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Razors Edge

12 Seconds.

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I'm looking for 12 seconds on a KOM climb.  The challenge is that the days are shorter, colder, and more likely to be inclement.  I have (nearly) the fitness to hit that goal - #2 on the KOM, but I will struggle to 1) hold that fitness and 2) find the time to get out there to chase after the KOM.

The situation is one where I wasn't even too aware of this KOM until a couple months ago after I saw it as part of my century ride. I saw some dude had an insanely fast KOM time versus the #2-#10 guys who are all over the local leaderboards. My guess is his GPS was glitched, but maybe he really did a seriously quick climb.

Anyway, the next time I was riding that stretch of road, I pushed it up a notch, but I didn't really know where the time started/ended. I also rode it my more traditional way - sit/sit/stand/sit/sit/stand/etc.  That got me a whole lot closer, but not close enough. Another time, while just out for a regular ride, I decided to try a new approach - stand/stand/stand! That worked out surprisingly well but I didn't properly calculate the best gears to be in for the climb. I came into the climb in a little too easy of a gear combo for a heavy push, so lost some momentum and would never regain that.

Finally, yesterday, I figured I would again play with the stand/stand/stand method. It worked out really well with me hitting a PB and creeping up to within 12 secs of the realistic #2 time but still a huge 21 secs from #1.  Looking back in my head and looking over the Strava file, I still see several points where I could improve. I went with the 34/15 combo for the first bit (1/3 of it about) and switched out to the 34/17 for the final bit. I think it makes more sense to start with the 34/14, then the 34/15, and then finish with the 34/17 (if at all).  I also see I dropped effort about 20' too early. I think that is mainly a Garmin thing where you have to push through a finish point rather than stop at the map's finish point. Additionally, maybe a little easier ride up to the "start" would help since the start is about 17 miles away from home, and I could probably just warm up and cruise rather than my usual push, push, push style of riding.

Regardless, I feel a bit bummed this "new" challenge popped up on my radar so late in the season. Hopefully, I get another shot this year, and I also hope to keep some fitness through Winter, so I can make it a late Spring/early Summer sort of goal.

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Tom

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15 hours ago, dennis said:

A single speed is your friend. Your climbing will get better. They make great commuters too. 

One place I rarely see single speeds (especially fixies) is in the hills & mountains. When I actually get to a place with real sustained climbing, there are no SS and no recumbents.  

I could definitely see a SS having some value if I was real close to a long sustained climb, so I could choose a good gear combo and use it to work on specific cadence drills or something similar, but I can also do that on my 11sp (pick a gear combo and stick too it).

Tom

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I've ridden my ss in the mountains. It ain't easy, but it works. A lot of people around here have ss mt bikes. I sold mine. My knees couldn't take it any more and I did not have room for 6 bikes. If I had the space, I'd still have both SS and just ride them more judiciously. There are big climbs here 3-8 miles long. 

But yes, stay in one gear and go. 

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2 hours ago, dennis said:

I've ridden my ss in the mountains. It ain't easy, but it works. A lot of people around here have ss mt bikes. I sold mine. My knees couldn't take it any more and I did not have room for 6 bikes. If I had the space, I'd still have both SS and just ride them more judiciously. There are big climbs here 3-8 miles long. 

But yes, stay in one gear and go. 

You're not much of a salesman :P

Tom

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7 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Cheat.

Pros and cons to that approach.  I gotta say I was/am suspicious of the #1 guy (in the OP), but as I get back into riding again this season, I definitely see an opportunity to improve my time and move up the overall standings.  I rode the climb yesterday with no intention of going hard, and I like how I "feel" now on it.  So, I'm getting my rhythm sorted, and as better fitness returns, I can actually take a crack at the top 10 (1:21) or higher up the chart. 

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Likewise, there is a similar climb a 1/2 mile farther away that I can also start to put focus on as I gain some climbing fitness. This climb is less popular, so the folks who ride it are the more "serious" types. I need 32 seconds to move up to top 10.

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Also, both climbs are part of longer sustained climbs, so those also become good challenges.  

It is relatively flat in the DC area, so I have to work with what I have nearby.  I don't like to drive to rides if I can avoid it, but that also means I arrive at a start point with some miles in my legs and the knowledge that I need to get home in one piece :D

Tom

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On 10/30/2017 at 2:49 PM, Razors Edge said:

You're not much of a salesman :P

Tom

My very best fitness ever was when I rode my fixie on almost all of my group rides one summer. We have rolling hills in Pittsburgh. Some gradual grades of 3-4 miles long, but the steeper sustained climb are probably only 1/2 mile or so long. 69 gear inches. I would avold the stupid steep stuff that makes up the dirty dozen, of course. But by summer's end I was doing fixed gear centuries on both Saturday and Sunday, and was pretty unstoppable whenever I pulled out a geared bike. The habit of riding through the crest and down the backside of a climb will open a lot of gaps.  

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1 hour ago, Prophet Zacharia said:

My very best fitness ever was when I rode my fixie on almost all of my group rides one summer. We have rolling hills in Pittsburgh. Some gradual grades of 3-4 miles long, but the steeper sustained climb are probably only 1/2 mile or so long. 69 gear inches. I would avold the stupid steep stuff that makes up the dirty dozen, of course. But by summer's end I was doing fixed gear centuries on both Saturday and Sunday, and was pretty unstoppable whenever I pulled out a geared bike. The habit of riding through the crest and down the backside of a climb will open a lot of gaps.  

What gearing did you run?

I didn't mention in this thread, but a few weeks back I tackled this same climb with a similar but slightly different approach which was to just keep it in my 50 and ride the first half in the 19 cog, then the 21, and gas out in the 23 (still 25 and 28 in reserve but cross chain).  It worked fine, and merits another shot later on in the year, but I absolutely could have rolled with the 50/21 all the way up and over. 

On a separate note, I'm seemingly strange for rarely not pedaling.  I might take a swig of water at the top of a climb, but in all likelihood I just keep going.  It is actually surprising to me how often I catch someone near the top of climb, pass them, look back and they are already in the distance.  Or when I spot a roadie on a long descent coasting.   If I'm riding, I generally pedaling.

Tom

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20 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

What gearing did you run?

I didn't mention in this thread, but a few weeks back I tackled this same climb with a similar but slightly different approach which was to just keep it in my 50 and ride the first half in the 19 cog, then the 21, and gas out in the 23 (still 25 and 28 in reserve but cross chain).  It worked fine, and merits another shot later on in the year, but I absolutely could have rolled with the 50/21 all the way up and over. 

On a separate note, I'm seemingly strange for rarely not pedaling.  I might take a swig of water at the top of a climb, but in all likelihood I just keep going.  It is actually surprising to me how often I catch someone near the top of climb, pass them, look back and they are already in the distance.  Or when I spot a roadie on a long descent coasting.   If I'm riding, I generally pedaling.

Tom

I think I ran a 39 X 14 for a GI of about 74, although it could have been a 15. About the same as a 50 X 18, or 19.

If you ride a fixie, you will be surprized to find where you do pause in your pedal stroke, even momentarily. It will correct that. Spinning at 120+ rpm on descents will also make your legs very supple. 

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