CLIMB! And, climb some more. And when you think you’ve done enough climbing, do even more. Here in the California Alps climbing is pretty much par for the course; head out the door and you’re on some sort of incline (or decline).
Yesterday, I had the pleasure (and pain) of riding up the west side of Monitor Pass (this view is from just above Heenan Lake) and was reminded that there is no subsitute for climbing if you’re training for a ride with lots of elevation gain.
SURE, I’ve been training hard, with lots of paincave sessions, including HIIT, V02 max, and more, and some of those sessions focus on things such as building endurance, “rocking the rollers” and sweet-spot training (SST); yet I realized while “out on course” that even though my strain is up significantly from the previous week, I’m just not climbing enough.
THIS past week, including yesterday’s adventure, I rode about 116 miles with almost 11,000 feet of elevation gain.
THE Deathride – Tour of the California Alps does that in one day, though, and while yesterday’s ride was 36 miles with over 4000 of climbing, I asked myself could I do that three or four more times.
The short answer = NO. At least not yesterday. 🙁
As you can see by my happy, yet very sweaty mug, that first big pitch was hard.
MONITOR east, Ebbetts north and south (or west and east depending on your preference), and Pacific Grade (twice) would still be yet to come on July 17th. Yowza, there is work to be done!
THANKFULLY, we’ve all got more time. IMHO, and based on previous experience, right about now (3-4 mos. out) is when you should start ramping 😉 up your training. And it’s not just about the climbing… Your secondary focus should be on time spent in the saddle.
IF you are going to tackle the entire ride, you’re looking at a full day on your steed.
BACK in 2017, when I finished all of the climbs, I was on the bike for about ten (10) hours and my elapsed time was twelve (12) hours!
VENTURING on a velocipede for that amount of time takes a serious toll on the bod., and takes some getting used to, so don’t skimp. And, if you’re not already thinking about it, be sure to address your future nutrition needs by practicing what, and how much, you eat and drink.
EXPERIMENTING with new bars, gels or drink mixes the day of is a recipe for disaster!
So Now What?
WELL, for me that means heeding my own advice and hitting those hills and mountains more often, and taking on longer rides. I would guess that applies to you as well.
ANOTHER aspect of training that I’m working on is the gear. You may have noticed that I was wearing an USWE hydration pack. Amazing piece of equipment by the way – pretty darn comfy and it DOES NOT move. I am not planning on wearing it for the Deathride but I am going to have it on for May’s Paydirt here in the Pine Nuts. And, yes, sharp-eyed reader, Roscoe is a gravel bike. So it was a double-duty deed, if you will, yesterday – got some climbing in and did it on the bike I’ll be riding in May, with the gear and grub I’ll be hauling.
I’m thinking a 50-60 mile ride on dirt will be a similar experience to a century on the road and so I see some benefits to training for Pete Stetina’s ride now, while also keeping that next big day in July, in mind.
NEED some other ideas? Search “climbing” on this blog for myriad posts on the subject. If you’re a neophyte I’d especially call your attention to this post as well as this one.
AFTER all, spring has sprung so it’s time to get cracking!
WE’RE looking forward to riding with you in July (or sooner perhaps), and the community is getting ready for your visit.
BE sure to make those reservations early, by the way. There are fewer resources around due to last year’s Tamarack Fire.
RIDE on, be safe, and climb, climb, climb!