Posts tagged ‘kom’

Climbing analysis

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

ibike data for the complete ride (click to enlarge)

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:

April 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm 1 comment

Shades Mountain and Red Mountain climbing

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.

Annotated profile with gradients for larger hills and climbs (click to enlarge)

Annotated map of red mountain shades mountain climbing (click to enlarge)

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.

Annotated view of Red Mountain taken from high point on Shades Mountain (Vestavia Dr) – click to enlarge

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

March 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Strava shootout, Rapha 500, and Diabolical climbing

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.

Oakdale Double Oak lots of climbing

December 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Strava KOM shootout

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.

Strava KOM shootout Tria Cycling p/b DonohooAuto.com screenshot

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

3D view of the south cove dr climb

3D view of the entire route – including warmup before attempting the KOM

Super hi-res topoCreator map of the entire route (5MB)

December 10, 2011 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

Tour de Cullman

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:

Polar annotated heartrate/power
Golden Cheetah annotated heartrate/power
Critical power
Tour de Cullman power map annotated
3 in a row!

October 30, 2011 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

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Quick reference stats

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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