A few days ago I did a bread and butter workout that hurt a lot. The goal of the workout is to do three repeats of Snowbowl Road in under 1 hour and 30 minutes of total climbing time. This workout was taught to me by JR six or so years back when he was winning El Tour de Tucson and riding professionally for Successful Living. JR was one of the most disciplined training partners I have ever had. And he was always just a little bit (ok, sometimes by a lot) stronger than me so I suffered like a dog. Which of course is exactly what you want in order to get better.
Since I’m a low, almost no, tech guy without even a computer on my bike I got out my trusty watch that was given to me by my wife’s father. I basically wanted to get the first climb completed in just under thirty minutes, the second one the same or maybe further under thirty since you are all warmed up and open, and the third one in my experience you always need a little cushion for because you are going to be tired. The fastest I have ever gone up Snowbowl was 27:22 or thereabouts in 2012 racing for Flagstaff Cycling. So going a shade under thirty minutes is not blazing fast but steady fast, basically enough pressure so you are breathing full on and recruiting all the muscle fibers in your legs nearly up to the maximum, but not quite. It doesn’t sting right away, but it wears you down and hurts consistently throughout the entire workout. The hardest part may be maintaining mental concentration, not letting up, and not getting down when the load seems too much.
I went 1:29:58, just barely making it! Then I went up a fourth time very gently to wind down and burn some calories, and get one last peak at the crack in the earth far off in the distance that was carved by soft water through stone over deep ages of time. Going up the mountain traversing biological life zones, moving from ponderosa pine to aspen, spruce, and fir always thrills me, every time. This workout is good for climbing of course and I did it with preparation for the Mt. Evan’s hill climb in Colorado in mind. But it is also good for time trialing and generally training your engine to recover from hard efforts and work at a high capacity for long periods of time. Thanks JR!