A mile of pain

This morning I had a fun ride with the Sunshine Cycle Shop Hour of Power crew.  Granted there was a smaller number due to the weather and another large organized century ride.  The group stayed together well and while it wasn’t as fast as it can be, it was great for me.

The last time I was on the bike was last Saturday when I finished my racing season.  I took the wheels off the bike and it hung in my basement the entire week until I put it back together for the morning ride.  I even forgot to put air in the tires before I left!  I must have been riding around on 80 pounds of pressure.

I felt good, but continued to take it easy through the ride.  I don’t think I came out of the saddle for speed until we reached the Meece Bridge Road sprint zone.  We didn’t even sprint.  However, for the sake of testing the legs I uncorked near the end anyway.  Even then I didn’t get much over 1000 watts.

Once I approached the quarry road, I decided to make some plans for the future.  I pushed the lap button on my Garmin as we crossed the bridge.  My plan was to go up at a nice steady speed and set a baseline for this climb that can be quite painful.  I was curious what the data profile would look like.


The red line is my heart rate, gray line = cadence, blue = speed, yellow = power, and orange = elevation.  Not sure why the speed is jumping around.  Could it be the Garmin was freaking out due to the cloudy skies?  Interestingly, it only happened during a 10 minute period in the whole ride.

Anyway, here are the numbers: Distance = 1 mile, Average Grade = 2.4% (that is all?), Elevation Gain = 128 feet, Power Max = 582 watts, Power Avg = 355 watts, Heart Rate Max = 188 bpm, Heart Rate Avg = 183 bpm, Cadence Min = 68 / Max = 113 / Avg = 87 rpm, Speed = 19.2 mph.

Now, I’ll just store these numbers away and compare it to future attempts during the ride.  It will be very interesting to see how this one compares to one of those times when we’re actually racing up that 2.4% grade.  Of course, that is the average.

The hardest section of the climb is about 7% for about a third of a mile.  A few slight dips in the beginning and halfway are followed by a long shallow climb at the top.  It brings the average down, but the fact that it follows the harder climb makes the finishing sprint a killer.

I call it the mile of pain.  Besides the physical characteristics about the mile there is the competitive side.  Normally in this group we are racing to the top.  That means you have someone breathing down your neck the whole way.  On those days, you can feel that queasy feeling at the finish.

Today I climbed it in 3 minutes and 10 seconds.  Don’t know when I’ll be able to climb it again.  With the Ride For Mike coming up, it will be several weeks before I’ll be back on the Hour of Power ride.