Dirty dozen training for the time pressed
The first answer, I think, is really, eat better.
A BMI approaching 30 (and no, I don’t lift weights) is probably not the ideal body type for this ride.
Second I think, is ride the single speed as much as I can. Maybe MWF or something like that. Greenfield is doable with a little stubbornness. When I can pace that ride out all the way home into squirrel hill instead of granting myself slow pedaling recovery (the need for which may be more mental than physical), I think maybe start introducing some of the pitchy little side streets, see how much of that is still doable SS.
Basically, that’s the core of my conditioning plan, going home the hard way. Building strength, esp, out of the saddle (I’m a tolerably ok sit, spin, and grind it out climber for someone a little stocky and plan to climb in that survival mode much of the time, I just need to be able to tap something a little deeper periodically). I plan to do this as much as my body seems to let me recover from properly and keeping the “finish the hill, finish the hill” mindset on anything I add in. Combined with a little recovery riding and a lot of… “brain not functioning, so let’s take a moment to stretch” breaks, I hope I will be doing my body much more right than wrong.
Yes, I’ll want to do some of the group training rides if they’re still going, it’s just so hard with 4 kids. So maybe in the cards, maybe not. I’ve seen a lot of the hills before. Not Welsh Way, not Rialto, not Christopher (only Berryhill). Not sure if there are real killers in there or no?
I will, whether by training ride in group, or solo, need to get to Canton and Boustead to confirm (hopefully) that the road bike has adequate gearing (and traction) and generally need to plan my gear and nutrition somehow. This’d be my longest ride by about a factor of two and I’ve had cramping issues before. Tips appreciated.
Another “fun” alternative to Greenfield that provides a bit more of a challenge is: across from the Swinburne bridge, turn onto Sylvan, Waldeck, Bigelow, all the way to the top at Lydia, then down to the top of Hazelwood. Just be careful on Waldeck, which is very narrow and technically one-way the other way, but I’ve never met a car on it.
I think Rialto and Welsh (and Canton) are the easiest DD hills. They’re short and not stupendously steep. Rialto’s very difficult to get practice runs on, due to traffic.
In my experience, avoiding cramps is all about not asking your muscles to do more work than they’re accustomed to. That’s hard to do, but the training rides sure help.
If you don’t mind the fact that I’m long-winded as hell, more of my tips are in a “strategies” section at the end of my 2017 DD blogpost.
This year’s route will be extra interesting, with Logan potentially unusable. I’m very curious to hear the plan.
Thanks for the feedback and fun read! I’ve gone to Logan only once and it’s pretty wicked there at the top. Don’t know about that area of town and a natural substitution, but if they’re flexible on where and looking to not miss out in terms of difficulty maybe they’ll skip and kick east at the end to make Dornbush the finale. Never ridden but it looks like a monster.
I doubt I’ll ever attempt to ride the DD, or even one hill, but I’m supremely happy anytime I can climb Federal without putting a foot down, and even better, get from North to Seabright in under 10 minutes.
I trained for the DD somewhat similarly to you byogman. I recommend climbing every hill you can, always choosing the steeper of 2 options. Try to make it to every hill sometime soon just to attempt them and familiarize yourself with the energy needed, lines, and conditions. If you have to put a foot down, do it, but try to keep going after that or turn around and start again. Do some of the training rides. You don’t need to do all the hills in a single ride, but I think you need to get a good 35-40 miles total with more than half the hills in that ride in order to make sure you can handle the full ride. Lastly, don’t get discouraged. Keep pushing, making the right choices, and getting out as much as you can without jeopardizing anything with your family.
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