Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pack Attack

Armed with Saturday's success on the rail trail, I wanted to get a snapshot of where I was fitness-wise. I didn't want to drive far or be out of cell phone range. Pack Monadnock is less than an hour's drive, even closer if I start my ride down in Milford. From Milford to Pack Monadnock summit is just over 2000ft elevation gain. There are some great back roads to hit, including Burton Hwy and Old Revolutionary Rd. The later is dirt, one I've never ridden before. Only a mile of busy Rt 101 is needed to connect with Miller State Park, where the toll road to the Pack summit is.

I still needed to use my MTB, as a road bike just doesn't give me the clearance I'd like to see between boot cast and front wheel. I'm sure I was a sight to see starting out from the Milford oval on Sunday. Once on the back roads though, I was by myself. Some of the steeper bits of Burton Hwy easily exceed 12% grade. I struggled in my middle ring with 1:1 gearing and 26" tires (you do the inch-gear calculation). I fretted over the 20% grade at the top of Pack. Having to put a foot down on that was risky. At least I was smart enough to take my heavily rubber lugged Shimano MTB shoes, which stick to granite and pavement much better than my Sidi's do.

There is around 1500ft of climbing to reach the Pack toll booth. It was a nice, albeit a long warm up. I paid my $4 and gave it a go. I kept thinking my physical therapist would never approve of this. I needed the granny ring the whole way up. I managed to maintain 3.5mph on the 20%, well above the fall-over threshold. My time: 14:35. On a good day with a road bike, I could do low 9's on this climb. I have good data on just how much of a hit ride a full-sus MTB up Wachusett Mtn is. It takes me 16.2% longer on a dualie than light hillclimb bike. If I apply this ratio to my Pack climb on Sunday, I get a normalized time of 12:34. Ok, this still really sucks. Compared with a recent time of 9:35, I'm about 31% slower. This means I've lost about this much power.

I see a lot of base miles in my future. I've never been one to periodize my training, opting to maintain a near constant fitness level all year long. I may leave something on the table by not peaking for big events, but I feel this is partly why I never seem to burn out. I never push myself to a level where I must back down for a while. Well, now I've had an eight week forced back down, actually near zero activity for a while.

A fresh start

Despite being quite slow up Pack, I didn't really suffer that much. My cardio system seemed to barely kick in. My legs were clearly the weak link here. There was a group of other cyclists doing repeats, so I figured I might as well go up a second time. I didn't time myself, but I suspect I wasn't much slower. It was getting warm out after that. It was 16 miles back to my car where it would be even hotter. Time to call it a day. Bombing down 101 and Burton at 40mph was rather satisfying.


DDYTDY said...

Burton hwy to Curtis Farm rd to Dale Or Burton to North rd to Cemetery rd are both great rides on the way back from Pack.

Sorry 'bout your mishap, I just found out :(

Glad your on the mend.

Anonymous said...

Ride these: http://matadortrips.com/photo-essay-the-worlds-most-spectacular-roads-vol-2