Friday, September 17, 2010

Pere Marquette Hills

Good Morning, I hope this finds you well.

This was my view last night at the top of Pere Marquette. As I said before, sometimes you have to stop looking at the road to realize how fortunate we are. It doesnt' get much more beautiful than this:

Following my more technical blog this last week I figured I would go out and "do" some of the things that I talked about. Last night was hill repeats so I got home, threw my bike on the car and headed up to Pere Marquette park in Godfrey, IL. It was a beautiful drive and especially as things start to cool a bit and the air gets a little more crisp and a lot less muggy.

Anyway, just outside of Pere Marquette lodge there is a hill and actualy if you go to google maps and zoom in on the area they have actually taken pictures of these hills that you can preview before you go ride. I basically rode up to the highest point in the park, turned around, and rode back down. On my fourth repeat I just kept going and rode the loop back to where my car was parked.

My legs are pretty spent this week so my power was low but it felt just as difficult as when I rode on September 6th when I was coming off a recovery week. Below is a map of the ride, in addition, my training file is also here. If you like to ride and are looking for hills this is the best I have found that is semi-local.

Today Acropolis Technology Group is the prime sponsor at the SimmonsFirm Foundation golf charity event so my run very well may not happen today, we will see. Tomorrow morning Don B and I are meeting to repeat the ride from 9/6 so it should be a challenge, especially on rubbery legs, I will let you know. I may even try to compare the rides on 9/6 with fresh legs and tomorrow with fatigued legs. I will be curious as to how they stack up.

Lastly, good luck to Rick Mann and all of Team Godzilla and the St. Louis Tri club that is doing what looks to be a very challenging Branson Ironman 70.3. It is billed as being very very challenging so good luck to all.

Here is the file from last nights ride:

What you are looking at is a graph showing % Grade, Power that I am applying to the pedals, and Heart Rate. I would have graphed speed but I didn't want to share my sub 5 mile per hour climbs with the world.

The reddish line is Heart Rate and as you can see, climbs with the hills. The good news is that it doesn't get higher on each repeat meaning that my HR didn't degrade over time. Now, there is a lot to be said for the relative shortness of the ride and there are many variable but the fact that my HR didn't reach max and actually stayed the same is encouraging.

The yellish line is the %Grade of the hill. In my screen capture, I highlighted the steepest section at 16% grade. For those of you that don't cycle, 16% grade is a lot. There are steeper out there but I can tell you, I can't maintain climbing at 16% for very long. Good thing this was a short section.

Lastly, the purple line is power. If you look at the highlighted section you will see that I am applying the maximum force to the pedals at the times of this steepest grade at a little over 500 Watts. I have peaked for a few seconds over 700 watts but only as a spike. I can only maintain 500 watts for a very very short amount of time and it really uses a lot of energy. For long races when you need "steady state" or constant power it is imperative that I avoid these huge spikes because it takes so much out of the legs.

So, that was my ride from last night. I hope it makes sense and again, if you have any questions or want me to specifically talk about some aspect that interests you plese let me know at

Have a great weekend.

Tracy Butler

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