We decided that it’s time to get serious training for the Alps Tour since it’s only 2 1/2 weeks away. No more long distance easy rides, just steep hard climbs. So last Saturday we drove over to Mt Diablo which has a nice paved road that climbs 3300’ in about 11 miles. To up the ante, after climbing to the top, we rode back down to the halfway point, then up to the summit again, then down. That was at least 5000’ in 32 miles. I guess the challenging part was the second time up the last 1000’ of distance to the summit which averages 17% grade. Beau and I were on 152mm, Bronson used 160/180 up and 140 down, and Geoff used 175 (without a brake). On the summit I heard one of those all-time great sayings. This is verbatim: smaller Harley rider to large Harley rider, Man, is your accelerator hand sore?
Or maybe the challenging part was getting up early the next day and doing it again. Sunday we headed up a challenging road nearby which rolls along for 10 miles, then climbs an 2200’ in 3.86 miles (10.8% average grade) with a section that’s 0.4 miles long at 19% grade. We took a side road (rough dirt) to the summit of Bald Mountain which has a great view over the whole South Bay - you can see all the high points around SF Bay: Mt Tam, Mt Diablo, Mt Hamilton, Loma Prieta Peak and Mt Umunhum. Unfortunately the paved road is closed to the public above 2870’ - someday when this part gets added to the preserve we’ll have a killer climb available. Beau, Bronson and I were on the same cranks, Rob was on 158mm without a brake and Scot was the superman, leading most of the way on 140mm cranks - it was pretty unbelievable watching him crank smoothly up the 19% climb on those cranks. He is in great shape and should do well in the Alps. The rest of us did ok too - Beau and I weren’t sore after 2 days of this leg muscle abuse.
Bronson and I both bought new cameras for the Alps and tried them out on these rides. Photos with the Nikon Coolpix 7900:
These tend to overestimate our total climbs. We did not do and 7880’ Saturday and 5550’ Sunday! But the heartrate plots and maps are interesting.
Beau and I did a couple of short training rides before this big weekend and he was pretty letdown when the big 19% grade came on Sunday saying it wasn’t nearly as steep as what we had climbed 2 days before. We did a climb up a deadend paved street near our house that is over 20%. The first night we did it on 125mm cranks (3 dismounts), then switched to 152mm and were able to get up it non-stop. Long cranks are really nice for steep climbs!