Friday, July 25, 2014

Death Ride Tour of California Alps 2014

Zachary Hilton
Markleeville, CA 
Weather:  73 degrees avg. Sunny and temps rising, cold morning, sunny with clouds for the end
Start Time:  6:00 am
Total Time: 09:18:00
Power: 120 W avg, 560 W max, 152 W NP
Average Speed: 13.24 MPH, Top Speed 48.12 MPH 
Average HR: 149 Max HR: 181
Elevation Ascent: 14,606 ft

This is one of the most brutal rides that I have ever done.  When I summited Carson Pass and came through the last checkpoint I wanted to cry and cheer!  I haven't felt that way since Avery was born.  It was such an accomplishment.  It was an epic adventure, and I got to eat ice cream on the top of Carson Pass.  I had a good week of training leading up to the race.  I am just beginning the second phase of my training for the season.  We woke up at 4am for breakfast which was a hard boiled egg (sorry Todd) waffle with strawberry jam, and a banana. I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I rode a 53/39 11/32 on the back just for this event.  It was like having a big pizza pie on the back wheel!

We drove up the night before and stayed in Minden, NV at the Quality Inn and Suites.  A perfect hotel choice, and they open up breakfast at 3am on the morning of the Death Ride.  Monsoon type weather for the first night.  The morning of the ride was cold, but quickly warmed up as we climbed the East side of Monitor Pass HC.  The peaks would cool us off, and the valleys were slowly heating up during the day.  This is a very well supported ride.  At the top of each pass and at the bottom were rest stops.  Porto potties, real food, sodas, V8's, fruit, and food you could take with you.  There is a lunch spot at the bottom of Ebbett's.  I carried way to much food on me.  One of the blogs that I read before hand really helped me pacing myself and mentally finishing the ride on Carson Pass.  Key point for me was maintaing the 60-70% FTP during the entire ride.  That kept me in check on the climbs.  We passed up hundreds of riders during the ride, and many tried to stay on our wheel or pass us....only to see the ones that didn't know what they were doing burn out and we would catch them.  We also met a few people and talked about getting through the mental challenge of riding through the valley and climbing the 5th and final pass.

The valley's before the climbs were around 5,200 ft elevation and the peaks were from 8,300-8,700 ft.  Monitor Pass and Ebbett's would be climbed both sides, and Carson would be climbed on one side.  If you finished all five passes you would get a 5 pass finishers badge.

I carried one small bottle of Hammer Heed with me, and one water.   I stuffed my jersey pockets with food.  I also was taking Race Caps Supreme every two hours.   We had a cooler with fresh bottles and ice cold Mexican cokes stored in my truck on the way to the final climb of the day on Carson Pass Rd.   That was huge, and a mental victory.  You can see how exhausted we were in the video below.  When you finish the ride on the last pass you are treated to an ice cream and a finishers pin.  The emotions that ran through me when I completed this ride haven't been felt since my daughter Avery was born.  I drank some Recoverite when I got back to the truck, and we had some ice cold Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA's waiting for us.  That night we treated ourselves to huge hamburgers from Carson Valley Inn Casino (CV Steakhouse) We ate like kings!  Had some DQ for desert and passed out till we woke up.  Time to recover!  

I got an email the same night when we arrived back in town from Todd.  Titled am I crazy to be thinking of doing this ride again.  I responded no not that crazy!!!  But it means you like to suffer and now you want to see if you can suffer with some PR's attached to it.  The day of really hard events and races I always tell myself I'll never do that again.  Somehow I seem to have  short term memory loss when it comes to suffering on rides.  I always sign back up.  The Death Ride however set the bar so high in that suffering category for me.  None of the races that I have done seem to be even close to what I experienced in surviving mentally and physically.  Kind of reminds me about when I went through the drill academy for Oakland Fire Department.  They ran us through the ringer one night during the night drill, and I have still never felt the exhaustion at a real fire, as I did that night.  If you do it again, I'll do it with you.  I won't do this ride by myself.

My next race is The California Firefighter's Olympics Cycling Stage Race July 22, 23, 24th.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mt Diablo Hill Climb TT

Zachary Hilton
Placing: 7
Field: 14
Walnut Creek, CA 
Teammates:  None
Weather:  70 degrees avg. Sunny and temps rising, windy at start
Start Time:  9:23 am
Total Time: 00:31:08
Power: 255 W avg, 683 W max, 260 W NP
Average Speed: 11.8 MPH, Top Speed 28.6 MPH 
Average HR: 184 Max HR: 188
Elevation Ascent: 1,673 ft

Training Peaks Data

This is one of my favorite events.  It's you vs. the clock and Mt Diablo!  Mt Diablo is where I first got challenged into cycling, and eventually learn how to be a racer.  It's a mid year marker for me.  I had a good week of training leading up to the race including a massage.  I woke up early and had my standard breakfast.  Katie and Avery were coming to join me, and we were heading to a family birthday party in Berkeley after.  My goal was to go sub 30.  Many factors affect a time trial.  The right weather, food, rest, and amount of training volume leading up to race.  I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride Race Rim wheels now.  I chose the 32mm Carbon Tubulars for this race.  It's a climbing time trial

I got a long 45 minute warm up on the trainer while Avery helped me with my Hammer feeds :)  My #SJBCRaceTeam Voler speed suit was the uniform for the day.  I carried one small bottle of Hammer Heed with me.  The start line is about a mile from where we warm up and register.  I chose not to carry a bottle last year.  I drank some on the way and had half a bottle for the climb.  We are all 30 seconds apart and start on a ramp at the Northgate Rd Pay Station.  I'm lined up and ready to go behind my 30 second guy.  He tries to take off and pops his chain off.  You have to get your gearing right before the ramp!  It took the guys 15 seconds to help him go.  I was up with just 15 seconds to clip in both pedals and go.  I managed it, but that certainly didn't help the heart rate  from the get go.  It was windy from the right and front for the first 1.5 miles or so.  I should have been paying attention to my Garmin power output in this situation to make sure I don't over compensate for the wind.  Settling in and not going out hard, is sometimes hard to do.  The wind seemed to slow everyone down. It was my 2nd fastest time through this section.  After that I began to really start crushing at my times.  I wasn't looking at power because I was trying the virtual partner on the Garmin :)  I was essentially chasing myself down.  I PR'ed through every section till the end.  I was standing up on the bike for the steep sections and digging deep.  My heart rate was able to get up to threshold and stay there with no cramping, and loss of power.  Perfect!

I was so close to getting sub 30.   That's what I needed to get on the podium.  I was 1 minute away from 3rd place!  If I was faster in the beginning, I would have made it.  The competition was tough, but it was nice to know that most everyone wasn't any faster than last year.

I set a new FTP (Functional Threshold Power) of 260 Watts.  Thats a huge accomplishment for me this point in the season.  That was my peak FTP at the end of last season!  Training is paying off!

My next challenge is the Death Ride Tour of California Alps in July 13!  126 miles over 15,000 ft of climbing in one day, and my next race is The California Firefighter's Olympics Cycling Stage Race July 22, 23, 24th.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!

Happy Father's Day to Me