I do love a good challenge and 8,800 meters (or 28,871 feet) of climbing is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you need to complete the goal within nine days. As with most endurance cycling challenges, though, it was not the riding that made matters so difficult, it was finding the time and navigating professional and personal waters to successfully get it all done. Having just returned from a four-day trip to undertake the Lap of the Lake 1000K, I've been working through a backlog of professional and household projects that makes it difficult for me to get out and ride for sustained periods of time.
As a result, I sought to ride the hilliest roads I could find within the shortest distance from my house. In other words, to get this done, I needed to be either going up or going down a hill. No flatlands for me. Anything lateral was a waste of time. Up, down, repeat.
All told, I completed the Challenge by climbing 31,689 feet in 265 miles, which involves climbing an average of 120 feet per mile. Phew! While my plan did not strictly involve a series of hill repeats, I did make quite a few out-and-back trips over the local ridge line. For my last big day of climbing, for instance, I crossed the Mohonk ridge six times collecting 5211 feet in just 32 miles or about 165 vertical feet per mile.
I think Strava should award a special honor to those riders who cover the greatest vertical distance over the shortest lateral distance. It's the ratio that's important, isn't it?
Finally, at the top of the Popletown climb (yes, they spelled it wrong not me) I spied this interesting and cryptic sign. Apparently, there is some French hill-climbing group in the area of which I am unaware. I should keep my eyes out for them, though, as I'm sure they'd make good training partners, especially as we all gear up for Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015.
Up next: a Catskills 200K permanent is in the works for the end of the week.