One thousand one… One thousand two… One thousand three… the time it took you to read that is how close I was yesterday to climbing Paris Mountain in 12 minutes flat. That is the goal I set for myself over a year ago. I’ve never been able to best it. Last night I got really close… I got a personal best at 12 minutes 3 seconds. It will fall.
Now, Saturday there will be guys riding up that incline that will make a 12 minute climb look like a snail assault. I regularly ride with guys who bust out sub-twelve climbs. That time on the venerable climb is not that special… except to me. Forgive me while I dissect my ride again.
It started with an easy ride up to the top. I took my time to enjoy that day. Too often I’m just riding with my head down with some goal in mind. I don’t look around and enjoy the scenes. This time I even stopped to take some video with my iPhone. I need to go back with a better camera!
I knew that I could get a good time because when I reached the other side and turned around, my legs were feeling good. I put my bike in a very easy gear and started up spinning at a higher cadence than normal. My plan was to take it easier in the first half and then attack toward the end.
It seemed to be working. Through the first three minutes – that would take me up to the water tower section – I was averaging 330 watts and hit a high heart rate of 174 bpm. Still, I was maintaining a 10.5 mph average.
The next three minutes of riding brought me to the midway point of the ride. I was pretty happy to reach that section at almost 6 minutes on the nose. The better news is that I had been able to pick up some more speed and was still feeling pretty good.
That section after the water tower is a 5.3% grade. I was able to average just under 12 mph while putting out a lower average wattage of 314. My heart rate did climb to a high of 179, but I was still averaging 176 bpm. When I looked down to and saw 6:00 on my Garmin, I knew I stood a chance!
I stood and started to attack the next 6 minutes. I planned to attack, recover, attack, recover, and then let it all hang loose on The Wall. Things got a little tougher in the next three minute section. The average grade was now 7%.
My body was showing some strain as well. My heart rate climbed to a high of 186 and held an average during that section of 183 bpm. I was riding in my red line. Still, I was putting out an average of 343 watts and holding an average speed of 10.6 mph. It was during that section that I looked down at my computer for the second time in the ride and saw 10:00. I knew I was close!
I’m about to hit The Wall. The average grade over the next three minutes was 7.4%. I settled in for a steady push in the early part of this three minute section, but stood to give it all I had toward the end. This averaged out to be 361 watts for the just over half mile section. My heart rate was letting me know we were near the end by peaking at 190 bpm and averaging 186 in that section.
However, it was the easy start and the driving finish that made it work. I bet I covered the hardest portion of this climb faster than I have ever done in my life. The average grade over this 650 feet is 10.4%. My average wattage over this section was 507 watts. That garnered me a 10.5 mph average for that distance.
The entire climb’s numbers looked like this: Average – Power = 336 watts, Heart Rate = 177 bpm, Cadence = 78 rpm, Speed = 10.9 mph; Maximum – Power = 641 watts, Heart Rate = 190 bpm, Cadence = 100 rpm, Speed = 17.5.
It will be a while before I’ll get a chance to try this again. However, I think I’ve found the keys to making it work. I just have to be sure I’m in good shape when I try it. My guess is that when the temperatures begin to drop, I’ll start to see myself regularly breaking the 12 minute mark when I give it a try.
Three measly seconds. Man… soooooo close!