Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fillmore: Fail!

Still recovering, obviously, from Mt. Tam on Saturday, I rode yesterday to Bike Nüt to try on some Bont A-1 Shoes they'd ordered for me: undrilled to allow custom drilling of a 4-hole Speedplay pattern, with straps, not buckles, to save weight. Issue is Bont sent the rounded-sole shoes rather than the flat-soled required for Speedplay pedals. But at least I wanted to try them on before having Bont sent the proper shoes. BTW, they were 217 grams each, quite impressive, and the fit is what I'd expect for the shoes pre-heat-molding, so I'm excited about those even if a bit dissappointed the delays mean I don't have them for key rides this season.

Bike Nüt is right off Fillmore Street on Filbert, only a block from Union, where the famous climb which had been featured in the late-great San Francisco Grand Prix. Despite my tired legs, I couldn't resist having a run at Dan Vigil's Strava record for the climb. This was more timely because I was on my Fuji SL/1, rather than my usual Ritchey Breakaway, which is around 3 lb heavier.

Fillmore StMeasured Fillmore profile

One thing I did correctly: Normally I climb Fillmore in a 23 or, if I'm feeling frisky, in a 21 cog with a 34 or 36 up front. Today I put it firmly in my 36/26 low gear. This was going to be about speed, and speed requires cadence, as opposed to my usual "the challenge of steep" approach where it's more fun to attempt it in a gear which doesn't exploit my compact crank.

But other than this, it all went dreadfully wrong.... I fell three seconds short.

A nice thing about Strava is it allows you to track your progress on a segment relative to the KOM leader, or relative to anyone else who's logged a personal best. One thing to keep in mind is GPS isn't perfect, and there will be some error in the relative position of each rider, so we won't be perfectly synchronized. Thus the actual "gaps" may be distorted by it thinking we're at the same place, whereas actually one rider is at a flat cross-street while the other's still at the start of finish of a steep block. But that aside, I think it's safe to assume the gross trends have validity.

In this case, Dan burst out to an almost immediate 2-second lead. By the first intersection, Green, I'd closed that to one second. But by the opposite side of that street he'd taken it back out to three seconds. He extended that by a single second during the beginning of the first 17% block, but I shut down the full gap by near the top. The next intersection, Vallejo, he shot off again, gaining four seconds on me. Amazingly I managed to catch, then pass him on the second 17% block, the third and last block of the climb. But he caught me at the top, riding at least twice my pace across Broadway to the finish of the segment on the opposite side of that street.

Obviously I was being too cautious at intersections (generally a good idea, but there's good visibility on these). But what else?

The power data tell the full story:

Power, cadence, speed, and altitude from Golden Cheetah.


On short efforts like these, it's really important to hit them hard right from the start, then suffer through. You can see the power in my first block (5-second averaging) is clearly less than the second two. This is non-optimal. Then you can see at the cross-streets my power drops substantially as I spin my low gear up to around 90 rpm. Obviously I should have up-shifted, punch it home.

Next time I won't make these mistakes. So with a bit of luck I won't be slowed by cross-traffic at the intersections (as I wasn't on this ride, just by my own caution), and will get that KOM.

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