Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Avoid Standing Hill Climbs too Close to Breakfast

Today I headed out to work on some standing climbing intervals. Right now the longest I can muster standing is a little over 3 minutes. Ugh. But, I've been totally inspired by Brooke Miller's tales of learning to climb standing (thanks Olaf for linking to her site). She's an equally statuesque rider to myself, and she's learned to be a very capable climber. So, I think I can, too.

I was up on West Loyola in Los Altos Hills. I would hump my way up the hill - riding the touring bike with saddle bag for a little extra measure of effort. I'd be OK while standing - except for my legs and triceps feeling like they were going to melt. As soon as I would sit to roll back down the hill, my stomach would protest. I nearly regurgitated a few times. It's probably because I ate a little later than normal this morning. Note to self - finish breakfast at least two hours before doing this next week.

For the last 5 or 6 years, I've trained my body to go long and slow. I've slogged up many a pass in the Alps with a loaded touring bike, sitting and spinning away in my 22x36 at a comfortably aerobic 6 mph. Well, it's time to turn over a new leaf. I need to become an anaerobic beast. I want to do well in my next road race, which is the Mt. Hamilton Classic. I'm going to need a good, strong 10-15 minutes standing climb to get through the little hill in the middle of that race at any sort of reasonable speed. I know I can do it. So, the rest of May is dedicated to the anaerobic power climb.

Now for your viewing pleasure, some pictures of how I will NOT be climbing this month (and because I really need to reminisce about some fun vacations):


Tourmalet - near the top and Tourmalet near Luz S. Saveur

Passo Stelvio near Prato allo Stelvio and looking down toward Bormio

Passo Gardena and Passo Campolongo

12 comments:

CyclistRick said...

When did you get a 22T chainring and a 36T cog? As the resident mechanic, I think your low gear was 26x32 in the Alps/Dolomites, and 24x32 in the Pyrenees. The change to a 24x34 low gear was last summer, but we have not found a good test for that .... yet :-)

I take full blame for this morning's botched schedule. I let you sleep too late, did not get your breakfast started until later, and it was my fault that the press was at the door early today leading to an early departure. My bad(s).

I shall work with you on those climbs. It will be fun. When do we go up Page Mill? Redwood Gulch?

chatterbox said...

cyclistrick - maybe that was a little gearing hyperbole :)

don't take blame for the breakfast. i am just happy that you help lull me into consciousness by fixing it for me in the morning!

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Redwood Gulch is eeeeeeeeeeeeevil...

chatterbox said...

panda - I'm with you on Redwood Gulch. That climb makes me want to puke every time.

Chris said...

Wow. The shot of those switchbacks is awesome. Just take off your small chainring so you have no choice but to Pantani up those climbs :)

Standing climbing is hard for sure and I think best done for long periods of time by bean poles. I use a combination of both, but seem to maintain the best pace on longer climbs while sitting and spinning a higher RPM. Short climbs I stand and try to hammer as quickly as possible. Either way, I don't go uphill too well yet.

CyclistRick said...

Chatterbox and panda - blasphemy! Redwood Gulch teaches one discipline. And it is a peaceful alternative (most of the time) to slogging out Hwy 9 all the way from Saratoga. Only time I wished I had not ridden Redwood Gulch is the time I got caught in the middle of that relay race (running) from the north bay to Santa Cruz - dodging runners and support vans while trying to climb Redwood Gulch upped the ante considerably.

CyclistRick said...

Chris, that shot of switchbacks is the west side of Stelvio, the side with FEWER switchbacks. The east side has 48, all numbered nicely so you can tell where you are ..... :-)

chatterbox said...

chris - yes, it is better if you are a beanpole. but, if you are an amazon, it can be the only way to generate enough power to match the speed of the beanpoles uphill.

cyclistrick - yeah, i remember see the switchback number 1 sign, meaning it was the last one. i think i started crying a little for joy. that stelvio is a looooong and hearty climb.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Cyclistrick, maybe it's the redwood thing -- pandas are really more of a eucalyptus bear.

alicat said...

I can totally relate. Before bike racing I did Ironman triathlons and led bike tours for high school kids. Yep...keep it up and you'll get that fast twitch ju-ju. It takes time, but you'll be psyched when it comes.

chatterbox said...

alicat - thanks for the encouragement! I keep telling my legs they need to transition, but it will just take time.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

good luck on the hill climbing...im one of those in between types. I have a decent standing climb, but the beanpoles can still smoke me. I'm a little too tall and to medium build..but im trying to compensate for my genetics! I know you will triumph!!!