Straighten out the mountain

There is a bunch of video on my computer from this weekend.  I’m still trying to sort through it and find the best clips for a single presentation.  Might be a day or two.  For now words will have to do.

My weekend was spent with the Hincapie Development Team.  It certainly brought back memories of when I was that age!  It was a fun group… and a good group on the bike.

Update on Chris and Jim

“I have a retro and antero-grade concussion. In lay terms, I don’t recall anything prior to about 4 p.m. on Saturday and Friday night is fuzzy… Currently, I’m still having some memory issues. Further, I badly bruised my left ribs and left hand. I prefer to think my Core/Strength and Yoga training are part of the reason no ribs broke.

Chris has a concussion also (not sure of details) and some rather bad cuts on his face; one which required stitches.” — Jim Cunningham

I caught up with them on Sunday just as they were finishing their time trials up Paris Mountain.  Saturday we had sped up the Greenville Watershed and now here they were about see who would be fastest going up Altamont Road.  Ah, the resiliency of youth!

Turns out Chris Butler made the climb in 9 minutes 5 seconds.  Christian Parrett came in shortly behind that time.  All of them made us recreational racers look like turtles!

They split up after finishing their camp and I had a few minutes before it was time to get home to throw some baseball with Thing Two.  So, I turned my bike up the mountain to see what time I would get.  I recall Boyd telling me that I would need to average 333 watts in order to make it to the top in 12 minutes (almost three minutes slower than Chris).

I should have had a plan for how I would ride the different stages.  However, I just kind of jumped into it and figured I wouldn’t be able to just hold 333 watts on the way up.  It might be a good idea to put some watts in the bank for later.  I was moving at about 350 up to 475 watts in the beginning.

Another thing Boyd said was to look for ways to straighten out the curves.  I’m sure he’s done this enough that is knows you can shave off about 10 seconds on the climb doing that.  So, I did — at least when I was thinking about it.

Just past midway I started fading.  The negative self-talk started coming.  I negotiated with myself to spend a bit of time recovering and then give it a try near the end.  Maybe I wouldn’t get a good time, but I was not going to just sit up.

I had enough juice to hit over 600 watts on the wall.  As I looked down at my computer as I crossed the line, I saw 12:58.  Now, that isn’t that great, but compared with how I thought I did, it was pretty good!  I had just gotten a 13:00 climb on Thursday and I felt good on that one.

That Thursday night I had climbed with an average of 288 watts.  Saturday I climbed with 278 and still finished seconds faster.  Why?  Believe it or not the difference was probably two things… 1) I had left my water bottles and tool bag in the car, and 2) I had shortened the ride from 2.2 miles to 2.19 miles by straightening out the course.

I learned a lot this weekend about cycling and myself.  That will be the theme for this week as I share some of the things I took out of the experience.  Perhaps it will be an encouragement to other weekend warriors like myself.