Ups and Downs

Next weekend I am riding the Bike Fest century out of Hillsborough, NC. It advertises 5000 feet of climbing. Lou has been warning me about it. I have noticed this year that I am actually pretty strong up the hills but have trouble hanging on when people top the hill and try to make up time.Lately I have discovered some things that explain why my climbing has improved.

Most of my miles come on my commute, 12 miles each way plus the occasional errand. I have been doing this ride more days than not for over a year. I weighed my commuting bike a while back, so I have known it is 30 pounds before adding the bags. Yesterday I weighed the bags with a typical load and they are another 20 pounds. Also recently I started using the Plus 3 iPhone app to record my rides and log them for charity. One thing I discovered doing that is that I have almost 1000 feet of climbing each way on my commute. So I am climbing nearly a 1000 feet twice a day with a 50 pound bike.
I haven’t weighed my road bike but I would guess it is some place between 20 and 25 pounds. I now understand why I am climbing so much better than last year.
  • alpainter


    I won a race with only three guys one time (one was a sleep deprived new father, and the other had just beaten the flu), and had similar feelings. UNTIL my then cycling coach reminded me that I had DFL’d (dead freaken last) the week before at Nationals and I should be psyched that my luck went from bad to good in such a short amount of time.

    So, the point being is that you accomplished a huge milestone, Jeff thought it was kick ass enough to put it on the site and you should be very happy with what you did.

    That’s all we have time for today, we’ll pick it up here next week….

  • richarddort

    First off, congrats on the improved climbing!

    My recommendation for descending better is to watch motorcycle racing. Stuff like MotoGP, World Super bike (WSBK) and Super Sport (WSS), or even the AMA series has some serious talent in it. If you want to hear me rant pop in the video of any descent in a Grand Tour and watch the look of horror on my face. The guys in the back know how to descend because they have to catch up. The guys in the front, not so much. Stuart O’Grady, watch him. The key to proper descending is all about properly picking your line and apexing the corner correctly. You are trying to go through the corner as fast as possible, with the least amount of pucker factor. That is motorcycle road racing in a nut shell. Also, if you learn to Apex correctly, you can use that knowledge to get through corners safer by being able to pick a line that gives you many ways out encase of an emergency. The other thing is just getting to know your bike in a different way. Good rubber and proper pressures are really important here. The concern isn’t as much as raw sticking power as you’d think. What you want is good feed back from the tires telling you and your bike what’s going on and how much grip is there. Also, if you are bombing long descents your tires will heat up, which increases your tire temp, which decreases feel and grip. Unfortunately a lot of this also, is programming your brain.