Posts tagged ‘strava’
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:
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.
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.
Finally, here are the garmin screenshots:
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.
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.
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