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A Near Maximal Ascent of Old La Honda Road
Legal disclaimer: Since we are not doctors, never follow anything based on health-related or training topics on this or related sites without first consulting with your doctor or other trusted health professional.
This workout analysis shows a hard but sub-maximal ascent of Old La Honda Road as the first climb of a 4+ hour ride.
Prior to this effort, I warmed up for about 10 minutes and stretched briefly. I was not aiming for a maximal effort since this effort was part of a 4+ hour training ride, but the legs felt good and I worked it fairly hard.
Due to minor injury, I had cut my workout schedule down by 1/3 to 1/2 of usual, so my legs had more enthusiasm than they might normally have under a rigorous training regimen.
Power, watts: 352.0
BPM: 164, with max of 180
Distance: 3.28 miles
Ascent: 1280 feet (known value, varies from recorded slightly)
Speed: 9.99 mph
Temp: 70° F
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The SRM Cannondale Hollowgram SL power meter is rated for 1% accuracy.
This was a very hard effort, but not a maximal effort, as can be seen with the power dips where I just gave myself a little break now and then; I knew I had about 3.5 hours more of riding ahead of me (big loop to the ocean).
Adjusting for total riding weight (TRW) on climbs
Adjusting for the +12 pound total riding weight difference over my previous personal best of 18:05, the 19:40 time actually matches my personal best to within 0.3 seconds! The extra 12 pounds is ~6 pounds of body fat, plus 6 pounds of water, bike light, saddlebag, etc.
Rest and power
With relatively well-rested legs, I found I could put out surges of power without it feeling particularly hard. I resisted the temptation knowing the long training ride ahead, but the start and end and about 2/3 up show me playing just a bit.
Rest and heart rate
What was particularly interesting was the rise in heart rate to 180 at the end. My ostensible “max” has been 171, but I think this shows that when well rested and well hydrated, my true max is likely closer to 180, perhaps even a little higher, since the last 1/3 was pegged at 172+. A true max heart rate requires being well rested to establish the real limit.
Side note— during the same ascent the prior week where I surged very hard, I saw my heart rate surge to 192, but I grew suddenly dizzy at that effort level, and I backed off immediately (discussed with cardiac specialist, not a concern). I see no cause for concern, but always pay attention to your own “signals”.
Click for a larger graph. Red is heart rate, green is power.