Posts tagged ‘strava’

More spring climbing for the Specialized Climbing Challenge on Strava

Chasing Josiah up the hill at the end of my ride – wearing @strava bibs and #southerncx jersey
iBike data annotated at peaks (click to enlarge)
Today was an easy day with a big criterium tomorrow in Dothan. I spent most of the ride looking for good hills in the shade to do repeats on. The nice thing about the hills through neighborhoods like Bluff Park and Green Valley is that you can practice criterium cornering using gravity to help you accelerate up to crit speed rather than wearing yourself out trying to punch it up to 30mph to head into a corner. The course tomorrow has a pretty good hill so that will make for a bit of climbing, but I’m likely to be even farther behind Robin who is crushing the climbing over in England. Jeremy in France is catching up with his climbing in the Alps, and Guido from Australia is not too far behind. That’s four riders in three different continents pushing hard in the Strava virtual competition. That’s the beauty of Strava — bringing riders from all over for virtual competition.

March 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

Lots of climbing stats

Today was quite a combination of rides — hitting a new personal record of shortest distance to 5,000′ of vertical gain on the way into work and then hitting 5,000′ ft again in less than 30 miles on the way home from work. Both rides were pretty slow with lots of weaving on the steep parts and several roller coaster repeats. The best thing about the roller coaster repeats is that they are insanely fast in the 53×11 on the descents and then nearly instantly into the 39×28 — that’s a lot of wear and tear on the derailleurs. No wonder I have broken three front and one rear derailleur in the past year and snapped several cables.

Morning ride (annotated) – click to enlarge

Afternoon ride topocreator map – annotated – click to enlarge

Annotated ibike data from morning ride (click to enlarge)

Annotated ibike data from afternoon ride (click to enlarge)

Finally, here are the garmin screenshots:

March 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

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

It’s Sunday – a great day for two flats

Well, this makes two weeks in a row of two flats on Sunday. Last week, two flats might have cost me a podium at Rouge Roubaix. This week, I had two flats on the way to church, but just like last week where thanks to a quick change from the motorcycle wheel support, it all worked out just fine. Today’s ride started out really great with the typical Skyland – Dolly Ridge – Caldwell Mill climbing. I was looking for a hillier way to get over to Hugh Daniel and ended up discovering a really cool climb up onto (literally) the Healthsouth Corporate Headquarters helicopter landing pad. Very cool! Then on the fun, fast, twisty descent out the backside of Healthsouth, I pinch flatted on a drainage cover at the back gate. I thought I would practice a quick change, and I thought everything went well, but I flatted again about 5 miles later just before the top of the Hugh Daniel – Greystone Crest climb. The flat was on both sides of the valve stem so it looks like I might not have had the tube in straight after the first flat. I didn’t have any more tubes, but I did have a patch kit. It turns out that my original flat was a snake bite in one location and a small gash in another location. Two patches later I was able to pump up the original tube that had flatted first and continue on to church. Thankfully, I made it because after church the tire was completely flat again. So I just caught a ride over to grandma’s house with Kristine, and we had a nice afternoon together as a family. I’ll definitely take that any day of the week – flat or no flat!

When we got home, I tried to get a picture of the whole near the valve stem when a chipmunk wandered into the view finder literally a foot or so away from me. Then as I was trying to take a picture of the chipmunk eating some nuts, a beautiful female cardinal landed right behind the chipmunk. A little while later another bird landed but I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Here are the pics:

March 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm Leave a 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

Rouge Roubaix 2012

Race summary via a video (watch the whole thing (it’s worth it) or scroll to 2’20” to watch George Hincapie’s first puncture, scroll to 4’40” to watch a glimpse of what my race was like yesterday – Hincapie alone with two Domo-Frites riders who have a teammate alone in the lead up the road. Then scroll to exactly 5 minutes to watch Hincapie’s second puncture and watch from there until the end and you have a good summary of my race at Rouge Roubaix yesterday. Even the finish placing at the end was the same — we both got a disappointing 4th place.) Disappointed? Yes. Happy? Yes. I have always said that just finishing Rouge Roubaix is a victory.

Race summary in words It was a smaller than normal field with maybe 40 riders and several teams represented, but the strongest and deepest team was clearly Plano Cycling from Texas. With a strong tailwind and constant attacks, none of the early suicide breaks would stick so it was pretty much all together with a small break about 30 seconds ahead going into the first dirt section. I entered the dirt in second or third position and came out of it first after we caught and passed the small lead group somewhere in the middle of the dirt section. I attacked the last hill to get a good 5-10 second gap on the field for the Strava segment challenge. 40 miles and LOTS of attacking later, I was sprinting (and grabbing) the $100 bill at the top of Blockhouse Hill so I think I was fastest on the Blockhouse Hill challenge segment. I was with another rider (Eric in green jersey) and we worked well together for the next 20 miles all the way through the third dirt/gravel section. At the end of the third dirt section, eventual winner Adam Koble (Plano) caught us and just as we were getting into a rotation I pinch flatted my front wheel. The motorcycle neutral support was right behind me, and I was riding again 34 seconds after stopping. I started riding just as a chase group containing two Plano riders and Jason Snow passed. I quickly caught back up to them, but Jason was cooked and the two Plano riders couldn’t work because they had a teammate up the road. I was starting to bonk pretty bad and Jason gave me a Clif bar (thanks!!) which I ate as I sat the front driving the pace hard to try to catch the two leaders. Then the Plano riders started to attack to try to get away so that they would have another rider up the road instead of just Adam. I believe Jason came off of our group during one of these attacks. We were closing in on them when I see Eric pull off to the side of the road just ahead of us with a flat. This motivated me to push the pace even harder because now Adam was having to work by himself as the lone leader up the road. So here I was pulling the two Plano riders back up to their leader when “psssssssttttttt” I get a puncture on the replacement front wheel. The motorcycle wheels were behind us again so I was up and rolling 24 seconds after stopping. Eric caught me right after I got started again so the two of us worked together to catch the Plano riders. This was less than 3 miles from the finish with one more hill left (Mahoney Hill) – I hit the hill hard to try and pop one or both of the Plano riders but only ended up with Eric coming off the pace. I was first wheel going into the sprint when Plano #1 (Ryan Dromgoole) attacked out of the corner with 500 meters to go. He got just enough of a gap that I couldn’t grab his wheel and even as I closed in on him 25 meters from the line, Plano #2 (Corey Ray) who had been on my wheel came around me to take the last step of the podium. Kudos to Team Plano for riding an awesome, aggressive, strategic race. Kudos to the whole team! I wonder if two records were set yesterday? 1) fastest rouge roubaix ever 2) podium sweep by a single team

The detailed report with pictures, short video, maps, and power data

The first 25 miles
Normally in this race, there is a 3 or 4 mile neutral section, followed by a number of attacks that fairly quickly establish the early suicide break. This year we had a strong tailwind and a smaller field so even though there was lots and lots of attacking, nothing would stick. I rode aggressively and tried to get in a move but couldn’t do it – and my legs felt awful – I thought for sure I had a flat or that something was binding in the drivetrain. A few miles before the first dirt section, a break of 3 finally established itself with Stephen Mire (S3), Scott Kuppersmith (Indian Cycle Racing), and one of the Plano riders taking a 45 second gap into the first dirt section.

The first dirt section
The first dirt section was really rough – especially at the beginning with some nasty washboard. I lost a full bottle of gatorade (175 very important calories) here. And even though it was really rough, we were still going fast. Plus, unlike previous years where you had one or two strongmen laying down a killer pace that keeps the group strung out, this year the pace was more manageable opening up the opportunity for attacks – of which there were plenty even on the dirt! I covered some of these moves. Each one would shed more riders from the lead group. Towards the later part on one of the downhills, my speed sensor fell down the fork and was bouncing into the spokes. I thought for sure it was going to get lodged between the spokes and the fork causing the front wheel to stop or breaking some spokes, but within a half mile or so the speed sensor settled down so that is was hanging down sideways outside the hub but no longer hitting the spokes. Towards the end of the first dirt section, I had moved to the front and attacked hard on the last hill to try to get some time for the Strava challenge segment and ended up finishing a few seconds in front of the group.

The long, hard 40 mile road section between the first and second dirt sections
Back out on the road it was constant attacks from many different riders including me, but mainly from Plano riders. I would chase some attacks and try to counterattack, but I think I was being watched too closely. All of the attacks, though, did create a split in the group with about 8 of us in the front split and 10 in the chase group. I was in the front split which worked well together but we were eventually chased down by the chase group. Once the two groups merged again it was attack/attack/attack. This time I instigated a lot of the attacks as I was really tired of trying to respond to the Plano attacks. Nothing was getting away, though. Then as I was sitting on the front pushing an easy 175 watts and admiring the big flood plain off the to right, I turned around saw that I had a 50 meter gap! Once I realized I had a gap, I immediately attacked knowing that the turn was coming up in less than half a mile.

The second dirt section – Blockhouse Hill
I had a small lead and was pushing a steady tempo when Eric Stubbs (GearLink Racing) caught me. He rode my wheel for a second and then attacked hard. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing, but then I remembered about the $100 sprint at the top of the hill. So I pulled it together to try and chase back onto him. I caught him about 2/3rds of the way up the hill. He was still pushing hard though and he came over to my side of the hard-packed mud double track. He was still with me as I approached the man holding the $100 bill, so I had a brief thought wondering if we were going to physically battle for the $100 but I put in a little surge and got there first to grab the money and stuff it as far as I could inside my jersey pocket to make sure it didn’t fall out. My coffee shop cleat covers which I had brought in case I needed to run up any of the hills acted as a nice paperweight. We worked really well together through the remainder of the short dirt section and out onto the paved roads again. I was hoping we had insurmountable lead by this point, but every time I looked back you could see a lead vehicle for a chase group. We got one time split shortly before the start of the third dirt section, which indicated we had a 50 second gap.

The third dirt section – Tunica Hills
I struggled in the 3rd dirt section not from lack of energy but from lack of technical skills. The gravel was kinda rough this year with a bit of mud, too, and I found myself taking the worst possible lines. Even on the opening steep climb, I was on the wrong side of the double track and my rear wheel slid sideways in some gravel about halfway up the climb. Fortunately I was able to push through to the harder packed side, make the nearly 90 degree turn back up the hill and resume pedaling in my 39×28 all on a 12-15% incline at 4-6mph. Across the top it didn’t get much better as I ended up off the road at least twice coming to a near stop before having to sprint back up the next hill to catch back up to Eric who was descending awesomely showing me the perfect lines which I would proceed to not take b/c of some sort of technical brain malfunction.

Flat #1 – front wheel pinch flat
Towards the end of the third dirt section, the lead vehicle that had been behind us was nearly up to us. There was only one rider, though, eventual winner Adam Koble from Team Plano. Just as we were getting into a rotation, I pinch flatted my front wheel on one of the washed out gravel sections that we hit at close to 30mph. The motorcycle neutral support was right behind me, and I was riding again 34 seconds after stopping. I started riding and latched onto a chase group containing two Plano riders (Ryan Dromgoole and Corey Ray) and a third rider – Jason Snow. Jason was cooked and the two Plano riders couldn’t work because they had a teammate up the road. Jason offered me a Clif bar as I was starting to bonk so I was able to drive the pace and begin to close the gap to the leading duo of Adam and Eric. As we got to another hilly section, the Plano riders tried a few attacks, but I was able to chase down each one and even put in a counter attack or two. Jason came off during this section.

Flat #2 – front wheel puncture
So it was me leading the two Plano riders back up to their leader when we went through just a tiny bit of gravel when I hear the dreaded “psssssssssstttt” of a front wheel puncture with less than 10 miles to go. This was an even quicker change than last time (24 seconds from flat to riding again). Eric caught me right as I was pulling out, and the two of us worked together catching the Plano riders again with about 3 miles to go. I pushed the pace super hard on the last hill (Mahoney Hill) hoping to drop one of the Plano riders, but only Eric came off leaving me again with the two Plano riders. I led them into the sprint hoping that they would make some mistake that would enable me to get onto the podium – but when Ryan attacked with 500 meters to go, he gapped me and I spent nearly the entire sprint trying to catch his draft. When I caught his draft maybe 25 meters from the line, he gave it one more burst that not only prevented me from coming around but also allowed his teammate Corey who had been on my wheel to pass me for third.

Kudos and records
Kudos to Team Plano for riding an awesome, aggressive, strategic race. Kudos to the whole team! I wonder if two records were set yesterday? 1) fastest rouge roubaix ever 2) podium sweep by a single team

Critical power curve with a new power record from about 3 hours to 4 hours 45 minutes

Pedal force – velocity graph – all over the place even more so than normal

Annotated power map

March 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm 3 comments

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Long commute home Interesting time space thought - if you see this pic within a minute of me posting it, then I will be at the crest of the middle ridge. A little bit more challenging than normal getting this angle of my bike at the cliffs today.

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