Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 16

Date
April 24, 2016

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 16

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
The forecast was calling for rain in the afternoon, so my original plan was to do the Truck Route climb in order to squeeze in one climb before the rain started. By the time I got to Carson City there wasn't a cloud in sight and I was pretty sure the weathermen got it wrong again. I kept going and did Six Mile Canyon instead. The weather still looked good, so I added on Gold Hill.

The bathrooms in Virginia City are back open for the season.
Towards the top of Gold Hill I could see clouds coming from the north. At that point I decided to head straight back down to the valley. I got very lucky with my timing. When I hit the top of Geiger Grade I could see a lot of rain off in the distance. I managed to make it down the descent without any rain at all, but as soon as the descent was over it started raining. It was cold, but I only had 20 miles to go, so it wasn't too bad. At least it didn't rain all day.

Saturday was an interesting day. I went and did one of my favorite routes, which I call the VC 3 (Strava link). Later that night I was checking my Strava feed and I saw that Laurens Ten Dam did a very similar route (Strava Link). I know I didn't see him out there, so I checked the Flybys.

It's almost comical how close I was without passing him. If you look at the Flybys you'll see that he stopped in Virginia City for a while on C Street, which is the main street in town. I passed by on B Street, which is the next street over, one that I often ride on to avoid the crowds on C Street.

After that I went down the Truck Route and back up Gold Hill. By the time I was near the bottom of the Truck Route descent, Ten Dam was just his own descent down the Truck Route. I went back up via Gold Hill, while he turned back around and went up the Truck Route. Our paths were crossing, but he made it back to the intersection about 2 minutes before I did.

This all sounds very stalker-like, doesn't it? I would assume he's riding the Tour of California this year. I'm not sure what my schedule will be like, but I'm hoping to see the Tahoe Stage on 5/19. Remember when I got his feed bag last year?

One last thing: I was thinking about doing an Everesting attempt on 4/29. That's still up in the air. If I do end up doing it, I will do the Combs Canyon segment. It all depends on the weather. As of today the forecast looks good, but obviously the weather is always changing. I'm also off on 5/6, so I can wait another week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 15

Date
April 17, 2016

Distance
104 miles

Strava Link
Week 15

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
Another beautiful spring day. The route was mostly flat except for two climbs: Gold Hill and Spooner Summit. It's funny how I've done a lot of different route combinations with Mt. Rose, Spooner Summit, Kingsbury Grade, and the 3 Virginia City climbs, but I don't think I've ever done this exact route. I guess that even if you've lived somewhere for a long time and done a ton of riding, there's still something new you can do.

I was really enjoying myself on the Truck Route descent. I've said before that it's my favorite descent, but today the weather was just so nice and there were a lot of flowers out there- yellow, red, white, and purple. I was taking it slow and enjoying the view. I stopped to take some pictures and then I noticed some wild horses on the other side of the hill. Today the Truck Route descent had it all.


video


I'm thinking about doing another Everesting attempt in late April or early May. I have April 29th off, so if the weather is good that will be my target date. It has to be a local one, so I have two segments in mind: Combs Canyon and the aforementioned Truck Route. They have their advantages and disadvantages. As much as I love the Truck Route, it's not very steep. It would take 23 reps for around 225 miles. Combs Canyon would take 105 reps for about 170 miles. The Combs Canyon descent is nice and straight, so you can really build up some speed there. There's also a little uphill at the end of the descent which is (a) a nice place to slow down from the descent and (b) a nice little ramp to start the climb on the way back. The main disadvantage is that it's a short segment, but 105 reps doesn't sound like a lot compared to the 460 I did last time.

We'll see what happens. Maybe another segment will come to mind between now and then.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 14

Date
April 10, 2016

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 14

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
It was raining like crazy Saturday night, so I was a little worried about what was in store for Sunday. There was a little rain at the beginning of the ride and a little more towards the end, but I managed to stay dry for most of the day.

I kept the route to a simple and flat out-and-back on US 50 just in case. That was good for the rain, but I timed the wind all wrong. There wasn't much wind early, but by the time I turned around the wind picked up a little and I had a headwind for the second half of the ride. No big deal. It wasn't that strong of a wind. More of an annoyance than anything.



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Week 13

Date
April 3, 2016

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 13

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
I recovered pretty well from Everesting. I only had about 4 hours to sleep that night, so I felt terrible the next day. My legs were sore and I had no energy. What I did have was one hell of an appetite, so I spent a lot of time eating. The next night I was able to get a full night of sleep, so I felt a lot better the day after that. I was still eating a ton, but my legs weren't hurting and in general I felt normal again.

I opted for active recovery. I did a very short ride the day after, and 2 days of easy rides from there. Then it snowed on Monday, which I took as an excuse to take the day off. I did two more easy rides from Tuesday to Wednesday and then I went back to riding as much as I wanted on Thursday. So recovery consisted of 5 easy rides over 6 days. I felt pretty good by the 3rd day, but I don't have any plans coming up, so I was very cautious and took more days than I felt like I needed.

This week's century was a fun one. The weather was great, so I went up to Spooner Summit and kept going on 50 a little bit until I could get a few good views of the Lake. Compared to last year there's still a lot of snow in the mountains.

April 3, 2016



March 20, 2015


After that I headed over to Six Mile Canyon. Spring is in the air. Leaves are growing on the trees and there were a lot of flowers in the canyon. Six Mile Canyon is one of my favorite climbs anyway, so that was just the cherry on top.

Now that it's April, 1/4th of the year is over. I had 5 goals for 2016 and things are looking good so far.
  • One century per week- On pace
  • Century in 5 new states- Planned for summer
  • One international century- Done in Tenerife.
  • 12,000 miles- A little behind pace, but summer is coming.
  • One Everest- Done.
I'd say that's pretty good, and the best months for riding are still ahead of us.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Everesting: Under the Freeway Climb in Reno, NV



This is my 4th successful Everesting. Here are links to the other 3: Geiger Grade, Monitor Pass, and 844.

The Climb

This Everesting took place on the Under the Freeway Climb segment south of Reno, NV, a segment that I ride quite often. Before today I had done it 15 times so far in 2016. It's a simple little segment-- 0.1 miles of straight road at 8%. It would take 455 repeats to Everest this segment. I decided to go for 460 just to be safe.


Why did I choose this segment? To be honest, this Everesting attempt was a last minute idea and I chose the segment more out of convenience and familiarity than anything else. If you look at my past Everests you will notice that a short climb with a high number of repeats is missing from my resume, so I knew that I wanted to fill that hole.

This particular segment is close to home and it has a wide shoulder, low traffic, and a good spot right at the top to park the car. The only thing it's missing is good scenery, but that seemed like a lower priority on a high-repeat ride like this.

The Ride

I started off around 5:20 AM in the dark. The moon was almost full and was putting out a lot of light, so it didn't really seem like the dark. Things started off fairly well. I made it through the first 100 laps and I felt surprisingly fresh. My speed was still decent and my legs didn't hurt at all. Mentally, I was doing a good job of focusing on the near term and not thinking too much about the big 460 number. I was trying a trick where I would do 9 reps at a normal pace and then take the 10th rep easy. This gave me something to look forward to and my feeble little mind was more focused on that immediate reward than anything else.

Sunrise

Somewhere around lap 115 I started to feel myself getting slower. It wasn't much at first, but then all of the sudden each rep was taking longer and my mind had more time to drift off into the future. Easy reps didn't feel as easy and they were less of a reward. Nevertheless, 200 was a big number and I did a fairly decent job of only focusing on 200 and not 460.

I kept getting slower and it was just a mental and physical grind. There were times when I could focus on the climbs one at a time and not think about anything else. I guess it was like meditation while riding. My mind would be in the moment and I would focus on when to sit, when to stand, when to shift gears, and how to take the turnaround point at the highest speed possible. Then I could do it all over again with the same focus, just trying to shave 1 second off of my time. But there were other times when 321 felt like no progress at all versus 320 because I still had well over 100 reps to go. Then I would look at my total elevation number for the day and there was still so much more climbing to do.

I found it much easier to stay in the moment when I was doing longer climbs. There is more variety in the terrain, which sometimes demands your attention whether you like it or not. Each single climb in itself feels like an accomplishment and brings you closer to the end goal. You can tell yourself, "Just 4 to go" and even though that may be 8,000 feet, it seems like a lot less than saying, "125 to go."

Somewhere around lap 350 my stomach started bothering me. I didn't feel like eating very much. I'm not sure if I ate something bad or if my mind was trying to convince my body to do something to give me an excuse to quit. Either way, the food in my belly forced its way out. I'll let your imagination decide which end it forced its way through. Anyway, that stopped me from eating for a while, which added more problems. I started getting tired and grumpy. I really wanted to quit.

This is where Everestings are made. I've learned my lesson from the previous 3. When you feel like you want to quit, force yourself to do one more rep. You just might ride yourself back into the groove. That's exactly what happened today. Since the laps were short I told myself to just ride 5 more and go from there. I got a second wind and I went from lap 380 up to 410 on that burst of energy. All of the sudden I was within reach and confident that I would finish. My appetite returned and I was back to eating normally. My stomach still felt a little off (and still does one day later), but the timing seemed awfully strange to me. How much of that was mental?

I've had it on every Everesting attempt. There's a moment towards the end when all you want to do is quit, but somehow you push through that and finish. That's what I love about Everesting. You get the opportunity to push past what you think is possible. That's why I've done 4 of them instead of quitting after one like any sane person would. Then again, would a sane person do one in the first place?

Gear, Food Etc.


There really aren't any secrets when it comes to equipment. The best advice is to get the biggest cassette you can find and/or the smallest crank you can find. My easiest gear was a 34-32 and there were times when I would have liked something easier. On a normal ride I would never touch the 32 on this climb, but this isn't a normal ride, is it? I wouldn't want to try a climb over 10% with just a 34-32.

How did I keep track of the climbs? My Garmin (Edge 510) has a lap counter, but I wasn't sure it would go up to 460. Instead, I relied on an old-school tally counter.

High and low-tech counting devices

It worked great. The hardest part was figuring out how to mount it to the bike. I just duct taped it to an ankle strap, which I kept strapped around my arm.


Here's my calorie total for the ride:

Item Servings Calories/Serving Total Calories
Applesauce Packs 2 80 160
Clif Bars (PB) 2 260 520
Clif Bars (Granola) 1 160 160
Fig Bars 3 110 330
Coconut Bar 1 210 210
Tortilla Chips 4 140 560
Veggie Chips 5 150 750
Pepper Triscuits 5 120 600
Sprite 8 20 160
Other Drinks 9 194 1746






Grand Total 5196

That's about 305 calories per hour. Normally on my weekly centuries I'll shoot for 200 per hour, so this seems about right. There was a time when I didn't feel good and wasn't eating a lot, but it looks like I still managed to get a lot of liquid calories in.

Here's a chart of my climb times (in seconds) over the course of the day. On that big outlier towards the end I dropped something and stopped to pick it up.

Climb time (in seconds) per lap

Thank You

Big thanks to everyone at everesting.cc for the inspiration.

Week 12

Date
March 21, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 12

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
I took a quick trip out to Death Valley to check out the super bloom. It was well past the peak, but there were still a ton of flowers out there. I usually go to Death Valley at least once a year and I've seen a few flowers here and there, but nothing like this. In places the whole valley was blanketed in yellow. None of my pictures turned out very well, but there are some good ones here.

This week's ride started with a climb to Dante's View, which is 23 miles at 4%. The climb is long and steady for the first 18 miles or so and then gets steeper towards the end. Then at the very end things get really steep (0.3 miles at an average of 13%) and there are some fun switchbacks. What I love about Dante's View is that there's actually a payoff at the end with a spectacular view of the valley below.

Dante's View

The rest of the ride was a wind fest, but that's OK. I expect wind out there and the views make it all worth the while.

Week 11

Date
March 18, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 11

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
Finally, some good weather. I took advantage and went out to Virginia City to do 3 climbs: Geiger Grade, Gold Hill, and 6 Mile Canyon. I haven't been doing much climbing lately, so this was a bit of a shock to the system.

A snowy Mt. Rose from Geiger Grade

I needed a day like this. It felt good to be out there.