Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

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Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Jack Hughes » 21 Oct 2013 19:32

In which Jon.e and Jack Hughes, our intrepid heroes, pick up their duelling cudgels once more, and attempt to beat themselves senseless: last man standing.

This time, the battle ground is, gasp.. Hills!



Preamble


As well as having a friendly competition between the two of us, some of the caveats we have in place are, to try events that take us out side of our comfort zone, encourage others to try and do the same. You may think you will hate it so don't try it, give it a go and realise that you have a talent for it. Some of the club have gone down this route and will be very successful, just that big step into the unknown, and history could be yours for the making.

A slight problem with the BotD, is the logistics I have, one weekend a month off, and trying to find an event(s) that we can do. SO, and you all may be surprised to known, and so you don't give Jack a hard time for arranging an event where he steps from is doorstep onto the start line, and the route is on his training ground.

It may seem like I was shooting my foot off with a bazooka, but the idea of the HC may have been Jack's, as one of his suggestions, but the two events on the day, and where they were, may have been mine, as it was my day off, and they were the only ones available. It would mean going well outside my comfort zone, and spend five hours driving for 35 minutes of racing.



I may or may not have mentioned hill climbs. However, the original plan was a mountain bike marathon the week before, but work got in the way of that one. I think Jon.e thought that I would have taken about 1 hour out of him on such an event, so, to try to find a way to assuage my disappointment, stuck his big fat head right into the Lion's mouth.

I would have been laughing. But I was a bit nervous. Hill Climbing is very specialist indeed. That means you have to be small, light and hard as nails. And mad as a box of frogs. There's always a nagging fear, of completely making a tit of yourself, and rolling in half and hour after everyone else over a 3 minute climb. But, as far as we were concerned, this was going to be our own private battle, and I think we just forgot about anything else.

Like jon.e, I had had a pretty big week at work, so no real training. I had also lost any opportunities I had to ride up Ripponden Bank, so in a desperate big to get some idea of what the climb was going to be like, the day before race day, I bunged the bike on the car, drove over, and rode up it a couple of times. Not fast enough to do permanent damage, but fast enough to get an idea of what gearing I would use.

Hill climbing, especially the steeper shorter ones, is very very technical. You can always improve immensely once you know how to ride a specific hill. Choosing the gear is all important. I went for a relatively large 47" - lower cadence, more effort on the legs, but less taxing on the heart and lungs. Which suits my physiology a bit. I had divided the hill into four sections. The first steep bit to the hairpin, the not so steep bit (bigger gear useful here), the second steep bit, and then the final "sprint" to the summit after the third bend. I was going to stand up half way up the first section. then all the way up the third section. I wanted to get to the top of the first section in under 2 minutes - but not so fast that I would hit HR max there - if that was to happen, then I would have nothing left for the remaining 3/4 of the hill.

That was the theory.



Stage 1a. V999 Hill Climb

Stairway to Heaven



A small hill climb in Ripponden, a mere three quarters of a mile in length, starting steep, and finishing slightly less steep, a Cat 4, so nothing serious then.
I arrived, found somewhere to park, the instructions said the church car park was available, but that was full, so chose to park in the village and walk to the start.
Signing on was in the back of a car, no race HQ, no tea or cake, and with sixteen starters, there were more spectators and marshals than competitors.
Met Jack, discussed gearing and tactics, I think I was the only one on a 39, there seemed to be a lot of compacts, and people warming up on turbos and rollers.


I was seriously contemplating taking my turbo to warm up. But thought it was a bit bulky. But there was a lad with the same model, so it probably would have worked. It's the first time I've seen people warming up on rollers too. Obviously trying to win the head game by impressing people with the roller ability etc.

Normally, I warm up for a TT by finding some hills to go up - I'm more concerned about getting the HR elevated than legs. However, this time I didn't want to tax the legs too much - just get the HR up with some fast pedalling. The guy that one was on his turbo when I arrived, with nearly an hour to go, and was the last man off. So he must have warmed up for an hour, then did his 4 minute dash to the top. Interesting.

In the end, I rode up the old road, this is actually a lot steeper, and has a nice cobble section in it. Only went up slowly, and stopped half way up for a pee, but this was enough to get the HR up.

This one was all about road bikes.

Another factor to note is that no one, apart from the Juniors (who have to), wore helmets. You generate so much heat, and getting hot slows you down, coupled with the fact that you are going relatively slowly, that it's just not worth it. First time in 35 years that I have done a bike race without a helmet.



And they're off!

Bimbled around to the start, now, the ones that have done a TT before, the start procedure is basically, a time keeper counts you down, at 30 seconds to go, you clip in and are held in position by a helper, who looks like they would get blown over in a breeze, the starter says go and you get released, you may get a push off, but don't count on it, not falling off is usually a bonus.
Today would be slightly different, the start is on a slope, so unlike a normal cycle ride when you hit a hill with some momentum, this time you have none, your back wheel is chocked by a brick to stop you rolling back, and there are two guys acting as holders, and no push off today either, the brick assisting in preventing you from falling over.

This was intriguing. It hadn't occurred to me that starting on a slope would be required. One of the earlier riders made a complete hash of it, and almost toppled into a passing vehicle. A bit more of a knack, but away cleanly.



This event was never going to go well, although I like hills, for walking and climbing up, cycling is somewhat different, I go up at one speed, and then get off just at the moment before I fall off, sometimes this doesn't work. With much mirth and hilarity, I walk the rest and wear out countless pairs of socks. My tactics came down to Plan A, get up, without getting off some how, no matter how long it would take, there would be no Plan B.

Thirty seconds, and I clip in, the starter remarks that he was looking for a rider in Yellow, as Jack had gone in his Yellow skin suit, but I was wearing traditional black ( one of only two BCTTT cycle shirts in Black ). I reply that I preferred traditional rather than modern.
Ten, five, four, three, two, one, go




The first part of the hill was a long straight steep bit. You could watch the riders going up. Some starting too quickly, then dying half way up. And easy mistake to make.

I basically stuck to the plan, HR ascending, but not too quickly, and not hitting max (which is about 160 on the bike, I usually do a 10 mile TT at about 145-150). HR got to 155 (I looked later). I basically just had time on the garmin, started 1 minute before I set off - an easy amount to adjust. Got to the top in 1:15. A bit quicker than I intended, but heigh-ho.

Tick tock.. Only a minute.. If you've every done power intervals on the turbo, then you know that you can do a minute and full bore, easily. It's just the next two minutes that are hard. And then the other intervals. Except this time, there is no rest between intervals. If I was on track, then just under five minutes left. From now on it was going to get hard. It's basically one big 6 minute max power effort.





The first three hundred yards are the steepest, then a tight left hander, the gradient reduces, but not much. I try to remain seated for as long as possible, sticking in the 39x26 gear (39"), after two yards I am out of the saddle, I sit down, I stand up, I sit down, it makes no difference, I am going nowhere fast, it doesn't matter what position I am in, an asthmatic snail would go faster.
The bend comes and goes, I am wheezing badly, and my legs have taken on the structural integrity of a jelly at a kids tea party, after a minute and a half I am drenched in sweat, wheezing badly, I can't see anything further than my front wheel, and after 350 yards I get over taken by by minute man, 350 yards, I know I am bad at climbing, but 350 yards, sod it, ignore him, keep going.




There's not too much more to say really, sit down, press, putting out 400w-500w for as long as possible. Keep it turning. Breathe breathe breathe. Getting into oxygen debt. HR goes up another 2 beats on this less steep section. The person in front was a non-starter, so no chance of seeing any one. And, to be honest, I don't think about what's behind.




Wheezing badly, trying to draw in breath, I can now taste blood, in my mouth, a funny bloody metallic taste, and I haven't got to half way, the legs are worse than leaving T2 at an IM race, there do not want to go round, sweat dripping down my face after four minutes of exercise and vision isn't brilliant.




There are people at the last bend cheering; vaguely aware of these. Dig in dig in dig in. Everything is screaming, but the mind is now turned off, blood going to the legs, not the brain. Here comes the last bit. HR just 2 beats of the max. Then the last bit. Press as hard as you can as hard as you can. Cheering at the line. Cross it. Stop pedalling.

Interestingly, although jokingly, the organiser suggest that one of the marshals should go to be the "catcher" at the top of the hill. This is something else you get in steep hill climbs. People just tend to pass out at the top, so you have some people to grab them and keep them upright.

Wheel over to the curb and throw up a bit. Next to the guy who has finished before me and is still throwing up. Or maybe my retching has set him off again. His girlfriend looks absolutely appalled. This is probably the highlight of the ride. Brings it home to you how ridiculous it all is.

Turn round and wait for Jon.e. My quads start looking up, cramping, spasming, aching. I can't actually walk, let alone ride. At least it's raining





The road eases slightly, the finish is just past the last houses, a wooden sign in the wall, and it is done.

I cruise a couple of hundred yards to try and get some normality back into my body, if I try and do a u turn now, I will be lying in the middle of the road. A driveway appears, I swing around and cycle back to Jack, and gingerly take the descent back to the car park.

For a race of less than a mile, we discussed, what the feeling equates to, and the level of fatigue. Probably the nearest to it, for me, was attending an athletics meeting, doing a series of heats, quarter finals, semis, and finals over a couple of hours for a sprint race, and then have someone whack you on the legs with a hammer. One of the toughest events I have done, and I finished last.




Clock stopped at about 05:45. Six minutes. Six minutes and I feel like this. Utterly spent.

It now dawns on me that I haven't really thought in any detail about the next event. It was all about this one. The next one is one that I have climbed a few times before, so I wasn't so worried. Just about finding a rythym and digging in. But my legs hurt.



Interlude.

Such is the deep abiding emnity between those two battered warriors, and with about 2 or 3 hours to kill between events, they want back to Jack's to take the dog for a walk... time passes..


Stage 1b V9916 Cragg Vale


Knocking on Heavens Door.





A bigger field of competitors, although it was competing with another hill climb in Huddersfield that afternoon, Internet entry, may have helped swell the ranks, and also the novelty of being the longest continuous uphill gradient in England, Not steep, just long.

At four and a half miles, it is basically an uphill TT, plenty of riders on TT bikes, some with discs.

Due to me not concentrating, and not being corrected by the other riders, I tried to set off three minutes early, but that plan was sunk, it did get some laughs though. I would be off 4 minutes before Jack, my sole aim was to try and get to the finish before he overtook me, if I was to get there first, it would be a bonus.

Just a single starter and holder this time, no brick as there was hardly any gradient. Countdown starts and we are off, the legs are still fatigued, I get my HR up but no speed from the legs, the gradient varies slightly, with the steepest as you pass through Cragg Vale village, occasionally out of the saddle, but mainly riding on the drops, Jack had go e for the TT approach, but I had stuck with the roadie.

The game plan for this was constant pace, just stick with it, watch the distance tick by, and hope for the best, even with the slight raise in gradient, nothing like that mornings, I really wanted to say sod it, it's not worth it, but that is the easy option, where is the challenge in quitting.

The gradient eases as you leave the village and enter the moorland, then the wind hits you, a strong blustery headwind, first very fine rain, then the heavens opened, the deluge hits, the rain whipped by the wind, pebble dashing your face, in seconds I am soaked to the skin, the riders who started before me escaped this, not only are we going up hill, we are getting soaked, and cold as well, what a bonus, lucky lucky me. There may be a photo of me with a thousand yard stare, gasping trying to get more air into my body, a sure thing for the Turner gurning prize this year.

Across the open moors and to the finish, not before time, not as bad as the first race, but utterly spent, I hit my stopwatch and waiting in the howling maelstrom for Jack to appear, he is close behind, but he didn't pass me, he looks cold, quickly turns around and we make a rapid descent, although the term rapid is used loosely, I passed numerous riders going downhill gingerly, carbon wheels, cork pads, and TT brakes not being ideal for the weather conditions, a couple of times I slightly over cooked it, but strayed upright, even with alu brake rims, the stopping power was limited, but great fun. Managing to get back to the car, and changed before Jack appeared, looking slightly chilly.

A great day out, great fun, no it was, something I had never done before, something I am not good at, never will be, but it won't stop me from doing it again, and not last, almost, but not.
My basic aims, knowing that I wouldn't be quick at these, was to limit my loses, no more than 90secs on the first and try and get to the top before Jack, who would start four minutes after me.
Both were achieved, so after the prologue loss, and stage 1, I am slightly better positioned than I expected to be at this stage, early days yet though.




I haven't got too much to say about this one. I really didn't want to be there. I was dehydrated still. But just wanted to go to sleep. I was also thinking about the three hour drive I had coming up. I might have been a bit more focussed if I hadn't had to dash off.

TT for this one. Mainly because it is actually a KG lighter than the other one, and the gearing is more suited to the climb - finer ratios, bigger gears. All to be done in the bottom ring, apart from the first bit. I used most of the gears - from 39x12 - 39x23.

I've ridden this climb a few times. But never like this. People had been saying the wind was bad, and it was. Not so bad for the first 1/3 of the climb which is quite sheltered in the valley, but once you climb a bit, then it is very exposed, with a full on headwind. This made it hard.

I was over taken by a few people (my minute man, my three minute man (one of the seeds), then my too minute man). In some of the windier sections I tried to go on the bars - but it was too uncomfortable. Onto the bull horns.

It was basically utterly hard and painful all the way up. I just wanted to get off.

Finally, on one of the false summits, I see Jon.e. He's probably only about a minute up. And there is still over 2k to go.

This means either: 1) I dig in and attempt to close the gap 2) I ease off, knowing the race is won. There was only ever going to be 4 minutes to gain here.

What I think I opted for was to just to carry on as best I could. But I was stuffed.

Looking at Strava, I think I got to this point in 17, Jon in 20:30. So I think I lost time from this point on.

Jon.e is right - I expect to take a minute out of him on the first climb, and about 4 or the second. So although I finished first, I lost a vital minute. So, really, the victory here is jon.e's. I am going to have to think about swimming now - I really need a 20 - 30 minute cushion before July and the dread IM swim.

I crossed the line. Completely dead.

The heavens opened - bit of torrential rain for the last km or 2.. and all the way back. I was absolutely freezing by the time I got back. And completely wasted.

In many ways that was one of the worst 24 minutes of my life. Although, to be honest, I've not been counting.

I'll have to do it again in the summer, when the event is run again. Got a time to beat now.



Scores were:

GC after the prologue
JH 26m:00s
JE +9s

CLimb#1

JH 05:45.4
JE 06:52.7

GC
JH 31m:45.4s
JE +01m:16.3s

Climb#2

JH 24m:10.7s
JE 27m:04.3s

GC After Stage 1

JH 00h:55m:56.1s
JE +4m:09.9s


People were about 3 - 4 mins on their usual Cragg Vale times as far as I could see. It was not a good day.


For the record, JH's rider+bike combo was about 15kgs lighter than JE's. It's all about the weight.
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby kfjatek » 21 Oct 2013 20:01

Epic (after all, double double) race report gents.

Sounds like a bit of an ordeal - expected on Jon.e's side, surprising on JH's.

What's next on the agenda? Surely a nice little pool swim to allow Jon.e to recoup some of the lost time?

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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Jack Hughes » 21 Oct 2013 20:16

I was more hoping for a fell run to be honest.

Won't be until December though.
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Kevy427 » 21 Oct 2013 21:06

Well done gents, good work
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby ris » 21 Oct 2013 21:25

laffs. well done, boys.

jack - you need to get in the water. stop putting it off. :lol:
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Jack Hughes » 21 Oct 2013 21:27

Don't worry. It's all going to plan.
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby ris » 21 Oct 2013 21:31

you hoping global warming will evaporate the lake?
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Jack Hughes » 21 Oct 2013 21:38

ris wrote:you hoping global warming will evaporate the lake?


I've seeded the lake with the spawn of some of that "man" eating fish.

Either the race will be called off. Or the fish will satiate their appetites on the front of the pack.

Nothing can go wrong.
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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby kfjatek » 21 Oct 2013 22:47

Jack Hughes wrote:Nothing can go wrong.


Famous last non-falsetto words. :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVbyR1zJ9DQ (one minute in, awesome film btw)

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Re: Battle of the Dinosaurs Stage 1. (a+b)

Postby Jimba » 21 Oct 2013 23:01

Well done guys, great races and great reports. This is getting interesting. How big a lead is needed for the dreaded water? Can Jack get big marginal returns on swim training? can Jon restrict the time losses on the running events down to acceptable levels (or better). Who wins the weight loss challenge- is that on %loss or total loss (Jon's advantage if so).

So many variables. It all comes down to the same thing..........who wants it most!
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