didn’t have my camera with me – so I’ll have to post a few of the pics from my parent’s house this past Sunday. Imagine riding past house after house with all different kinds of blooming flowers – particularly azaleas, dogwoods, and bradford pears. It was an interesting contrast to yesterday’s ride in Huntsville, which went through some really rural countryside where instead of the tended flowers, you get wildflowers in the fields and beautiful dogwood trees blooming underneath all the really tall pine and hardwood trees in the woods. Two contrasting climbing rides, two contrasting spring flower explosions, two fun adventures.

redbuds, azaleas, and a couple dogwoods

March 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

Climbing to the moon

Annotated ride map (click to enlarge)

It’s spring break this week in Alabama, and so my good friend Lennie and I took our families up to Huntsville to the space and rocket center. While they were enjoying exploring all about space, Lennie and I drove on over to Keel Mountain to explore it and Green Mountain. We ended up climbing Keel Mountain 3 different ways and Green Mountain from both sides. Then I headed back up the front side of Keel one final time. The descents were awesome hitting 55mph+ on four different descents. My favorite of the day was definitely the Green Mountain west side descent which has a horizon drop-off (i.e., where you can’t see over the horizon) at >50mph. Exhilarating. It was REALLY flat though between the mountains, but it was worth it to enjoy time riding with Lennie and to explore 5 new climbs! I’ve posted the iBike data for each of the five different climbs. The last climb up Keel (Blowing Cave Rd) was by far the steepest at 26% max gradient, although the east side of Green Mountain was steeper for longer sustained sections.

Annotated iBike data for the entire ride (click to enlarge)

KEEL MOUNTAIN NORTH SIDE (1st time up)
Dist:        1.61 mi (0:13:31)
Energy:     208.8 kJ
Climbing:     837 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  257.4   527  W
Gravity   -22  231.0   509  W
Speed     0.0    7.2  21.9  mi/h
Elev      469    896  1306  ft
Slope    -0.3   9.71  16.8  %
Caden       0   62.5    93  rpm
HR        104  150.3   163  bpm
NP:264W IF:0.95 TSS:20 VI:1.03
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 11:36 AM
90 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: We passed a HOUSE on the climb that was being pulled 
up the mountain. They got stuck in one of the switchbacks. 
There are two switchbacks on the climb. The descent is crazy
fast - you've just got to remember when to jam on the brakes
before the two switchbacks.
KEEL MOUNTAIN SOUTH SIDE
Dist:        1.90 mi (0:15:27)
Energy:     217.0 kJ
Climbing:     855 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  234.1   442  W
Gravity  -275  205.4   419  W
Speed     3.6    7.4  19.1  mi/h
Elev      479    938  1332  ft
Slope    -4.4   8.39  22.8  %
Caden      34   61.6    98  rpm
HR        110  140.3   156  bpm
NP:245W IF:0.88 TSS:20 VI:1.05
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 12:12 PM
87 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: This was a pretty steep climb. The 22.8%
max gradient was taking a diabolical inside path
on one of the switchbacks. This had a lot more
twisty sections and was a generally fun climb, but
tricky descent. The best part of the descent is 
at the top as you are coming off the mountain
as the descent starts out with a switchback 
that makes you feel like you are diving off
the top of the mountain for a free-fall.
GREEN MOUNTAIN WEST SIDE
Dist:        1.15 mi (0:11:07)
Energy:     169.5 kJ
Climbing:     690 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power      76  254.1   371  W
Gravity    11  232.4   360  W
Speed     4.2    6.3  16.7  mi/h
Elev      462    805  1158  ft
Slope     0.2  11.20  23.9  %
Caden      41   56.1    96  rpm
HR        120  150.8   166  bpm
NP:263W IF:0.95 TSS:17 VI:1.03
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 1:19 PM
92 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: I've heard that this is one of the toughest
climbs in Huntsville. It was definitely steep with some
sustained 20+% gradients. At the last turn before the top
there was a car that had rolled and looked like it was left
there to warn people of the danger of the descent. It 
had police tape all over it with busted out windows. The
descent was amazingly fast but kinda dangerous. The 
car that had rolled was in a decreasing radius turn that
almost caught me off. Then you have a really fast section
into a sweeping turn that you can pretty much hit without
brakes leading into the fastest part of the descent. YOU
HAVE TO HIT THE BRAKES HARD LEADING INTO THE LAST LEFT!
I knew it and hit the brakes hard but I still almost didn't
slow down enough.
GREEN MOUNTAIN EAST SIDE
Dist:        1.82 mi (0:15:25)
Energy:     222.7 kJ
Climbing:     829 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  240.8   358  W
Gravity   -63  209.2   353  W
Speed     3.9    7.1  17.3  mi/h
Elev      458    853  1294  ft
Slope    -1.2   8.88  18.4  %
Caden       5   59.8    92  rpm
HR        103  148.0   164  bpm
NP:253W IF:0.91 TSS:21 VI:1.05
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 1:45 PM
87 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: I had climbed this once before, and it is still
really steep. It starts out with cement that has been
grated at the bottom to helps cars get traction. Then
it eases up a bit and rolls a bit on the way up. This
may be one of the coolest descents I've done with 
the rollers coming at 50+mph so that you have at least
one horizon drop-off.
KEEL MOUNTAIN BLOWING CAVE (STEEP!!!)
Dist:        2.19 mi (0:13:30)
Energy:     211.7 kJ
Climbing:     756 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power      89  261.4   431  W
Gravity  -462  206.1   461  W
Speed     3.4    9.7  24.8  mi/h
Elev      563    921  1326  ft
Slope    -6.9   6.40  26.2  %
Caden      30   63.1    97  rpm
HR        119  156.8   177  bpm
NP:281W IF:1.01 TSS:23 VI:1.07
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 2:46 PM
85 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: This was by far the steepest climb
with several sections above 20% including one
26.2% section NOT in a switchback. There
is some gravel and dirt sections that are not
too rough but can catch you by surprise on the
descent. Still, you can get some speed on the
super steep sections because they are fairly
straight. Watch the dogs at the top and the bottom
of the climb/descent.
KEEL MOUNTAIN NORTH SIDE (2nd time up)
---------Selection Stats---------
Dist:        1.61 mi (0:12:29)
Energy:     213.6 kJ
Climbing:     820 ft (Strava CAT 3)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power      64  285.2   418  W
Gravity   -38  253.2   397  W
Speed     5.4    7.8  23.0  mi/h
Elev      561    976  1382  ft
Slope    -0.5   9.82  16.2  %
Caden      51   66.6    98  rpm
HR        131  169.5   179  bpm
NP:288W IF:1.04 TSS:22 VI:1.01
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 3/20/2012 3:15 PM
84 degF; 1012 mbar

NOTES: I wasn't going for the KOM, but I
was trying to put in a good time on this and ended
up 2nd behind Mark Fisher by almost a minute. That
would be a tough time to beat. Kudos to him!

Keel Mountain – north side – first time up

Keel Mountain – south side

Green Mountain – east side

Green Mountain – west side

Keel Mountain – Blowing Cave Rd

Keel Mountain – north side – 2nd time up

March 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm 2 comments

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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:
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Heart rate:180 bpm
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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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