A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ride the Rockies 2014 Training: Adding Hill Workouts

Last week I posted an article from @BicyclingMag about "no hill" hill workouts, which reminded me that one of the areas I want to focus on this year is getting better at climbing. When I ride with strong riders like Big Troy and The Boys I seem to do fine keeping up and doing my share of pulling on the flats. But when we get to the climbs above 6% grade I drop off.

This past summer, following Ride the Rockies, I began doing some hill workouts, focusing less on accumulating miles and more on building strength and agility. It paid off late in the season on rides like the Buffalo Bicycle Classic Epic route, a 110-mile course with 6,253 ft. of elevation gain!

The Buffalo Epic starts with a grueling 25-mile, 4,000 ft. Category 1 climb from 5,429 in Boulder, Colorado to 9,403 ft. on the Peak to Peak Highway to Ward, Colorado.
I am fortunate enough to have some great hills near my house. Coachline Road is a one-mile-long climb from 6,275 ft. to around 6,525 (approx. 250 ft.) then drops 150 ft. to 6,360. This is what the elevation profile looks like going up and over 4 times for a total of 12 miles and 1,600 ft. of climbing (not sure why this says 311, that's clearly off).

I try to ride uphill at 80-85 RPMs and an effort level around 8 out of 10 on the first climb, getting out of the saddle and pushing hard for the final .2 miles. I spin around 100-110 RPMs on the downhill. On the shorter, steeper climb I ride at a lower RPM (70-75) and focus on providing steady power.

By incorporating these hill workouts in my training earlier this year I hope to improve my climbing skills before Ride the Rockies 2014 :)

Ride on!


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