Posts tagged ‘kom’
Day 1 – Birmingham to Mt Magazine – 450 miles
We arrived an hour or so before sunset after driving well over 400 miles from Birmingham. The kids were excited to go for a bike ride around the state park loop to go see the sunset at Cameron Bluffs – found cool trail connecting the campground to the overlook. Analise was really brave to ride her bike down a 15% grassy slope. Josiah felt it was quicker just to hop off and run down the slope with his bike. Beautiful sunset (see timer picture below). We had a nice dinner at the lodge and a good night’s sleep waking up to an absolutely amazing sunrise overlooking the valley 2000 feet below. Here is my favorite picture from Mt Magazine:
Day 2 – Mt Magazine 2x plus drive to Bernalillo, NM – 830 miles
Rolling descent down to Paris – zero traffic, turn around in Paris – rolling climb back up, realize running out of time so pick up the pace before the top. Zip back down the other side to the low point before Havana … turn around do just below AT effort on the long climb back up. Very cool climb, short hiking trail at slow speed up to the true summit – cat 1 climb. Lunch at the lodge – 830 mile drive to Bernalillo – arrive at 12:30AM, asleep by 1AM
Day 3 – Sandia Crest plus drive to Grand Canyon – 425 miles
I picked Bernalillo so I could be close to the Sandia Crest climb. The climb started out as beautiful pavement, but then I saw a sign fairly early on that says “unimproved road ahead, local traffic only”. The pavement was great, though, with cool pueblo neighborhoods and fantastic view of the Sandia Crest peak and all the rocky outcroppings for several miles of the climb so I didn’t think much of it – thought maybe it was an old sign … didn’t believe it.
Then I saw another sign that says road closed for winter proceed at own risk. Shortly after that sign the beautiful pavement transitioned into a rocky, dirt road sometimes steep, basically a rouge roubaix style road except continuing on and on forever (7.5 miles of climbing to be exact). I immediately backed off the pace and picked my line very carefully not wanting to flat in such an isolated area. I passed by the entrance to Sandia Cave where there is a picture of a woman next to a sign that said “unsolved murder 1999″. Most of the climb was rocky, but there were several hard-packed non-rocky dirt sections that were fun, absolute beautiful scenery narrow roads. I lost my gps signal a couple times through the canyons.
After 7.5 miles of the dirt road, I emerged onto NM-536 which was nicely paved and had lots of horseshoe switchbacks on the way up to the crest. It was hard to push any harder than 240-250watts. I’m not sure if it was the altitude or the length of the climb? There was a stunning view at the top of the mountains and crags below and Albuquerque stretched out far below. The gift shop is built at the high point with a radio tower armada immediately adjacent. Amazing views.
No way I was going to do the dirt descent, so I headed all the way back down to 536 to the I40 corridor back into Albuquerque where I called Kristine to coordinate meeting her at an exit ramp (#164) from I40.
Day 4 – Grand Canyon – Kaibab National Forest
Woke up early just after the sunrise … rode with the kids in search of the Grand Canyon. I kid you not – we couldn’t find it! It was pretty obvious which way the canyon was, but all the trails that headed that direction (e.g., through the Shrine of Ages) had “no biking” signs. So we headed up towards another lookout but the kids were exhausted by this point, and the hill was kinda steep. I found out later on my mountain bike ride that we only needed to make it to the top of the hill to get to a nice lookout point. So we headed back down to the cafe for breakfast and then the kids walked over with Kristine and her parents to hike to a lookout. They promised me they would take me over there later, and I headed out on a 60 mile mountain bike ride through the Kaibab National Forest.
The trailhead was about 13.5 miles from the campground so I had a bit of riding on the road to do – but there wasn’t too much traffic, and the road was wide. Eventually I made it to the turn off which immediately turned into a dirt forest service road. After about a mile or so, I made it to the Arizona Trail trailhead which theoretically goes all the way down to the border of Mexico. My plan was to ride out 10-15 miles and turn around to get about 20-30 miles of singletrack practice. The trail was kinda cool because it went through different kinds of terrain. It rolled constantly on short ups and downs with only a few longer downhills and uphills. It was mostly non-technical in terms of boulders or roots, but the rocks and dirt on the trail was loose and the turns tight meaning the speed was kinda slow. I’m sure with more practice you could really fly through it.
After about 10 miles of single track I saw a double track road with a sign that said “bike route” so I left the Arizona Trail and headed on the double track which eventually turned into a forest service road. This road alternated between sections that were sandy and others that were quite rocky (basically a flatter version of the skyway epic course). So after another 10 miles of this, I was tired of getting beat up and turned around bypassing the singletrack and instead taking the forest service road all the way back to the main highway.
This time I stopped to climb the cool fire tower, which is no longer used as a fire tower but instead serves as a great lookout where you have an excellent view not only into the grand canyon but also the surrounding area – it was used as a fire lookout at some point in time so you’d expect it to be able to see for miles and miles in all directions – and I was not disappointed.
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:
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
Diabolical double oak climbing profile. Each red box represents a climb/hill of at least 0.25 miles long and average gradient >5%. Each blue box is a downhill at least 0.25 miles long and >5% gradient.
Yesterday was the first day of the Rapha 500 challenge (ride 500km Dec 23-31). I’m hoping to knock out all of it in just four days (85 miles yesterday, 93 miles today including a KOM on the BBL ride, 30-40 miles tomorrow, and 135 miles on Monday riding from Birmingham up to a spot near the interstate in Hartselle where Kristine will pick me up for the rest of our trip up to Wisconsin). Yesterday was also the day that I picked to put in my effort on this week’s Strava KOM shootout climb – Oakdale. My friend Warren St John was back home visiting from New York, and we got in a good short climbing ride on Thursday ahead of a much longer, and more diabolical climbing ride on Friday (yesterday). Basically, I looked at the topo map and tried to direct us to wherever the contour lines were closest together (i.e., the steepest hills I could find). This was all on the way out to the Double Oak Way climb which is 3 miles long with gradients exceeding 20% in several places and maxing out at 25% in one spot. We didn’t finish the Double Oak climb, however, because some hunters or Alabama power workers were at the gate and turned us around. That’s ok, though, because it was still well over 11,000 ft of climbing packed into a difficult 85 miles.
Making the ride even harder, I did my max effort on the Oakdale KOM – 7’07” at an average heart rate of 179bpm towards the beginning of the ride. Here is my heartrate and strava-calculated power data for the climb –
Oakdale KOM heartrate, Strava calculated power, speed, and elevation Here is the link to an interactive version of the Strava data – http://app.strava.com/rides/2848502
And finally, here is the detailed topocreator map of the route.
Scroll to minute 7:30 and watch the Altaloma descent, South Cove KOM climb (at 7:45), Panorama (at 8:06), Renfro Descent (at 8:32), and a second descent down Altaloma (at 8:42).
It all started with my teammate Nichole and her husband Paul posting the following comments on my Facebook page -
Nichole got right to work on it and did a search on Strava to download all the climbs in Birmingham along with the fastest time and number of times ridden. From that selection of climbs, Nichole and Paul narrowed it down to a nice variety of climbs of varying lengths and steepness. I put together a website using the Strava API so that all somebody has to do is copy the Strava URL for their effort on the climb to have it recorded alongside everyone else.
This week’s climb, South Cove Dr, starts less than 1 mile from my house as the crow flies, 1369.4664 meters to be exact. I’ll give it the steepest climb in Birmingham designation given that you can hit nearly 60mph on the descent (and it is only 0.2 miles long). I do know of a few climbs that have higher max gradients, but none of them sustain those max gradients for as long as South Cove sustains its max.
Two more things to emphasize how steep this climb is:
1) As I was doing a max effort on it today, I kept on pulling the front wheel off the ground slightly on every pedal stroke and had to back off on how hard I was pulling on the bars
2) This climb is 1/4th the length of the Pumphouse climb, yet climbs 30 feet higher, and would take longer than Pumphouse with similarly applied power on both climbs
3) Minimum of 385 watts not to fall over through the steepest section (see the ibike data from a ride from February earlier this year and elevation profile below) -
---------South Cove Dr Monster--------- Dist: 0.22 mi (0:02:50) Climbing: 229 ft Energy: 52.0 kJ Cals Burn: 49.7 kcal Braking: 0.0 kJ (0.0%) Min Avg Max Power 226 306.0 403 W Aero 0 10.9 17 W Rolling 5 6.3 10 W Gravity 198 291.0 385 W Speed 3.5 4.8 7.6 mi/h Elev 512 634 740 ft Slope 9.0 18.01 24.3 % Caden 31 41.3 65 rpm HR 132 158.3 165 bpm NP 309 W; IF 1.114; TSS 5.9
South Cove Dr – less than a mile from my house, this climb has the highest average gradient of the monsters.
Here is a 3D annotated view of the climb: contour intervals are 40ft
What a great way to the end season – with the unique group ride / race / kom / party that is the Tour de Cullman. Carson Glasscock does a great job of organizing this every year and put on another great one this year even after the tornadoes in April knocked over every tree in his yard and did significant damage to his house. Driving up from Birmingham, you can still see where several tornadoes crossed I-65 with trees stripped and fallen over in all directions, and there are still a couple tall light posts twisted and folded in half serving as reminders 6 months later.
Enough about that, though, because the atmosphere today at the Tour de Cullman was one of celebration and having a good time. From the traditional parade roll-out all the way to the after-race party, people were laughing and talking. The serious part of the ride is a 16 mile section in the middle ending on the top of Skyball Mountain – a 4 mile climb. Pretty much as soon as the lead moto dropped the flag, Pat Allison put in an attack. It was quickly shutdown, and the group was still together as we made the left turn to tackle the steep 10-15% initial climb. I went to the front and set a fast tempo. By the top, we were down to five riders. Across the top, Pat drilled it and we were down to just three – me, Pat, and Paul Tower.
From that point until the end, it was a three-man team time trial. We traded pace pretty well, but I was saving up in case either of them tried to get away early on any one of the numerous short steep hills on the course. The right turn onto the Skyball KOM climb came much sooner than expected. When we started up the climb, Paul and I continued to work as Pat surveyed the situation. We cruised up the bottom flat part of the climb at a fairly easy pace which didn’t fit into my plans of attacking on the steepest part of the climb because everybody was still fresh.
Nevertheless, going into the lefthand turn onto Fat Dunn Rd, I attacked hard but couldn’t get a gap. I eased up but because the gradient was so steep at this point, we were still pushing well over 300 watts. Then I could see the next really steep section of the climb had actually been turned into a dirt road (they must have stripped the old, cracked, potholed road completely away and laid down dirt/gravel). I decided to attack again, and this time Paul came off the pace.
So Pat and I reached the top together with me in front. Pat kept me in front for the next mile or so before he attacked hard on the dirt road. I lost his wheel and started to chase with him just in front of me. We were flying. My Garmin recorded a top speed of 38mph on the dirt road downhill before the last turn with 200 meters left to go. It was at this turn that I finally caught up to Pat. I knew the finish was close so I went ahead and started my sprint and was able to hold him off to the finish to take my third win in three years.
Pat and I descended down the other side to try out the climb from that side, but this time Pat was able to take the sprint at the top. The group had a huge head start on us for the return trip to Cullman, so we drilled it for pretty much the entire ride back until we caught them just outside of town.
Then it was time for the after ride party and awards. One of Carson’s friends had brought over a portable stone brick oven that he had built and started making pizzas, which were awesome! The lady playing the accordion at the top of Skyball was joined by two people on the guitar, and the beer and cokes were flowing as everybody relaxed and recounted the race this year and races from past years. Awesome.
Here is all the data:
What a beautiful fall day today with temps never even making it out of the 60s! I had set aside today to take back a KOM that is one of my favorites here in Birmingham – the Vandiver KOM climb. So after Analise’s soccer game this morning, I headed out on what would turn into one of the funnest training rides of the year. I started out pretty easy to the point of actually getting passed by somebody on the Dolly Ridge climb. You have to understand riding in Birmingham to know that it is entirely possible to do an 85 mile ride on a Saturday and not see a single other person riding, so to encounter another cyclist less than two miles from my house, and to be passed by that person was a bit of a shock. It took quite a bit of discipline to continue on up the climb at an easy tempo and let whoever it was ride away up the climb.
I headed up Dolly Ridge, did the tornado loop in reverse, down through the Colonnade, out Sicard Hollow to Rex Lake over Bailey eventually to Elliot and up the first of the ridges where the photo at the top of this post was taken a few years ago. I climbed up the steep side of Vandiver at a nice steady tempo, headed down the descent, turned around at the bottom and headed back up to try and break my teammate Paul Tower’s KOM time. I couldn’t remember his time exactly, but I knew if I was close to 6 minutes that I would beat it. I started out in my big chainring thinking that I would switch to my little chainring towards the middle of the bottom steep part of the climb. Instead, I found that I was nearly over the steep part before losing all of my momentum from my initial surge at the bottom. I decided to power through the last remaining steep part at the bottom in my big ring to avoid having to shift down and then back up again. This worked well because my speed never dropped below 15mph so I entered the less steep part of the climb carrying some momentum and was able to accelerate back up to nearly 20mph by the middle flatter part of the climb. I started to fade again towards the switchback at the top, but I used this switchback to push myself to the top thinking of the Tour de France commercial about the temporal nature of pain.
The rest of the ride flew by, and I ended up setting KOMs on Bailey Rd, Grants Mill into nasty headwind, and Big Spring, so by the end of the ride I was completely drained. But the main highlight for the latter part of the ride was setting a new all-time max VAM of 2031 m/hr on the short, steep 0.5mi Big Spring Cat 4 climb. I double-checked the elevation and it is recorded correctly (no atmospheric drift) 300ft in just 0.5mi for an average gradient of 11.6%. I averaged 10.9mph, 417 watts for the super steep section with my weight at this point of the ride probably down to around 140 pounds and 12.9mph by the top of Smyer Circle. I can’t even count how many times I have ended a hard training ride at the top of Smyer Circle knowing that I can just cruise on home from there! I was out of food and hungry, though, so I kept on pushing to get home and ran into John Karrasch heading the other way to the crest of Vestavia Dr on his mountain bike as I was heading down.
Another highlight on the latter part of the ride was a first ascent of Oakdale via a crazy climbing route I mapped out last night that has nearly 1000 ft of climbing, one 27% section, a couple other 20% sections, and a couple very fast roller coaster sections.
And the final highlight of the ride was making it back home to find my son and daughter playing with chalk on the front sidewalk with a friend and to have them so happily welcome me home!
Here are some of the data highlights from the ride:
Interactive data from this ride is available on Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/1821635