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My road to Haleakala

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My road to Haleakala

Old 07-10-20, 12:42 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
Slogging my guts out for an hour with the e-assist turned off, I'm covering about 10 km. But the aerobic workout is really serious. For establishing a baseline fitness, I think that this has some merit - even if I look like an absolute doofus out there. So far, the kids are tolerating it OK. It feels good being able to finally get out and really work hard on a bike again.
I get some really good training on our tandem which probably weighs 325 lbs. all up. The biggest difference is in the crank inertial load which basically means that there's always pedal pressure if we're not descending. That really gets to my legs, or did before they got used to it. There's an elite who used to come out on our hilly group rides in the winter with his lab in a trailer. The dog loved it of course and he got a decent workout. It's totally possible for you to do climbing rides with that setup as long as the slope doesn't exceed your gearing. We did a 154 mile 10,000' climb on the tandem in our late 60s.. My stoker puts out 1/2 my watts.
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Old 07-15-20, 08:22 AM
  #102  
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I'm starting to find my groove doing these short (~1hr) training rides with lots of resistance.

I'll say that it's definitely a huge help having the power meter and HRM. I may sign up for TrainingPeaks to review and analyze my rides and progress. I've found that I don't really have to go looking for specific terrain or conditions to get my workouts in - just keep pressing hard. Even using the e-assist now and then on hills where my cadence would otherwise fall down into the low 50's, I can max out my HR and power - don't feel like I'm cheating myself by using it for those few scenarios (although I definitely feel like more of a hero when I can slog along with it off). Max HR for me these days seems to be in the low 170's somewhere.

The Cycling Dynamics are good to see, too - I expected my two legs to be well out of balance, but they're within less than 1% of each other. This is reassuring to me for some reason.

I haven't had a cadence meter on a bike for a few years now - 10 years ago when my do-everything bike was a fixie, I could spin up to 180-ish for a few seconds. These days I'm comfortable in the 80-100 rpm range, but can spin up to about 160 for a short time if I'm just trying to see how fast I can turn the pedals.

My FTP estimated by the Garmin app is 305W. Time will tell if I can increase that significantly through training, but there's no question that the big gains for improving power/weight for me are in cutting weight. Unless I'm able to cut down to well under 180 lbs, I don't think that a 6hr climb would be doable. I'm excited to continue measuring progress.

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Old 07-24-20, 07:11 AM
  #103  
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Well, between the early failure of my Wahoo Bolt and the massive global outage of the whole Garmin ecosystem, I feel like my grumpiness about crappy bike computers has been a bit validated. I mean, if a ride doesn't show up in Strava, did it even happen?
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Old 07-24-20, 09:04 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
Well, between the early failure of my Wahoo Bolt and the massive global outage of the whole Garmin ecosystem, I feel like my grumpiness about crappy bike computers has been a bit validated. I mean, if a ride doesn't show up in Strava, did it even happen?
What outage? What does one's Garmin have to do with whatever that is? Mine works just fine. The demons from hell don't seem to have descended on it. I don't use any Garmin software other than what's installed on my device.
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Old 07-24-20, 01:09 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
What outage? What does one's Garmin have to do with whatever that is? Mine works just fine. The demons from hell don't seem to have descended on it. I don't use any Garmin software other than what's installed on my device.
Same. I have an old 500 that I just upload directly to Strava and Training Peaks by cable and had no issues.
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Old 07-26-20, 08:55 AM
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The Garmin backend has been hit with ransomware the last couple of days. Apparently everything is all encrypted & disabled. That means no Garmin Connect, no mobile app & no uploading through either of those services to your favorite platform.

Many people do upload from their computer directly from their device to their favorite platform directly & bypass the Garmin backend completly. Perhaps that is why neither of you had noticed. You have been doing it "old‐school" since it was the "new-school."

The Garmin mobile app & Connect & Garmin backend really just automate the process of getting your ride to Strava.

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Old 07-30-20, 12:45 PM
  #107  
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Well, forgive the formatting on this, but here's a shot of my avg power numbers for increasing intervals at about 3 weeks in. I kind of think that those numbers for <10s are some kind of fluke - like from hitting a bumpy stretch while at a very high cadence or something.

These values are all for riding in the seated position. I can't ride standing on the cargo bike loaded with 2 kids.

I believe that these are not the numbers of someone who can climb Haleakala in 6 hours, even if I got my bodyweight down to 180 lbs. Lots of work remains to be done.

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Old 07-30-20, 04:06 PM
  #108  
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I see nothing wrong with those numbers.
It's good to have the data from an actual measuring device. I suspected that the e-assist of the cargo bike was influencing Stravas estimates.

How far those watts carry you is a function of weight. So the real question is how long can the effort be sustained? If the curve gets substantially flatter you may have a reasonable shot at making your goal in the allotted time.

There are online calculators for this sort of thing, but there is nothing quite like raw grit & determination come event time.

Have you tried doing recon yet? Google Earth, Google Maps, could help you familiarize the twists, turns, way points, land marks, etc...in your head before the big day. I'm sure there is a write up or 2 on crazyguyonabike, or elsewhere.

I find that breaking a climb (or any challenge) down to bite sized chunks keeps the task managable.

Inside my head you would hear things like:
"Get to this turn."
"Get to that switchback."
"Get to that overlook."

I also find that constantly asking myself what I need:
"Am I thirsty?"
"Am I hungry?"
"How's my heart rate? Stable at 180bpm?"
"How's my pedal stroke? Round? Square? Like pistons?"
"What is my RPM?"
"Is this the right RPM?"
"How is my position?"
"Is holding this position accomplishing what I want?"
"Am I breathing?"
"Can I be breathing better?"
"Can I exhale deeper?"
All of these questions and many more help to keep my mind both occupied on the task at hand but also how to make the right decisions & stay in control of the situation & myself.

Climbing is a mental game, not a physical one.

Sometimes things don't always go as planned. But if you don't go, you don't make an attempt, then in the process of avoiding failure, you've lost the opportunity to succeed & all the effort? It's all been for nothing.

I've aborted climbs &/or stopped/paused rides for heatstress before it turned to heatstroke many times when the answers to the above questions all start coming back wrong. That yielded new questions: "Am I dizzy?" "Why am I dizzy?" "Am I sweating?" "Why am I 'not sure'?"

During the 2018 Seattle to Portland double century in 90 degree heat, I stopped the ride for an hour just to sit in the shade, 30 miles from the finish then spent another 45 minutes drinking water at a nearby gas station until I started sweating again. Once satisfied I could regulate my body temperature again, I continued on. Similarly, the summer before, I took a nap under a tree for an hour along Highway 97 before climbing Blewett Pass for the second time that day. A similar situation occured 15 miles into my attempt at Hart's Pass & I was not satisfied I could regulate my temperature, so I made the decision to turn back. There is no shame in either outcome & I am proud to have made the right call by keeping mental focus & constant re-evaluation.

My suggestion is the power numbers are a tool. Nothing more. A metric to gauge your current performance against what you know is sustainable. When you make your climb attempt, have power, heart rate, & rpm data on a screen & be constantly asking yourself if what is displayed is sustainable & what is the right decision to keep it so. Keep your mind focused on the questions above & before you know it you will have either made a tremendous accomplishment or a valiant effort you can be proud of.

You still have won either way & no matter what happens you still have sharpened the tools in your mental toolbox strengthend yourself in some manner & added value to your life story in the process.

No one can knock you for that.

Last edited by base2; 07-30-20 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 08-08-20, 06:39 AM
  #109  
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Well, I no longer think that those very short interval numbers were a fluke. I had a good ride yesterday and reset almost half of the values in my power curve. All numbers are seated on a cargo bike - I am curious what (if any) difference it would make if I was on my proper bike, and able to get out of the saddle for those <30s numbers.



I'm seeing some improvement in my "fitness age" and V02 Max values, despite not losing weight - so my fitness is improving. My FTP estimate has not changed in weeks, which makes me wonder if something is jammed up there - a fluke of the software and/or an outlier ride.

As noted before, I've been 100% disciplined about staying off booze, but have really struggled with food intake. This year has shown me that while I have let alcohol get a bit out of hand at times, my bigger personal issues (by a wide margin) are with food. There's nothing unique about my story here - food is a powerful and addictive mood-altering drug, and I have decades of training myself to use it in unhealthy ways: celebrating good times and mitigating bad times. The last 6 months have been filled with stress for reasons personal and professional, and if I want to be a bit kind to myself I can note that it's almost an accomplishment to have maintained my weight through such a time, when my natural response would be to gain quite a bit. I don't know if that resonates with anyone outside the Clyde/Athena forum, but there you go.
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Old 08-08-20, 06:42 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
There are online calculators for this sort of thing, but there is nothing quite like raw grit & determination come event time.

Climbing is a mental game, not a physical one.
Thanks very much for the entirety of this post. I agree 100% with those points, specifically.

Despite being super out of shape right now, I do have some experience with endurance activities in the past (multiple half-marathons and semi-regular solo century rides), and I have maintained for a long time that any physical activity that's sufficiently difficult is an emotional activity.
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Old 08-16-20, 05:50 PM
  #111  
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Thank you for keeping this thread going. I just found it, and seeing the initial date, wondered how it would flow through the (then upcoming, through) current events. As a pure 'training for an incredible goal' alone it would have been worth reading. As as reflection of what you (and myself, and others) are going through, it's absolutely incredible, and worthwhile.

You sir, have already grown more through the challenges than you perhaps realize. I have struggled this year, and only in the past two months started to get things in gear, in more ways than one. To me, your experiences shared are more motivational than an "I just did this incredible thing" story.
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Old 01-08-21, 12:38 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by NewATBikeComute View Post
You sir, have already grown more through the challenges than you perhaps realize. I have struggled this year, and only in the past two months started to get things in gear, in more ways than one. To me, your experiences shared are more motivational than an "I just did this incredible thing" story.
I didn't reply when this was posted, but I did read it and have thought about it a lot in the crazy times since then. I really appreciate the kind words and the perspective.

Yesterday was my 50th, and I did not spend it drinking a triumphant beer on the top of a volcano - or doing anything. The last year feels like an odd mix of success and failure.

What were the failures?
  1. Get to my old running weight.
  2. Train consistently.
  3. Build the power and endurance to do the climb in 6 hours.
  4. Get to Haleakala.
  5. Actually do the climb.
What were the successes?
  1. Get back on the bike and remember how much I love just pushing hard and suffering.
  2. Keeping 100% true to my no-booze commitment.
  3. This summer I also cut out caffeine as I'm not comfortable with what it does to my blood pressure, or how it affects my sleep and mood.
  4. Finding a creative way to train in really difficult circumstances.
  5. Collecting data and getting a sense of my strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Getting through a long list of disappointments and setbacks without abandoning the overall goals I'm setting for myself.
When I switched to riding the cargo bike, which meant shorter duration and higher intensity rides than what I should be doing to train for Haleakala, and when I was thinking that our local velodrome would open long before I'd be willing and able to get on a plane and fly to the middle of the Pacific, I thought that a worthy replacement goal would be to train and practice on the track and register a 50 kph lap - seemed a fitting (and attainable) goal for my 50th. Well, school opened again and I returned to work, and the weather turned, so I was no longer able to get out for any kind of training ride. My wife and I decided that since it would be a long time before we could have visitors, we'd empty the guest room and set up our bikes there on indoor trainers and do lunchtime workouts while the kids were at school. By the time we had that set up, schools closed again due to rising coronavirus numbers here in ON. Now the bed is gone from there and we have little desks set up for our kids to do a mix of play and remote learning.

There's a term/joke/game called "want, settle, get". In this case, I wanted to cut to 180 lbs and climb Haleakala, I was willing to settle for reaching 200 lbs and clocking a single flying lap of a 250m velodrome in 18 seconds (for a 50.000 kph average), and the best I could get on the big day was holding steady at 240-something and making it out of bed to take out all of the leftover Christmas trash before the trucks came to collect it. I believe I will always remember that the first conscious thought of my 50's was "S**T - The garbage!"

But I still believe in the goal and the original plan - even if both will remain on hold for some time still. Once we have school and daycare for the kids again, and when we can do playdates and babysitters to be able to have some time for ourselves, my wife and I will get out on our bikes and ride with purpose. In the meantime, I'm going to stay off booze and continue to give myself a bit of a break on the diet/weight stuff. These are difficult times, and I can what emotional energy I have into making myself feel more stress, or I can take the bits of relief and pleasure that are available to me now, and set my mind to coming out of this shell when we're back to something more like normalcy.

What have I learned in the last year and a half?
  1. I still want to ride up that road as much as I ever did, and I'm still willing to make a multi-year commitment to do it.
  2. I still think it makes sense to try the velodrome as an intermediate goal. Hmmm... Maybe a 51 kph lap on my 51st? A track-riding friend of mine pointed out that I would now fit into the Masters category - kinda funny being a Master and a complete newb at the same time.
  3. Biting the bullet and getting the power meter pedals and a decent bike computer was 100% worth it, and I'm glad for the encouragement to do so.
  4. Even though I'm a heavy guy with a decent musculature who can out-squat the vast majority of serious road cyclists, my power output is not great. It might make sense to do some strength/power training to be able to deliver more watts on the bike. I thought that my <10s numbers would be better than even a trained roadie, but that they'd drop off fast due to my terrible cardio - that was not true, even my peak numbers were nothing special (although I was glad to break 1000W a few times).
  5. Related to #1 - my wild guess that maybe I could sustain ~200W for the whole climb seems overly optimistic. That probably means that getting up in 6 hours is overly optimistic and I should plan/train for a longer, slower grind.
  6. Cutting out booze was a good move, but had no meaningful effect on weight loss. It was probably good luck that I hit this pandemic with alcohol eliminated as a crutch.
  7. When the time comes to cut weight, I'm best off with a slow & steady approach. Just a modest improvement of 1-2 lbs/week would be enough to get me where I want/need to be within a year. The arithmetic is easy, but maintaining discipline will require me to do a better job of reducing/managing stress in other parts of my life. I've made some positive changes career wise, and do believe that a return to normalcy (and greater self-sufficiency from our young but growing kids) will help a lot. I will likely enlist some professional help to keep myself on track and internalize better habits.
  8. I'm done with odd/charming bikes. Once my fitness warrants it, I'm just gonna get a nice all-road aluminum endurance bike with a good mechanical groupset, relaxed ergos, and semi-comfy tires and then have fun riding it.
  9. My knees suck and they do a lot better with short, high-intensity rides than with long rides. Time will tell how that equation changes as I get my weight down.
  10. My current size & overall stiffness makes riding a serious road bike not worth the agony. It will take time before I can get on a nice cool bike and grind for hours.
Thanks again to all of my friends here who have offered advice, support, encouragement, etc. It means a lot.
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