Saturday, September 30, 2006

Poor Mountain Hillclimb tomorrow

Tomorrwow is the Poor Mountain Hillclimb

I've never been here before. Just from reading descriptions it is going to be pure carnage. My palms are getting sweaty just writing this from nerves.

I'll be on the hardtail. In a stroke of irony, I got a cheap rigid fork to put on there because my wife's new bike needed my 80mm Black SPV, as her new fork is delayed. It seems that his cheapy rigid fork weighs about the same as that suspension fork. So no weight weenie gain for that. I could have jacked up the pressure on the suspension fork and it'd be the same.

This course sounds brutal:

Then comes 1/2 of pavement with a 13% gradient.

The following 4 miles are dirt with some small loose rocks and lots of embedded rocks. This surface is hard packed with a 12% gradient. The final 3/4 miles are steep, hardpacked gravel with a gradient from 15% to 16%.

There is even a section of 21% grade.

It is a mass start on a paved gradual incline. This is the kind of thing that gets me into trouble. Because I'll want to stay with the group in order to take advantage of a draft. In addition the excitement of a race just draws me in. Tempts me to push beyond my magic sweetspot for too long and then I fade hard later and cramp.

With a hill like this that gets worse the farther it gets and ends with the hardest section, it is imperative that I find my special spot in the pain as soon as possible. In fact I should be going at least 1 maybe 2 gears lower than I want to be.

The key for me is to find that perfect gear that enables a continuous and stable spin but also putting out good power. One of the drawbacks of steep climbs on my road bike is that my gearing limits my capability to spin on steep climbs and it turns into a grindfest. On a mountain bike, the low gearing can actually be a double edged sword because it can promote you to take a bailout gear. This leads to a high spin but you go nowhere.

The biggest downfall is to go out too hard too early. Something I always do in a race. I've just got to let my people go and get to my own rhthym and hope that I can go harder towards the end.

Traction is going to be an important issue to. I've got a new tire on there but it is tubed and not STANS. There is less worry about pinch flats on a climb but still, the lower pressure/highervolume of the stans might have been good here.

I'll be doing a good warmup today, maybe go up Oldfarm at a decent pace.

We'll see how it goes. This will also be the kickoff for a final big block of training before Rowdy Dawg. Monday I'm going to try to do the entire expert course of Rowdy Dawg and then Tuesday another 2 hrs hard.


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