Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How Hiedelberg could kill a man...

This is something I can't understand: how a bike can near kill a man.

Pressed for time last Sunday I headed out to the southwest of Albany to get a couple hours of riding in on the skinny tires. I'd planned to head about halfway up the Hiedelberg Escarpement, a ridge outside of town that begins to loom over you as you get onto progressively smaller country roads. Unfortunately I can't read maps (or wasn't paying attention), and my route took me winding to the top. (And you know it's the top by the beautiful views, and the cell phone towers.)

Here's my route:

There's no way that the map can convey just how out of shape I am, so let me say this: at the top of the ride I actually had to get off and walk the last hundred yards or so. I've never, ever had to do this on a road bike before and I have to admit that it was pretty humbling. I imagine if I had a 27-tooth cassette in the rear -- or a compact crankset -- I would have been fine, but on Sunday the choice was stop and walk, turn around with my tail between my legs, or fall over and hope someone found me. So I walked. Of course as soon as I unclipped the only car I'd seen for minutes pulled up behind me to make sure my humiliation was witnessed.

So yes, I have been beaten and unmanned, but I'm ready to go back for more: at my slow pace, the ascent took somewhere around 25 minutes, all but a couple hundred yards or so were uphill (there were two quick dips). Some was just steady climbing, but there were a few switchbacks and steep pitches. Needless to say it was quite a change from doing repeats on Mt. Sinai (which I was never very good at, and I haven't done for almost a year now).

There were a few minutes where the only thing that got me through were my snazzy new bottle cages. But survive I did, and I'll live to ride -- and walk -- another day.


co2cycle said...

Attention Class,
You should not have dismissed the Hiedelberg Certainty Principle: given the Upstate location of a Pirate, momentum will certainly be greatly reduced and may seem, at times, indistinguishable from stationary.

DukePirate said...

Further, one's momentum on two wheels is inversely proportion to the rate of completion of one's dissertation, though no known link has been found outside of the laboratory. Advisors have postulated theories regarding time as a fixed quantity and one's ability to procrastinate as infinite and thus gas-like in its ability to fill the said space, but conclusive testing awaits the completion of the supercollider in Europe.

curveship said...

25 minutes for 5 miles gaining about 1240 feet:

300 watts
3.5 watts/kg
mid cat 4

Not bad for all the whining you do.

And I love my Ciussi cage too. It's in the parts bin right now, though. Looks kinda funny on a carbon bike.

DukePirate said...

Mid-Cat. 4? That's... uh... pretty much what I am -- who knew? I'm just guessing on the 25 minutes, though: I had every intention of keeping track (so I could tell you guys about it), but once I got tired I forgot my numbers.

I'm going to try to get away again tomorrow for a bit and I'll try a similar route, and (more importantly) try to remember what I'm doing.

Oh, and I knew if I posted up a map and some digits that you would kick some k-nowledge on things. Thanks Ad-rawk!

Anonymous said...

Around these parts, we call them there hills the Helderberg Escarpment. The route to pinnacle is steep and fairly relentless. Some nice climbs in the Glenville hills and Mariaville area as well.

DukePirate said...


Hell indeed! Thanks for the advice on Glenville and Mariaville, too. If they're anything like Thatcher I might wait until I get a little better at hills. Or a compact crank.