Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hills In The Heat

I learned a valuable lesson over the weekend. At least I think I did. I don't do steep hills in the heat so well. Cycling in the heat? No problem. I just drink more and the breeze blows the sweat off me which keeps me cool-ish. I can do that for quite a while. Going up steep hills for a few hours when it's over 90 degrees? Not so good. Especially on tired legs. I'm thinking that not having the cooling effect of a breeze is something I'm just not equipped to deal with these days.

The plan was to do two Little Tujunga Loops (if you click on the map you can see the elevation profile):

The first loop would start at 6:30 and go clockwise. At the end of the loop is a 7-Eleven so I'd fuel up, turn around, and do the loop counter-clockwise. I think it's actually a pretty good plan.

On the first loop I took every hill easy. If I felt like I was working my legs at all I dropped down into lower gears until it got easy (or until I reached first). On downhills, I coasted as much as possible. The idea on the first loop was to save my legs for the second loop. Much like in a longer-distance triathlon: save your legs on the bike for the run.

I got to the 7-Eleven and felt tired but good. I bought a Slurpee, Gatorade, a Snickers, and some potato chips, went to a nearby park, and fueled up. By the time I got back on road again it was pretty hot out. I had to stop a few times while going uphill and, finally, after seven miles I had to turn around and call it a day.

So the lesson here is either: long, steep rides need to wait for the winter OR I should have put ice water in my second water bottle instead of Gatorade so I could have poured that over my head. I'm leaning towards the former. I will need to test out that latter theory at some point, though, right? ;-) In any event, I will try this loop-de-loop again in November-ish so I'll know for sure if the plan is a good one or not.

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