Sunday, July 15, 2012

Return to Horseshoe Hill

I figured that such a trip needed its own blog post, so here we go. Been doing a lot of riding lately and trying to figure out my bike, still. As much as I love Neo, I am in some sort of love/hate relationship with it, especially when I go on hills or try to do high rpms (>90rpm). I only have about 2 speeds that are appropriate for each of the situations above, the rest giving me either too slow rpms or a too high heart rate or just too much burn in my legs, which I'm supposed to avoid at all costs. So, I ordered myself a different cassette (12-27) that should help keeping those rpms high when going uphill. Right now I have a 11-23 cassette with 2 chain rings (39 and 53) and for those who can do the math in their head, it's not the most appropriate for going vertical. Anyway, after bitching to my coach this last week about the lack of power in my legs and laziness in switching gears, I thought I would go back to Horseshoe Hill for a "baseline" climbing and high rpm workout. I gave my legs a full day of rest and Saturday evening I took my water bottles, my gummies and my victim, aka hubbs, up Horseshoe Hill and back with the goal of accumulating data until I make my GPS vomit.
Mushroom head
The first 15km are always boring and usually uneventful, unless you get an encounter with drive-by screamers that make your heart go through the roof in the middle of your Z2 ZZzzzzzZZZZ. But I will tell you more about this in a separate post. Next, Horseshoe Hill starts with a few rollers then ends with the dreaded SOB climb. It is 5.25km long in total and it takes us usually 18min to go up, 10min to go down. Below is the data view from Runkeeper
and from Garmin

For some of you it's probably just a pimple on the landscape, but for us noobs, the elevation is quite significant, as hinted by my heart rate in the graph below:

The highest peak in my heart rate is 183bpms, which according to my lactate threshold test, it's almost a near-death experience. But thankfully it only lasted about 2 minutes, time to go over the last hump. And speaking of the last hump, I also had the privilege of being vampirised by a deer fly this whole time. It clang onto my calf, just below the knee and while I was hanging on the handlebars for my dear life, it constantly reminded me through pain that I was still alive. So I managed to HTFU and finish the climb while letting the bloodsucker feed on me, then smacked it on its head and proceeded to calm my shaking self down with a few pictures of the landscape.
Glad I'm not allergic to deer/horse flies
View from the top
Notice the 60km limit sign. Ahem. I think I went faster than that downhill, my Garmin reported 66.4km/h max. I'm glad that we had a quite a head wind, otherwise I would have gotten a ticket. They don't give tickets for 6km over, right?

Aside from the flies, this is a beautiful area though, and I know there are bigger and nastier hills around this one, like Mountpleasant Rd, which we did during the group riding clinic. But those will have to wait until after my taper and olympic triathlon, next Sunday!!! (ohmygosh, it's almost here!). I think I am ready. If I can climb Horseshoe Hill while giving sweat and blood at once, I can certainly climb the DVP, which compared to this, is just a bumpity-bump.

I will most likely go back on Horseshoe Hill for more data porn once I have my new cog installed, as a comparison to this. But next time, there will be DEET. Mwahahahah.

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