Race Maebashi Akakagi Yama Hill Climb (まえばし赤城山ヒルクライム)

OreoCookie

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I have signed up for the Maebashi Akagi Yama Hill Climb: 20.8 km and 1,313 m of elevation. That should be a fun hour-and-a-half … is anyone else going to be there? I have no illusions: this type of event will favor the featherweights (such as some of my team mates who weigh less than my (slim) wife), so I'll be happy if I get as close as possible to my power targets. Speaking of which, what should I aim for in terms of % of my FTP? And should I pace it like a TT, i. e. start slightly lower in power and finish slightly above my FTP?
 

xDOMx

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I have signed up for the Maebashi Akagi Yama Hill Climb: 20.8 km and 1,313 m of elevation. That should be a fun hour-and-a-half … is anyone else going to be there? I have no illusions: this type of event will favor the featherweights (such as some of my team mates who weigh less than my (slim) wife), so I'll be happy if I get as close as possible to my power targets. Speaking of which, what should I aim for in terms of % of my FTP? And should I pace it like a TT, i. e. start slightly lower in power and finish slightly above my FTP?
You have a little time, so I’d go and do as similar a climb at what you feel is manageable (along the lines suggested above), and then take a look at your VAM/% of FTP for that effort.

Then I’d use BestBikeSplit for the race course. I’ve found that very useful for hill climb races this season. No need to use the premium (paid) version.
 

OreoCookie

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You have a little time, so I’d go and do as similar a climb at what you feel is manageable (along the lines suggested above), and then take a look at your VAM/% of FTP for that effort.
I did that last weekend, although the climb was only half as long (600 m of ascent over roughly 10 km).
Then I’d use BestBikeSplit for the race course. I’ve found that very useful for hill climb races this season. No need to use the premium (paid) version.
Thanks for the advice, I'll give that a go.
 
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xDOMx

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Well, perhaps just extrapolating from that effort. While there are always difficulties knowing what double the distance/climb will mean for your maximum sustainable power, it seems you’ve raced enough this season to know a bit about how your body will react.

The website will give you a ‘race plan’ with segments/intervals throughout, based on what you put in as maximum IF/% of FTP, so that should be a good guide.

Good luck with the climb.
 

andywood

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Back in the day I used to enjoy a good hillclimb!

For the big ones of around an hour, Norikura, Utsukushigahara, Tsugaike, Fuji subaru line etc. I used to lock on to 180HR / 80rpm.

If I did them now, I'd lock on to around 170HR. 3 or 4 beats below threshold.

My strategy was always to "flirt with threshold".

Sit just below LTHR, and drop the hammer at the end.

Personally I would avoid going too deep, into the red, on the steep parts early on. Hold off a little and make good time on the slighter gradients where you can lock on to your target pace (HR or W) and get into a good rhythm.

If your practice hill is only half the length, do it twice. On the second climb squeeze it all out before the end.

Good luck!

Andy
 
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OreoCookie

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Back in the day I used to enjoy a good hillclimb!
I love climbing. When mountain biking, most people I know were looking forward to going down while I always savored the uphill bit.
Personally I would avoid going too deep, into the red, on the steep parts early on. Hold off a little and make good time on the slighter gradients where you can lock on to your target pace (HR or W) and get into a good rhythm.
I heard that you should pace these more like a TT, start a little easier and then cross the threshold at the end. I’ll try to work on my steadiness, too, to reduce power spikes, which are good for smaller climbs in rolling terrain, but can really eat into your lactate budget.

Do you think I need a head unit for proper pacing? (I have a power meter as you know, but right now it is being used only for structured training and post ride analysis.)
If your practice hill is only half the length, do it twice. On the second climb squeeze it all out before the end.
I’ll try that. Unfortunately, I have to go ~45 km one way to my “practice hill”. However, I can even add another segment right away that would almost get me to 1,100 m of elevation. I just didn’t have the time for that last weekend (I got held up by a marathon I didn’t know about, and had to push my bike for a few kms, and then lost a bottle, which I had to search for).
 
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baribari

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How are you recording power and HR data without a head unit?

A head unit is DEFINITELY important on TTs and hill climbs. hahaha. Less important for road races.

You can get a GPS unit without sensors for as little as 8000 yen, if not less.
 

OreoCookie

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How are you recording power and HR data without a head unit?
My power meter connects to my iPhone via Bluetooth. I am using Strava to record everything. If I am by myself and have burned off my initial enthusiasm, I am quite good at pacing. I don't trust myself in a race, though. In a road race it is one thing to try and stick with the front group in the beginning, but for a hill climb I know I need to stay within my power budget. All the recommendations I have heard for longer races are to not go too hard in the beginning and to resist the temptation to try and keep up with others.

Any recommendations on what kind of power (average vs. normalized) and power smoothing I should apply?
 

baribari

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That's really personal preference, I think. I generally ride with instantaneous power because I am a nerd, but if I was going to use it to pace an effort 3, 5, 10 would probably be smarter. Maybe even 30 seconds.

You might want to consider simply putting your phone in a sturdy phone holder and use it as a computer.
 

andywood

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I love climbing. When mountain biking, most people I know were looking forward to going down while I always savored the uphill bit.

I heard that you should pace these more like a TT, start a little easier and then cross the threshold at the end. I’ll try to work on my steadiness, too, to reduce power spikes, which are good for smaller climbs in rolling terrain, but can really eat into your lactate budget.

Do you think I need a head unit for proper pacing? (I have a power meter as you know, but right now it is being used only for structured training and post ride analysis.)

I’ll try that. Unfortunately, I have to go ~45 km one way to my “practice hill”. However, I can even add another segment right away that would almost get me to 1,100 m of elevation. I just didn’t have the time for that last weekend (I got held up by a marathon I didn’t know about, and had to push my bike for a few kms, and then lost a bottle, which I had to search for).
I ride with people who never use a computer and people who are obsessed with power. I guess the more experienced you are the less you need to be looking at a head unit.

Of course having a head unit will help you pace your effort. And of course help to prevent you going too hard and blowing up.

I think sitting at threshold and then emptying the tank at the end is definitely the way to go. If it's going to take you over an hour, then maybe a target pace lower than threshold at first?

Personally I find HR as good as, if not better than, power for pacing. Assuming you know your zones and assuming you are properly rested, it is easy to sit in a HR zone.

If you are looking at power, 3s power and lap power is good. If you aren't looking at other parameters, 30s power is also good for pacing.

Also cadence is another big one for me. For longer events I aim for a higher cadence to keep the legs fresh.

Also speed and average lap speed will give you a good idea if you are keeping pace or dropping pace in real time.

Here is an example of one of the screens I have set up for pacing in training.

Speed - Av speed
HR - Cadence
3s power - lap power
lap distance - lap time

There are 8 data fields here. But I use different screens for different situations.

For a TT on the track the other week I just had the screen split in half:

Speed
Av Speed

Andy
 
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OreoCookie

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You might want to consider simply putting your phone in a sturdy phone holder and use it as a computer.
I used to have one of those for my iPhone 4, it worked quite well actually. I probably still have the top cap to which the phone case attaches.
 

OreoCookie

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@andywood
Thanks a lot for the advice. A bike computer is definitely on my list of things to get, and I probably need to wait a little longer — unless I can get a used one from one of my team mates. (Although they aren't big into selling their old equipment …)
 

baribari

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I have the same one. The upload function is *garbage* (it takes ages and you can't close the app while uploading) and you can't change settings once you start an activity, but it's a great deal for the money. The auto backlight is also lacking (it's based on sunset time instead of light levels).

The data format also doesn't work with Golden Cheetah or the DC Rainmaker analyzer or video data overlay software, though. That's probably the biggest downside. Oh, and it WILDLY overestimates calories despite the fact that I have a power meter, which is unforgivable.

I am thinking of upgrading to a Garmin or Wahoo for the Strava live segments and advanced analysis tools (VO2max and FTP estimation).
 

OreoCookie

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Well, it seems the best option is to wait until I can afford the real deal then. Software is getting more and more important these days, and at least in theory I prefer how the Wahoo head units work.
 

xDOMx

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Definite vote for the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt from me. I was a Garmin user (sufferer in my case) for years; the Bolt is a game changer.
 

theBlob

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I did that race a few years ago. It’s a slow burner, first 10km are around 5% and you should be looking to draft for that entire time. then it kicks up for the last 10km pop out and say bye to the dude/s you drafted up the first part. There are usually thousands of people entered of all abilities so you will most likely be passing people all the way up depending on which group you start in.
It’s definitely worth riding in advance if you can so you can know when it’s going to kick and flatten out, and also be able to recognize the last few km so you know when to drop the hammer.

I had fun racing it, there were a bunch of people cheering, a Tiako group and a band playing half way up the hill..
good times!!
 
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OreoCookie

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I did that race a few years ago. It’s a slow burner, first 10km are around 5% and you should be looking to draft for that entire time. then it kicks up for the last 10km pop out and say bye to the dude/s you drafted up the first part. There are usually thousands of people entered of all abilities so you will most likely be passing people all the way up depending on which group you start in.
Thanks, that is good to know. So there are corrals? Do they assign you to a corral at random? Now I understand the line-up as well. And how long does it take to get up there? I reckon 1:20–1:30 is a realistic time for a cat 3 racer?
I had fun racing it, there were a bunch of people cheering, a Tiako group and a band playing half way up the hill..
good times!!
That sounds awesome, makes me so looking forward to this.
As an aside, racing made me appreciate all the volunteers that make such an event possible.
 
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