Numbers, numbers, numbers…

I’ve been checking the Garmin data. The numbers are starting to make sense.

Forget watts, cadence, and bpm. Just give me mileage, elevation gain and average speed.

It’s been said that Floyd Landis doesn’t like to ride with a bike computer. Or if he does, he likes to dress it up (see 8th paragraph down in the epic profile from Outside 2006). He goes more by feel (and hours in saddle). He’ll time himself on certain climbs, but numbers don’t necessarily turn him on. I’m with Floyd.

Your body tells you when it’s reached a new plateau (if you’re pushing it). Need data? Keep it simple. Especially if you’re not a pro.

No one will ever confuse me for a pro.

George Hincapie is said to use the phrase “no chain.” When he’s riding really well, he says it feels like there’s no chain. In other words, effortless. 

Last year, I had a very large chain. I had a few more kilograms along for the ride, too.

In the planned “build-up” to the 2008 Climb to Kaiser, I had little time to get on form after a March hit-and-run. I logged 953 miles and 71,600′ feet of elevation climb from late April to end of June right before Kaiser. The ride by itself is 14,500′ in a single day.  The pitch of Big Creek Road at 5,000′ and the triple-digit heat on the rollers below Auberry cuts zero slack. Another month of prep would have been perfect.

For the 2009 Kaiser, my climb planning started earlier (December). Here’s my data since I started keeping track:

  • December – 460 – 30,60′
  • January – 537 – 43,100′
  • February – 553 – 38,100′
  • March – 950 – 50,600′


(1) With daylight savings time, there’s now more time to ride during the week. I haven’t ridden a trainer in several years;  I don’t think I could at this point. (Ryan Pettit, you’ve got my deepest respect.)

(2) I am using Palomar Mountain more strategically, and I’ve added repeats on Torrey Pines to get in climbing mojo when time is short. I still do Highland Valley Road, Scripps Poway Parkway, and Old Julian Highway. I plan to add Honey Springs Road and Sunrise Highway. Variety helps.

Goal for this month: Mulholland Century this Saturday. It promises 12,500′ of climb and should be a good barometer on how things are coming along.  

Goal for May: Breathlesss Agony, another century-length climb-fest in SoCal. 

June? Climb to Kaiser and the Sierras, barring any changes.

For sport, here’s a screen grab of Torrey Pines 10x repeats (6x on the main road with large ring; and 4x on the inner road in small ring). Got me just over 5,000′ of climbing, door-to-door. By comparison, Solvang Double Century had just over 7,000′ of climbing. Are you overloaded with data? Is there something numerical that you can’t live without? If so, please share.

Hope your training is on schedule and the roads are friendly. 



2 thoughts on “Numbers, numbers, numbers…

  1. Oh, those last 4 look like there were starting to get to you!

    Landis may not like the computer, but he can pay attention to it when he needs to. It kept him going in the ’05 tour, when he was ready to bail but the numbers said he was actually doing alright. And on S17 he spent a lot of time watching the meter to judge his pacing. “Every time I poured a bottle of water on my head, I gained five watts, so I kept doing it.”

    I think riding without lately hasn’t helped his form, either. For examples, see the ToC prologue, stage 2, and TT. He wasn’t as ready as he’d have liked.


    • Hello Trust But Verify! You are right, the last four did cook my goose; I just couldn’t see bpm. Do you think he’ll start coming on better form? I noticed that Rory Sutherland took the Jack Martin. Did Floyd ride in that race? BTW, love your blog. Amazing compendium of material. And still love Floyd. Hate to see what happened in the wake of the 06 TdF.

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