Friday, June 13, 2008

Cypress Hill Climb

Don't they say that the sun is a massive ball of gases or something like that?  You can bet that the person who studied the sun enough to figure that out did not hail from our fair city.

As wonderful and high-ranking on 'livability' indexes as Vancouver is, it sure does rain a lot here.  Rain and cycling go together about as well as pineapple and milk....  mmmm.  blechhhh!

So, when I peered out of my rain shelter (home) this morning and saw a blue sky I immediately put on three or four tight-fitting spandex items and a jaunty cycling cap for good measure.  I have had a hankering for a tough ride ever since I came up with the STP plan (see previous post).

I decided on the Cypress Hill Climb.  I don't believe there is a more iconic Vancouver ride than this one, so I thought it appropriate given my level of excitement.

Cypress Bowl Road is 15km in length (though I started at the City Works Yard which is at km 2).  So then, 13km of 5% average grade, rising in altitude from 255 metres to 916 metres (2200 approx. feet of climbing).  It is also located only a few kilometres from my house so it is very handy.

The road was deserted today (as it often is) and I began toiling up the mountain.  This climb doesn't put you into the red zone (unless you put yourself into the red zone by gunning it) but it is pretty steady and relentless.  I was kind of grinding away - not too fast, but that's why I went there - to get faster!

The Lookout is the first landmark on the climb - a couple of km into the ride

I find the looooong straits on Cypress a bit mind-numbing and mentally challenging but I kept telling myself, "You think this is long?  Wait till you have 300k ahead of you in 1 month!"

Anyway, I eventually reached the top.  I was pretty warm from the effort but felt good.  The satisfaction of climbing a mountain on a bike is undeniable...  riding through the clouds, mist in the air and snow beside the road.  The exertion becomes therapeutic once you give in to it.  I highly recommend it - especially solo (being dropped, or dropping someone spoils the zen moment I find.)

The Ticket Booth - the end of the ride....  usually a welcome sight...

Zip up the jersey and point the front wheel downhill - this is the fun part!  I peaked out at around 75 km/h today - the wind was a bit gusty and made my life flash before my eyes once.  I also rode right past a black bear - which was pretty cool.

All in all, bottom to top and top to bottom again - around 1:05:00.  

I will be spending some serious time on this road during the next month - hopefully bringing that number down significantly.


Later in the day Rob (from Innovative Fitness) unveiled a 'Warrior Workout' adaptation called "Pick your Poison".

It involved:

- 15 x 1 minute tready intervals @ 10 mph.  
- 3 x 1% incline, 3 x 2%, 3 x 3%, 3 x 4% and 3 x 5%.
- Between each interval we had to choose an exercise from a list on the greaseboard - had to do each one once and couldn't do any one exercise more than 3 times.

It was pretty gnarly by the time we got into the 5% intervals.  Luckily we had saved up the easiest exercise (30 band rotations per arm) to do in between the 3 hardest running sets.

GREAT workout and very proud to pull it off after Cypress a few hours earlier.

Have a great weekend!

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Anonymous said...
5% average

MJ said...

The anonymous comment above has a link to an interesting graph depicting Cypress, Seymour and Alpe d'Huez. Thanks for forwarding it... whoever you are!