Ride difficulty

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Ride difficulty

Postby johnncarol » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:53 am

I am not sure why but this year the ride seemed to be very difficult. It seemed to us that there were certainly a larger number of people using the SAG (not us). Does the SAG team have a number for comparison? We did our first ride on CO 2002 so I went back to look at previous rides and was surprised to find that in terms of distance and elevation, it wasn't much different than previous rides. I couldn't get elevation for 2002, 2003 and 2004 but I do have distance. There have been two prvious days over 6,000 feet, one in 2005 and the 2008 ride had a 6862 foot day. One of the ways to compare rides is to look at the average feet per mile of climb over the whole ride. 2010 is not much different than any other ride. I did not include any optional days or distances on days with optional mileage.

2002 501 miles
2003 386 miles
2004 396 miles
2005 429 miles 20,681 feet 48.2 ft/mi
2006 417 miles 24,956 feet 59.8 ft/mi
2007 419 miles 21,993 feet 52.5 ft/mi
2008 358 miles 19,218 feet 53.7 ft/mi
2009 385 miles 24,142 feet 62.7 ft/mi
2010 402 miles 24,300 feet 60.4 ft/mi

We have done 2002, 2006, 2008 and this year. So why did it kick our butt in spite of being the best prepared ever and being on the lightest bike ever. Maybe age is showing or perhaps it was all in my head. The saddle sore that started on day 4 certainly didn't help any.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby spokhand » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:41 pm

I think this year may have seemed harder for some due to the Palouse rollers. I tried to explain to some people that the climb on day 2 (Rattlesnake) and over Tollgate the last day were just that, climbs. With sustained climbs most people just put it in a groove and go; not necessarily fast, but they just do it (ala Nike). On day 3 I heard more people complaining about the ride than I have heard before. Living in Eastern WA and having experience riding the rollers, it is a different kind of ride. Also, this time of year we always have a headwind, seems like that no matter what direction you are riding. With rollers and headwind, it is difficulty to get into a rhythm, it seems as if you are always working extra, whether going up or down. The rollers were also part of the 5th day and the last day. Those coupled with some fairly harsh chipseal at times breaks a body down. No real way to train for that. Anyway, it was a great ride. Welcome to the Palouse!!!!
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby wayneh » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:04 pm

I agree with the previous comments regarding the rollers, the headwinds and the chipseal. I didn't think this years' ride was any more difficult or long than other years, although admittedly, I did not get in as much training and longer rides as I would have hoped beforehand. The rollers can start to wear you down, particularly at the end of a longer ride. It's hard to carry momentum into the hill when you have riders 3 or 4 wide trying to figure out what gear to shift into, or just taking up the lane unnecessarily when they're not passing anyone. More often than not I lost what speed I had and ended up just grinding up over the top. There were some truly enjoyable downhills that rewarded the efforts on the long climbs, and I thought the hospitality and friendliness we enjoyed in Claskston and Waitsburg provided some of the highlights of the week. Once again, I came back physically challenged (and sore) but mentally refreshed and ready to put the daily stresses of life in perspective.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby Force 5 Robert » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:54 pm

I loved this year, but have to agree with the roller/headwind/surface comments. It gets old. Throw in endless seas of nothing to look at and you are in for a long day.

I am hoping to a return to some deep forested turf next year. Love me some shade. :)
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby Chuck B. » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:14 am

I remember at one point commenting to someone, "Does this road go anywhere, or does it just wander around through these wheat fields forever?"
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby woodenidol » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:55 am

Oddly it was opposite for me. I didnt find the roller days that bad. I didnt even think of day three as a roller day. Day five was, with plenty of steep sections that could make you grind if they were long, or you didnt get a run at them.

Rattlesnake and day 7 were my tough days. I nearly imploded on Rattlesnake and still am unsure why. Day 7 was just long, not alot of fun in my mind.

Chipseal is unpleasant, and I do think it wears you down some. My heavy as sin Surly and ridin 28's may have helped me more than the Carbon folk pounding away on 23's and 25's though.

I rode for the most part alone and was slower than I anticipated on every day but day three. Day three I rode faster, but that was in part because a Carbon guy annoyed me early which resulted in a testosterone pissing match. The only casualty was my buddy, who managed to hold my wheel for near 50 miles. Not sure how he managed it, but he was a wreck for the rest of the week.

I have no previous CO experience to draw on, so I cant compare difficulties. Seemed difficult for the kind of ride I expected it to be. Im not sure how you an take in the sites of small towns, but most days you are forced to ride fairly hard and steady or risk being pretty late. Seeing sites is not my thing, so I didnt care, but that seems more the point of this ride.

So JohnCarol, how many miles did you get in before it? Did you guys climb much? I reached the goals I had talked about in other posts, but think my lack of sustained climbing hurt me on day 2 and 7.

My telling jokes to people on hills seem to help me get up them as well as anything I tried. smile.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby johnncarol » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:51 am

We didn't reach the goal we set in our training plan but we were happy with our preparation. Starting in April we did a little over 1,600 miles on the tandem and I did about 1,500 miles with the club. We climbed about 70,000 feet on the tandem and most of that was done on two roads with sustained climbs. Carol also worked with a trainer in the gym three days a week, focused on strength training for cycling. For us, days two and seven were easier that the rollers but I think much of that was mental. We have two roads with big rollers here but the hills are closer together so we can get up our speed and carry much of the next hill, something that we couldn't do in Oregon. Athena to Pendleton may be the most boring ride we have done. Headwind is less of a problem on the tandem but with the weight on two wheels, the chip seal was murder. We knew the area of the ride so there wan't much of a surprise for us. We got it all done and got to camp at a reasonable hour, usually 3:00 to 3:30, so we were happy with our performance but it was a tireing week.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby yo mamma » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:08 pm

seriously? sounds like we gotta call the waaa-mbulance :x
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby On Your Left » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:35 pm

I didn't get sick with the norovirus this year, so it was an easier week, overall. I'm 54 with average fitness. I'd tallied ~9,000 mi. of biking since 2009 Cycle Oregon. It was an above average tally, but not significantly so (I work commute via bike 35 miles / day).

This year's climbs felt like all climbs and didn't pose any more or less challenge that I can recall from other years. My significant training change this past year was riding lots of miles in the Gorge and on Marine Drive, intentionally into the wind.

Yup, sounds crazy, but months ago I read someone's comment on this forum that the presence of wind mills in that region might provide clues about wind. Personally, I'd prefer cycling up Mt. Everest to bucking wind all day. However, through wind-specific training, I finally found a cadence and riding position putting me into a steady groove -- similar to the routine for seemingly endless hills.

I'd be disappointed if CO admin. began editing climbs, rollers, or potentially windy areas from future CO route planning. Some day, it'll perhaps pose too much challenge and I'll have to adapt with another strategy.

As far as the open, somewhat featureless landscape went, I was accustomed to it from spending too many hours than I'd admit atop a combine in Kansas. What appeals to me in such places is the absence of too many humans and their collective garbage such as one might come across in large urban and other rat-maze regions.

One thing is for sure, that is, when I rise in the mornings, it sure isn't with the same spring in my step I had when I was 20 :)
Last edited by On Your Left on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby raftersteve » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:39 pm

I enjoyed the diversity of the route and the challenges each day brought.

no changes needed!

-steve
CO '10,'11,'12,'13
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby Jackson » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:52 pm

We don't keep an overall tally of riders Sagged. In my observation, we did sag riders almost every day. Not any more than previous years and fewer than expected on both Day 2 and Day 7. Day 3 always kicks the riders butt. I think it falls into several days on the saddle more than anything else. Most train a little during the week and a few weekend rides (back to back riding). Few have a chance to ride more than 2 days in a row as they train.

The lack of things to look at on several of the days as well as the rollers I believe played a role as previously stated. With 2 layover days well spaced, I would have thought there would have been less complaints but some of the days were longer than the typical ride.

Longer and tougher rides seem to be a favorite of the riders but are usually followed by an easier ride the following year. Stay tuned for more information.

John
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby boldaddy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:20 am

There really isn't a way to make everyone happy all the time. If the route was flat, the climbers would complain, too hilly and the heavier guys like me would complain....

I do wish that the days were longer than 24 hours. There was too much fun stuff do but my body needed to sleep at night. CO committee - have you figured out how to monkey with the laws of physics to fix that?

The Rollers - probably should have been called a series of small climbs. For me, a roller means that I can maintain most of my flat ground speed for a short burst to the top. That said, I enjoyed the "Rollers" just fine. I decided to drop back from my fast friends (that could Roll over the tops) and meet new friends instead. As far as the view - I loved the feeling of negative space brought on by the wide open Vistas.

Like many people, I have a family and lots of activities to schedule. As such, my training consisted of riding most Saturdays (avg 50 miles), one painful century and then bike commuting about 30 miles a week. In hindsight, I would have planned at least one back to back day for training. I had actually never ridden two long days straight until CO this year.

The Views from the ride were amazing. If I have to complain, it's about being stuck at my desk now instead of back out on the road.
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby Alex from Eugene » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:19 pm

boldaddy wrote:The Rollers - probably should have been called a series of small climbs. For me, a roller means that I can maintain most of my flat ground speed for a short burst to the top. That said, I enjoyed the "Rollers" just fine. I decided to drop back from my fast friends (that could Roll over the tops) and meet new friends instead. As far as the view - I loved the feeling of negative space brought on by the wide open Vistas.

Like many people, I have a family and lots of activities to schedule. As such, my training consisted of riding most Saturdays (avg 50 miles), one painful century and then bike commuting about 30 miles a week. In hindsight, I would have planned at least one back to back day for training. I had actually never ridden two long days straight until CO this year.

The Views from the ride were amazing. If I have to complain, it's about being stuck at my desk now instead of back out on the road.


Agree on all counts, especially the last. I have commuted by bike two days in a row after a moderate recreational ride Sunday which is helping the CO withdrawal. Agree also that what I called "giant rollers" really were lots of small hills and much harder than normal rollers in consequence. I liked the open vistas fine but am glad to be back in the temperate rain forest of Western Oregon especially now we are finally getting some nice weather :mrgreen:
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby spokhand » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:29 pm

Ah...the rollers, for those of us who live in the beautiful Eastern side of the Northwest, welcome. As for nothing to look at, notice the azure ski against the golden fields and brown to green shades. The way the shadows play against the contour of the hills, the ever changing colors and contours of a Palouse landscape. Much rather see that than the bland green on green of trees and hills that limit your horizon and don't let you experience the diversity of beauty and color of the horizons, rolling hills, the Blue Mts., the oasis of a green park (Athena, Winston, etc.) and the openness of living. Beauty is what you see of it, if all you can see is a long road and endless pavement, you missed half of what Cycle Oregon really is. I am almost 60, it never fails me to enjoy the ride and life as you experience each day. Now, I am at my office every day, much rather be riding. :D
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Re: Ride difficulty

Postby johnj » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:12 pm

I am 66 and did the ride after hearing about it for years and getting support from some older folks who had done it. I enjoyed the chance to be out of the daily routine with lots of time to reflect on whatever. I have driven and hiked in the area covered several times but found biking to give me a different feeling for the landscape. The layover day in Waitsburg was rewarding I did one of the local options suggested by the town booth had a wonderful time. I gather from the postings that some folks view the ride as a challenge which is ok with me but having room on the ride for tourists was great. I favor a 60 mile ride between camp grounds with longer options This allows the slower riders to drop back out of the way of the black shorted teeth griters and still make it to the lunches and campground on time.
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