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8 Ascents of Old La Honda Road: Can I Handle the Everest Challenge?

Today was a critical juncture: I needed to see whether I could handle extended climbing with consistent power, so I decided to do eight ascents of Old La Honda Road. It was crucial both for physical assessment as well as psychlogically.

I was thrilled to see that I could maintain power output across the ascents to very consistent values. Unfortunately I ran out of energy gel and water after ascent 6, but I held on to finish all eight. But note the heart rate drift (spike in heart rate) for ascent 7 and 8 (click the graph to read an analysis and click the charts there to view larger).

Climbing speed versus weight

It’s a bummer to be carrying ~8 extra pounds over last year as this really degrades the climbing speed, by about 4%, which equates to 55 seconds per ascent. Accounting for that weight difference, it seems that my fitness is not far off that of last year. However, in spite of being 5 pounds heavier than in 2011, the average ascent times here are within 3 seconds versus 2011. So I feel quite good about that and with a little luck I can drop another pound or two before the Everest Challenge.

All that said, the extra pounds in theory mean a ~45 minute time penalty this year, unless I can somehow maintain higher average power. So I’m not really expecting to be anywhere near competitive like I was in 2012; it means being 10-15 places farther back in the pack, e.g., 18th or so instead of 5th. Bummer.

See also Faster Ascents By Reducing TOTAL Riding Weight and Climbing Speed Case Study for Everest Challenge Stage Race.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road, August 10, 2013
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