↝ OWC / MacSales.com... ↜
↝ diglloyd Deal Finder... ↜
Buy other stuff at Amazon.com...
Training Using Repeated Climbs (7 Ascents of Old La Honda)
Repeating a fixed course during a single workout is a great way to teach oneself how to establish and maintain a pace:
- The ability to pick an effort level and consistently maintain it is key to succeeding at longer continuous challenges (know thyself). A power/watt meter is extremely helpful for such efforts.
- The quality of hydration and fueling can be deduced from the consistency (or lack thereof) from the first to the last repeat.
- One can tailor the number of repeats versus the intensity, something not possible with one fixed course spanning dissimilar terrain.
Here we examine a mid-season training day for the Everest Challenge, using my local favorite training climb, Old La Honda Road, offering a ~7% grade for an ascent of about 1270 vertical feet (from bridge to top).
Always have a workout goal in mind— the goal of this workout was simple: high intensity climbing aimed at verifying my ability to climb for long periods of time at high intensity, e.g., to complete the Everest Challenge climbs. Total ascent here was ~8900 vertical feet, which is still only 57% of just the first day of the Everest Challenge (15,465 vertical feet). However, the intensity I chose for this workout was designed to stimulate/shock my system into a higher level of performance— a deliberate choice aimed at increasing my climbing speed.
A secondary goal was to establish how badly I would dehydrate during these ascents, temperatures ranged from 57° to 82°F, which is much cooler than typical weather for the Everest Challenge, so it represents more favorable conditions.
with an OWC SSD
SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...
These are very good times for any age (and I was not fully rested this day), but young Cat 1 road racers could probably do sub-20 intervals.
I was carrying about 4.4 pounds of water (2 liters) for the first ascent, diminishing thereafter. I also carried 7 Gu packets (215g) and light/battery, spare tire, pump, etc, totaling about 6.4 extra pounds, dropping to somewhere around 0 pounds by the end (drank all the water and dehydrated beyond that). Those 6.4 pounds equate to an impact of about 44 seconds per ascent, quite a large impact that anyone racing ought to keep foremost in mind— take only what’s needed.
I also wanted to establish whether I could achieve reasonable times the next day (yes, but only 2 ascents, and they felt harder).
June 23, 2011
Notice the heart rate drift (dehydration) as the workout progresses: about 5 beats higher beginning to end.
Discussion continues below this chart.
August 10, 2013
Two years later (Aug 10, 2013) after a poor training season resumed quite late.
I ran out of gels and water after ascent 6 and while ascent 7 was fine, I was flagging by ascent 8, probably from no fuel and water for an hour. Notice the pronounced heart rate drift (dehydration): about 13 beats higher by the end. Some of that is exertion, but having run out of water on ascent 6, ascent 7 and 8 heart rate bumped up quickly.
Note that the SRM power meters are in disagreement (same average ascent times withing 3 seconds (!), but 5 pounds lighter and 22 watts more power (2011) appears to be an accuracy error with one of the power meters to the tune of ~7%). It’s possible that the slope and/or zero offset were miscalibrated, so this cannot be taken as “scientific”.
What I learned
This workout yielded clear and actionable conclusions:
- To have a chance of maintaining this pace for 15000 vertical feet, I’ll have to drop another 5 pounds of body weight and/or become more fit. Or I’ll have to slacken off the pace.
- In spite of drinking 2 liters of water over 4 hours, I still came home 4 pounds lighter than when I started, indicating dehydration (some urine and some body fat and glycogen are consumed, so not a full 4 pounds worth of water). But still, it is clear that I did not drink enough. My rule of thumb is about 1 liter per hour, and for this effort I clearly did not take enough fluid, and that could have increased fatigue, not to mention becoming a serious problem should the workout have continued another hour or two.
- Fueling was one Gu energy gel per ascent (scarf a Gu at top, drink 1/3 liter or so, head down). This proved adequate, but perhaps slightly more fueling could be helpful. Future workouts should investigate a 50% higher fueling approach. On the other hand, maximum endurance fitness means the ability to burn fat for almost all energy needs even at very high heart rates.
- The last lap took some effort as I was clearly getting fatigued. Was this due to dehydration? To rule that out, another workout of this type is needed, one in which I increase my fluid intake by at least 50%, and perhaps take a few more Gus.
- Recovery the 2nd day was far from complete, the ascents felt much harder, but I was able to achieve similar times for two ascents. The 3rd day my legs were toast, and I was two minutes off the pace. But the 4th day four ascents including a 4th of 20:56 were possible, showing good recovery— just not the rapid recovery of being 20 years younger.