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-   -   My road to Haleakala (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1179514)

Syscrush 07-27-19 12:49 PM

My road to Haleakala
 
Hi all. I decided a few years ago that I want to ride up Haleakala for my 50th birthday. I still have that goal but I'm up against a few challenges:
  1. I'm about 60 lbs heavier than I should be for this effort.
  2. I don't really have an appropriate bike.
  3. I'm out of shape and have knee and back problems.
  4. With 2 young kids (1 and 4), it's tricky to find time to train.
  5. The clock is ticking - I've got about a year and a half to get this done.
The good news:
  1. I can cut 60 lbs in 6 months if I'm serious about it.
  2. I have 2 bikes that can be made workable for training, and I can rent something ideal for the climb when I'm there.
  3. Cutting the weight and doing more training will definitely help my back problems, hopefully the knees don't get in the way too much.
  4. My wife is 100% supportive of this goal and is willing to incorporate some fun activities for the kids into my plans for long training ride days.
  5. 75 weeks is definitely enough to make a bunch of positive changes at a manageable rate so I can make this happen.
My intent is to use this thread as a log of my training and weight loss, and cover a bit about bike choice & prep, too.

Right now, I'm a 240 lbs dad of 2 who uses a Tern GSD with electric assist for dropping my kids at daycare and commuting to and from work. The assist means that I can work just about as little or as much as I want on the bike, and I'd characterize my normal commuting effort as about 3-5 hours per week at an easy tempo pace. I'm on a bike and moving, but not pushing hard.

In terms of other bikes, I have a Surly 1x1 26er with an Alfine 8 IGH and 2" Schwalbe Kojak slicks. My plan is to start with that bike for fitness rides, as it's comfy, and my gut gets in the way when riding my other machines.

Once I get a bit more fit, I'll probably alternate between my '88 Gios Compact and my Jamis Sputnik.

For weight loss, the approach will be to just focus on reducing caloric intake - I've had good luck with intermittent fasting and similar approaches in the past, and will likely go this route again.

For training, whatever else I do, I want to work up to doing 1 weekend century ride per month sometime next spring, and then keep doing that every month until the big day in Jan 2021. My thinking is that if I can get to the right bodyweight, and use the right bike, the ride up Haleakala will be comparable to a difficult century ride, so it makes sense to do that regularly as part of my training.

Cyclist03516 07-27-19 01:47 PM

I am a goal based dude too. That is a great one! Good luck! If life conspires against you an you don't quite make it, be thankful for the gains you made, rent an ebike, and do it anyway!

Syscrush 07-27-19 02:09 PM

A little update on my hardware:

The Jamis is really nice, and I love it, but it's a bit punishing to ride right now - even with its kinda low gear ratio. I think it'll stay in the basement until I've cut to 199 lbs.

The Gios has served me very well, but it has 2 issues: first is that the custom dropouts I had made for the IGH conversion are having problems - I designed them with not enough meat. They flex a bit when the wheel is changed, and as a result they've reached retirement age. My choice now is to have a new set of custom dropouts made, or switch back to the original horizontal dropouts and put a normal derailleur groupset on the bike. I'm on the fence about which way to go. If I went with a new gruppo, I'd be able to swap the IGH + Schlumpf onto the Sputnik. This would significantly increase its utility, and significantly decrease its charm - so I'm torn. Likewise, going to a Campy Centaur 50-34x11-32 would make the Gios an awesome and versatile bike for a modest price, but then I'd still be stuck with something that's both heavy and that has semi-brutal ergos.

Another option is to sell both bikes and buy a nice entry-level carbon road bike and just start racking up miles. Maybe I should even be considering a performance hybrid with flat bars (or even risers). I probably should, but the emotional attachment to a nice road bike with drop bars is very strong.

Right now, I feel like I've gotta get serious about decreasing my body weight and increasing fitness so I can earn whatever the next step is bike-wise.

terrymorse 07-27-19 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by Syscrush (Post 21047434)
My thinking is that if I can get to the right bodyweight, and use the right bike, the ride up Haleakala will be comparable to a difficult century ride, so it makes sense to do that regularly as part of my training.

Haleakela is a long, relentless, uphill grind. Training with centuries is a great idea, but you should also train on some long climbs to get your legs, glutes, and lower back ready for the extended effort required. If you don't have long climbs in your area, then find a decent climb nearby and do some hill repeats, adding more repeats as you get more fit.

OBoile 07-27-19 07:05 PM

Sounds cool. I'm definitely interested in following your progress. Good luck!

patrickgm60 07-28-19 08:33 PM

I rode Haleakala when I was 52-1/2, 2-1/2 years after I had started riding. Had lost 30 pounds and gotten decent at climbing. Rented a Trek with a triple crank, "just in case." The round trip still took me over 5 hours. Reaching the summit choked me up, realizing how much healthier and fitter I was, than when I was 50. Would love to go back, some day. (The West Maui loop is also an amazing route.)

Good Luck, stick with a plan, and please keep us updated.

mgopack42 07-29-19 01:30 PM

It is on my bucket list too. going to Maui this fall, hope to bring my bike. good luck with your planning and preparations. my advice is to cut the goals into bite sized pieces, and then start in on them one by one.

zacster 07-31-19 03:00 AM

Good luck with this. It is a very difficult ride and I'd recommend an all out road bike for training. You won't be doing this on a hybrid or IGH type bike. And you'll need to lose a lot of weight before you even try.

Read my thread here: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...volcano-2.html

Syscrush 08-12-19 11:44 AM

Thanks to all for the support and advice. The following are small steps, but I want this to be a document of my preparation, so here it goes:

First is that I'm gonna start wearing actual cycling clothes for my commute. It feels dumb to spend 10 mins changing before and after a 30 minute ride, but the truth is that I'm getting sores or chafing from trying to ride all the time, and that's interfering with my ability to actually ride every day. I am hopeful that once I've lost 20-30 lbs, this might be less of an issue, but for now it's something I have to manage. I know that's kinda gross and borderline TMI, but if others are having similar issues I hope it helps them to know that they're not alone.

The second is towards both motivation and approach for cutting the weight. My wife and I are taking a weekend getaway in a couple of weeks to celebrate 10 years of marriage - on that weekend I'll drink the last beer of my 40's. I'm not a heavy drinker since our kids were born, but I do still really love beer. My weight loss reason for doing this is to eliminate the calories from the beer itself, and from the gross foods that I tend to overeat when I've knocked back a few brews. My motivation reason is that I think it'll help me keep my game face on. Every time I want a beer or am offered one and I pass, it'll be a little reminder of what my real goal is here. I think that weaving those reminders into my day-to-day life will be helpful.

Syscrush 08-12-19 11:58 AM


Originally Posted by zacster (Post 21052946)
Good luck with this. It is a very difficult ride and I'd recommend an all out road bike for training. You won't be doing this on a hybrid or IGH type bike. And you'll need to lose a lot of weight before you even try.

Read my thread here: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...volcano-2.html

This is a great writeup, thanks for sharing it.

base2 08-12-19 12:23 PM

The above mentioned bite sized goals bit is solid advice.

Switching to cycling gear is a smart decision. You don't necessarily need to go the whole hog though. Even more so if you are self conscious about the way you look/feel right now. I hover dangerously on either side of 200 and cotton just does not play well if I sweat at all or ride more than 5-10 miles. So I have been known to don my favorite cycling shorts only with a generic t-shirt. If mountain biking or cruising the night-life areas on a Friday I'll wear basketball shorts over so no one is the wiser.

With fall/winter coming up cycling leggings would be a smart buy, & in winter I just add blue jeans &/or snowboardingor genuine cycling rain pants as cold, rain, snow dictates.

Here is a pic of me commuting to work in 15 degrees farenheit after it became too cold & dry to snow:
https://live.staticflickr.com/7859/3...e0328f49_o.jpg20190205_051013 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

My point is: You CAN do it. Just break everything into small achievable goals & solve each issue as it arises. Saddle time. There is no substitute.

Good luck!

Syscrush 08-13-19 01:29 PM

Thanks. By "wearing actual cycling clothes for my commute", I basically just mean cycling shorts. Depending on weather and mood, I'll wear my Club Ride shorts or leggings over them. I have all this stuff already, but haven't been busting it out for just commute riding. In the past, I was self-conscious about wearing Spandex stuff in public, but I've gotten over it. I haven't been doing it for my commute ride because it seems excessive to gear up for such a short ride, but we are talking about approximately an hour a day on the bike, and my discomfort issues are cumulative.

At my current weight, there's a lot of soft tissue interference. When I ride in jeans, I arrive at my destination daydreaming about how awesome it would be to have a thigh gap. Even at my target weight, though, I don't think that's in the cards for me. Rockin' proper shorts should make a big difference - I might even do the bib shorts and just commit up front to changing all clothes before and after the ride.

zacster 08-14-19 09:50 AM

I always wear cycling shorts on the bike, even when commuting. I was usually close to the only one on my fairly busy commute in NYC wearing spandex. I'd also wear breathable synthetic athletic type shirts, but not cycling jerseys. When the weather got colder I had cycling specific cold weather clothes that I'd wear, but the issue would be lunchtime when I didn't have a proper jacket to go out. Not a big deal though. This is all moot now as I retired this week!

caloso 08-14-19 10:34 AM


Originally Posted by terrymorse (Post 21047751)
Haleakela is a long, relentless, uphill grind. Training with centuries is a great idea, but you should also train on some long climbs to get your legs, glutes, and lower back ready for the extended effort required. If you don't have long climbs in your area, then find a decent climb nearby and do some hill repeats, adding more repeats as you get more fit.

I've done it twice and I really have to amplify what terrymorse said. It is absolutely a bucket-list ride and an amazing achievement. It's also a real slog. Do long climbs as often as you can; the longer the better. Also, you'll benefit from long, steady efforts. Hours long steady efforts.

zacster 08-15-19 04:08 PM


Originally Posted by caloso (Post 21075168)
I've done it twice and I really have to amplify what terrymorse said. It is absolutely a bucket-list ride and an amazing achievement. It's also a real slog. Do long climbs as often as you can; the longer the better. Also, you'll benefit from long, steady efforts. Hours long steady efforts.

Absolutely! Climbing and more climbing is the only way to be prepared for this. No amount of flat riding will get you ready. I tried that and failed.

Syscrush 08-22-19 02:18 PM

I feel like there would be value in getting a power meter, so I'll have some idea of the effort I'm able to put down vs. what will be required to haul myself up above the clouds. Is there any good reason not to do that?

Lemond1985 08-22-19 02:25 PM

It's a non-stop 35 mile climb, I really don't see how a power meter would help much, but I could be wrong. I dunno, find a one mile hill and climb it 35 times for practice? I have no idea how someone trains effectively for something like that.

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/7.Haleakala&sa

caloso 08-22-19 02:45 PM


Originally Posted by Syscrush (Post 21087780)
I feel like there would be value in getting a power meter, so I'll have some idea of the effort I'm able to put down vs. what will be required to haul myself up above the clouds. Is there any good reason not to do that?

Not just that, but it will help focus your training leading up to it. In my experience, the most important work is to raise your FTP, which is typically done with long, steady intervals, like 2x20's. Power meters help you do that with more precision and will provide you the data to analyze as you further refine your training.

caloso 08-22-19 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by Lemond1985 (Post 21087801)
It's a non-stop 35 mile climb, I really don't see how a power meter would help much, but I could be wrong. I dunno, find a one mile hill and climb it 35 times for practice? I have no idea how someone trains effectively for something like that.

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/7.Haleakala&sa

35 x 1 mile is not the same as 1 x 35 miles.

Lemond1985 08-22-19 02:52 PM

Geez, I have a whole army of would-be fact checkers here. Did you not read my last sentence?

Grotug 08-23-19 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by Syscrush (Post 21071825)
[snip]the truth is that I'm getting sores or chafing from trying to ride all the time, a[/snip]

I'm a skinny guy and never had issues before this season when I decided I was going to ride 5 to 6 days a week religiously. Now I use this before every ride: https://www.amazon.com/Glide-Chamois.../dp/B07V59N3GM and I find it works really well (even helps if you already have sores). It's the only chamois cream I've tried, so maybe there are better ones? But it works for me.

I'm looking forward to following your progress. I am not very familiar with Hawaii and was not aware of this climb. I think this climb would suit me as there are no super steep sections and it's steep enough to actually feel like a climb (I hate 3% noodling "climbs"). Maybe I should move to Hawaii for the winter and do my winter training on the slopes of Haleakala.

Syscrush 08-26-19 10:11 AM

OK, so this weekend I had the last beer of my 40's, and I also braced myself and hit the scale to check out the damage. It looks like I'll need to cut more like 70 lbs rather than 60. If I can cut 50-55 between now and the end of March, then that gives me lots of time to train at near my target weight and work off that last 15-20 lbs.

My thinking about using a power meter is that the only way to come close to replicating the effort of this climb is to estimate the wattage required and train to that as a target. My understanding is that at a bodyweight of 180 lbs, I'd need to make about 200 watts for about 6 hours to do the climb. So if I validate that as the target, then my training would attack this from 2 sides:
  1. Maintaining a 200W output for as long as I can. With more training, that time should go up.
  2. Riding as hard as I can sustain for 6-7 hours. With more training, my average power should go up.
  3. Cutting weight, the climbing speed for a given power output should go up.
Of course, making 200W on the shore of Lake Ontario and at 7500 feet are two very different things. And at the higher elevations there's also significant wind to factor in along with the climbing. But I think that it makes sense to get some sense of the output I can manage and use that to frame my training.

I've also just learned that a DEXA scan is much cheaper than I thought. I think I might go ahead with that now and again in the spring to help asses my progress and also provide some perspective on the power numbers.

caloso 08-26-19 10:36 AM

If you get a PM, get this too: https://www.amazon.com/Training-Raci...s%2C193&sr=8-1

Syscrush 08-27-19 11:10 AM

I'm doing a bit of research and finding that despite there being an explosion in the number and type of available power meters, they're all still stupid expensive and require the use of a dumb head unit that I don't want. So, a good power meter setup that I can switch easily between my various bikes would be an all-in cost of about $1500. Meanwhile, it remains free to just get out there and f**in' giv'r. So I think I'll be going with the latter option. :)

terrymorse 08-27-19 11:34 AM


Originally Posted by Syscrush (Post 21094833)
I'm doing a bit of research and finding that despite there being an explosion in the number and type of available power meters, they're all still stupid expensive and require the use of a dumb head unit that I don't want.

Yeah, I'm kind of with you on that point--still on the bubble when it comes to a power meter. But I already have a Garmin 830, so the easily swapped pedal power meter idea is getting my attention. This one-sided pedal system seems to be the least expensive:

Favero Assioma UNO Side Pedal Based Power Meter

And they get a good review on dcrainmaker.

How hard is it to swap pedals? Tempting.


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