Hill Repeats on Mount Diablo
Well this weeks schedule called for hill repeats, at least one schedule did, always best to have two training schedules that way you can always find something to do. I've done hill repeats on Mount Eden, a number of times but was looking for something that offer more of challenge and sure enough I found it! Mount Diablo is 3800 feet tall towering over the surrounding area, I've hiked it a couple times before but attempted cycling, however seems to be designed for it there is a 10 mile paved road that weaves up to the top.
The climb starts through a residential area with a number of potholes one of them causing me to stop and retrieve my back headlight which had shaken off. Once through there you enter the State Park and the road becomes better as the climb gradually became steeper the views got better. It isn't until mile 5 of the climb you realize you haven't even seen the top yet and there is still a long way to go.
At mile 7 you can start to see your progress and feel a real sense of achievement. At the this point in the climb my heart rate was at a steady 170bpm. I had managed to pass a few other crazy cyclists on there way up, having someone to chase always helps.
Just around this corner was another mile and half of tough climbing. Finally I could see the summit but what remained was was a very steep climb. On the last final 800 yards, I could feel my heart pounding and was becoming out of breath, yet the end was in sight I had to keep going, I checked my heart rate and could see it was in the high 190s, but I figured I still a few beats in me so continued. I made it to the top having reached a max heart rate of 203bpm, the highest I had ever done while cycling.
In just over 1hr 15mins, I had reached the top only having cycled 12.5 miles, though it had been a long and steep 12.5 miles. I took some time at the top to recover and chatted with another cyclist, it turned out he too was training for Ironman Canada in August. After 10 minutes of recovery I headed back down; now for the fun part. While the road was steep and fast it also had many sharp turns and sheer drops off the edge, so I kept my speed below 25mph for the most part going down hill. The main obstacle turned out to be cars, while they could easily pass me on the way up, they were so friendly about letting me pass them on the way down. For sometime my speed was constrained by a Ford Taurus with a license frame which read "Sexy Senior Citizen", thankfully they turned at the junction and I was able to continue down without a pace car a head of me for a while.
I soon reached the exit to the park, the descent took nearly half the time of the climb, as it should :-) Of course it wouldn't be hill repeats if I didn't do it again, so I turned around and started the climb, at least this time I knew what I was facing. The ride up was nearly identical to the first I even dropped my chain in almost the exact same place. That final 800 yards was just as tough even though I had to pull over to let a car pass me, this time my heart rate only hit 202bpm. Now it was getting late in the day so I decided to take a few phots from the top and make my final decent and go home.
Ride Details (click here to view Ride on Google Earth):