Climbing Again

Temps in the 40s, kind of raw, rain was looming, so what the hell. Let’s roll out of bed and take the Langster to Kearsarge. I haven’t really climbed since mid-August.

This was sort of a field test for Mt. Wash. I really want to run singlespeed at next year’s practice ride, maybe the race itself if it proves viable. So this morning I brought 22×18 (1.22:1) to the mountain as sort of an experiment. Kind of a conservative choice, but I wanted to pick a gear that I thought I could push for 7.6 miles. Mt. Kearsarge toll road is slightly less than half that, with the first mile best simulating the average grade of Wash.
This was actually a blast. Enough so that I did it twice. I made two runs up the toll road; a conservative effort yielding 35-ish minutes and a second all-in effort for 34:08. That’s fairly slow. I gave up almost 7 minutes to my PR, which I did on my geared bike last summer. But what I gave up in time, I got back in training value. It just felt better. This setup really danced up the road. I felt pretty awesome. Even with underinflated tires – I’m without my pump at the moment. Fun little last minute surprise.
My Polar shit the bed, so I have no data to review, but while my second climb was 7:00 off my geared bike PR, it’s important to remember that this is Kearsarge. There are two distinct flat (more or less) sections on the auto road that you can really put time into…if you have the gearing. With 22×18, I can barely spin these sections, and do a fair amount of coasting and waiting for the grade to pick up. So this comprises the bulk of the time losses here.
But Wash….ha. Washington doesn’t have these sweet little reprieves. It’s consistent, unrelenting madness for 7.6 miles. I’m now curious enough to wonder if this might level the playing field for the singlespeed setup. So that’s the plan for July’s practice ride. As for what gear to pick – probably keep it safe and pick a straight up 1:1 ratio. You never know what you’ll get up there.
On my second trip down the road, I met up with a hunter about halfway. I really didn’t think about the fact that people might hunt up there, but they sure do. We chatted a bit, and I made a mental note to wear something a lot brighter than all black the next time I do this during hunting season. He said he sees bear in the area regularly. Not sure I’d be really excited to see that on the toll road at night. Noted.

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