Monday, March 30, 2009

Devil Mountain Double is Chock-Full-O- Hard Core Ultra Runners

Eric Skaden Winner American River 50
Graham Cooper Winner Western States 100
David Goggins Multiple top finishes, RAAM 2009
Kevin Sawchuck Multiple top finishes
Jasper Halekas Winner Tahoe Rim Trail 100

There is more elite talent at the DMD than 90% of the Ultra Marathons around. I am expecting to see Karl Meltzer give his standard odds of the winner of this race as he does all big ultra runs. I would love to hear what these guys think of the DMD and if they consider it hard or not. I doubt any of these guys will come in first, as a specialist is bound to win it, but it will be great to see if they can crack the top 10.

At this rate, I am expecting to see Karnazes, Dean or Jurek, Scott in the DMD sign up list.

My training is going great as I have 700 miles for March with 42,000 feet of climbing. All systems go.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Death to VDO MC 1.0 Cyclometer

Finally blew up my VDO MC 1.0 Computer as it decided to stop working this weekend. I have yet to find a good cyclomter that I cant break within a short period, or find something about it that makes using it miserable. My main requirement other than the basic ones is Altitude gained for day. Maybe this requirement forces me into the fringes of cyclomters, but I keep getting disappointed.

HAC 4: Burned through 2 or 3 of these. They just stopped working for various reasons. Having a battery in the Unit, the Mount and the sensor was always a big problem in troubleshooting issues. Too much $$ and trouble.

Blackburn Delphi 5.0: When descending, the speed drops to zero. Very frustrating problem that lacks an easy answer. Also, this computer has a stupid climb % feature that does no real dampening and jumps all over the place as you climb rendering the feature useless.

VDO MC 1.0: I liked the altimeter on this as similar to HAC 4, it has a good dampening algorithm. When it said a hill was 15%, you could believe it. Unlike horrible Blackburn and others that have no dampening on altitutude samples and jump from 2 to 6 to 15 to 7 for climb percentage. Too bad the buttons on it stopped working. I liked this computer until it quit on me. One strange bug is it switched from Miles to KM after 24 hours of use on the Hoodoo 500.

Garmin 305: Terrible Battery life (Less than 10 hours). Horrible Climb % Algorithm that jumps all over the place. Terrible bike mount that eventually caused mine to jump away on a bump and disappear down a ravine.

Polar 700 series: Having to send the unit in to change the battery is a deal killer. I gave up once it died. Heavy unit as well. Awful.

I picked up a Ciclosport 215A that has a basic altimeter sans gradient reader for 45 bucks on line. While I am bound to like it for a while, we shall see if I render it useless in a week or two. I dont consider myself insanely hard on these units, rather the ultracycling training and events just push these units to the limit and either expose obvious flaws such as battery life, or strange bugs like the VDO that switched from Miles to KM after 24 hours on the Hoodoo 500.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Canada Road Time Trial #2

My unofficial time of 27:11 was EXACTLY the same time as four weeks ago. I was hoping to pick up a few seconds, but no go. My heart rate was pegged the entire time. Luckily this European stranger coached me the last mile. Some random rider guy came up beside me and was motivating me to keep going. I was passed with a couple of minutes to go and this random coach advised me he was slowing down and I could catch him again. I manged to almost hold the guy until the last few seconds and let him go. Thx god coach came by as I would have been worse this time than 4 weeks ago when I was sick. Next time, I am going to roll with the TT helmet and see if I can buy a few seconds.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

25 goat ride?

25 Goat Route

Harwood Santa Rosa 565 1
Aztec Ridge 960 2
BlackBerry Hill 950 3
Shannon/Kennedy 790 4
Soda Springs 2400 5
MonteVina 1700 6
Bohlman on Orbit 2337 7
Black Road 1780 8
Overlook in Los Gatos 680 9
Peach Hill/Ojai 990 10
Reynolds off of Hicks 661 11
Hicks W 1120 12
Umunuh 910 13
Hicks East 1050 14
Via Santa Teresa/Scenic 640 15
Bailey/Buffalo Hill 530 16
Metcalf 1033 17
Aborn 815 18
Chaboya near Quimby 545 19
Quimby East 545 20
Quimby West 1700 21
Mt. Pleasant 440 22
Clayton 840 23
Suncrest 610 24
Sierra 1830 25
26421 Feet

Only 200 miles. Sounds like a lot of fun. Who is in? Seems like a nice way to spice up that little aneurysm in your life. How about challenging the obsessive compulsive gremlin in your head that keeps telling you to quit riding and become fat and happy? What better way to show that gremlin your not giving up? I am sure this is no better morally or spiritually than eating 50 hotdogs in 12 minutes, nor will it make you a better person. Any demons you face will not be real, nor will any spiritual gain be of any long term value.

Steep Hills

New Steep Climb

Did Aztec Ridge today, Blackberry Hills, Harwood/Santa Rosa and Hicks. Met a guy out on the road who told us of a way to do a very direct route of BlackBerry Hill directly from Kenndy by hanging a right up Big Basin way into Teresita and then past a bunch of "Do Not Enter" signs to Ravina Way and then Paseo Camino before hitting BlackBerry Hill. You end up climbing 1300 feet in 1.88 miles for a ride 13.09%. This is steeper than anything on Western Wheelers by a mile. I did analysis of all the Billy Goats and nothing comes remotely close to climbing 1300 feet in 1.88 miles. However, Summit Springs does in fact pass this, but its much shorter, dropping it in the pain factor.

Analysis of Goats sorted by Percentage of Climb.

The trick with this ride is that you would never dream of connecting to BlackBerry from Kennedy unless you talked to the owner of the house with the "Do Not Trespass" signs like we did today. Luckily the guy was cool as hell and said he does not mind bicycles using this route. I dont mind putting this here as the 5 people who read this most likely wont spread the word to the masses ;) The only other issue is that once on BlackBerry hill, one needs to not notice the two do not trespass signs that are actually pretty easy to miss. I missed the first one. The guy we met said one of the guys up there is not friendly to bikers, but we had no issue at all today. Your mileage may vary. I would consider this the toughest climb around, but it being shorter than Bohlman, still does not quite put it in that class in my mind.

Fun stuff though. After this climb, Hicks was a nice little cool down.

Old Priest Grade climbs 1500 feet in two miles which is a tad over 14%. I did this on the famous Mountain View to Yosemite ride in 2006 training for the Furnace Creek 508. Its good to know this ride was close to that, but not passing it as that was truly mind blowingly hard after 135 miles when your climbing in 90 Degree heat.

38 Miles
5500 feet of Climbing
11 MPH

DMD Update Since March 1st:
Miles 513/621 82.66%
Climb 33520/55000 60.40%

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coast Ride Time Trial

Was a bit tired from traveling to Atlanta and decided to take some time to do a fast coast ride. My stretch goal was to break 3:45 and hit 16 MPH for the ride. I started off pretty fast hitting the right on Arastradero in 18 minutes. I hit the base of OLH in 38 minutes which surprised me as it was much quicker than normal. I tried to keep the heart rate around 165 for OLH and summited in about 23 minutes at 1:01 total time. It was windy on the descent of 84 and I had to battle hard to break 1:40 at the San Gregorio store, but I did manage to do it. I only hit 33 MPH on the descent of Hwy 1 due to wind. I hit 2 hours after Lobitos Cut-Off and pushed moderately hard up the steep pitches of Tunitas Creek. I road hard at the top when the road flattens out and topped out in 2:40 or so. The descent of Kings was uneventful and I managed to break 3 hours to Roberts market. Now it was an all out ride to see how fast I could do it. Painful windy pulls one after another went by and I finished in 3:31 and averaged 16.4 MPH for 5000 feet of climbing. By far a record for me. Was one of those days on the bike when everything felt good. I must be peaking too early for DMD as I wish the damn ride was tomorrow. 4 weeks to go.

I think I feel like dancing now....!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun Climb Today

Managed to climb up Montebello Road today and actually sort of enjoy it. It is usually a massive suffer-fest, but I purposely kept it chilled and was surprised to see a good time of 36:30 when I was done. Clearly the form is starting to catch hold. Its probably the best shape I have had for this time of the year. I need to figure out how to hold it for the next few weeks. It was cool leaving the house and riding to the top of the mountain in "Mountain View" and turning around and getting home in less than 2 hours. Other than a howling rear wheel, it was a great day ;)

DMD Update since March 1st:

Miles 340.6
Avg Speed: 15.38
Climb: 20170

For some inspirational climbing, check out this video. Gotta make the trip some day and try it.

Ryder Hesjedal :: Haleakala Attempt from Media One Multimedia on Vimeo

Just watched the Tirreno Adriatico stage that ended on the Montelupone. Over 20% climb. We need the Tour of California to have a mountain top finish. If they have these kinds of stages in Paris Nice and Tirreno Adriatico, its time for us to turn it up a bit.

Also broke the record for Page Mill on Sunday with a time of 46:55. Pretty cool to bust the record on Montebello on Saturday and Page Mill on Sunday. My time of 22:30 on Old La Honda on Thurs was a record as well, but I stopped for 30 seconds or so I would not go into a seizure after pushing the pace over 10 MPH for over 2 miles ;) I cant count that record officially. Great week. No off to Atlanta to lose all my training ;(

Thursday, March 12, 2009


New Weight I weight under 190 for the first time since George Bush the elder was president. Clearly weight in America is an national obsession. To add my little part to this nationwide psychosis, I post my picture of my scale showing 189. I never thought I would see this. I think I hit 240-250 during my craziest over-eating period in 1998, but I would never jump on a scale at that point of my wreckless maniacal eating. I did drop below this during the PCT of 1995 when I froze my ass off on Red's Pass and spent 2 plus days with a soaking wet sleeping bag in a white-out in late October, but that was a temporary drop. This time, its for real. I managed to make an ex world bi-athlon champ, George Pierce, suffer today on Old La Honda for 2/3 of the climb. I was holding sub 20 pace for 2+ miles of the ride but ended up with lead legs and had to stop and slap myself in the face to keep going. George ended up taking off and finishing way ahead, but it was fun pushing the pace insanely. Ended up finishing in 22:30, but it was as nasty effort. George flew up Skyline to Page Mill and I had to kill myself to hold on to his wheel and felt like I was going to die. Good ride.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Devil Mountain Double 5 weeks out

My plan is to hit 3 times the mileage and climbing of DMD between March 1st and race day. As of today I have ridden 245.6 miles and climbed 12320 feet since the 1st of March. This is 39.55% of the miles and 22.2 % of climbing. I feel great and am confident that a good time is going to happen. I am going to try and keep my off bike time to under one hour. Based on my analysis of DMD times on their website, one hour of off time is rarely done. The average person in the band I am modeling for my time (15-16 hour finishes) was off the bike 1:15. I do not see anybody who was off the bike for less than an hour, however Franz Kelsch was able to do the ride in 15:32 with 1:01 off the bike. Based on what I can gather from his riding and what I know about him from Granger, he is a strong rider and climber. I think I will tattoo his times on my arm to try and stick within a reasonable gap from him. I received some 1 Liter bike bottles today in the mail. I have never seen them before, but they look like a great option to avoid the camelbak. I will not be rolling with a camelbak on DMD unless its going to be above 90 degrees. These liter bottles should be a great addition.

I also got the RAAM 2008 DVD in the mail today and it was a good production. While the race was a Jure Robic blow out, it was fun watching the video. I am a sucker for RAAM videos of any kind, though. Its hard for me not to like it. Will have to try and give it a better review later on.

DMD Analysis