Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting Ready for the Hell's Gate Hundred

In just under 8 weeks, I'll be once again in my favorite springtime stomping ground, starting my cycling season the way I've been for the past couple of years. AdventureCorps moved its CorpsCamp back a month, to the end of March, to coincide with its annual spring century. I hope the later start dates help to avoid the wicked wind storms of the past 2 years.

The 100.7 mile route covers two of my favorite Death Valley features: the deliciously-grueling climb up to Artist's (F**king) Palette, and the ghost town of Rhyolite. The good thing is that the Artist's Palette climb happens in the first 20 miles of the century, and then there's just the 4400" climb to Daylight Pass before turning around and coming back into the Valley.

From the elevation map, the descent back to Furnace Creek looks positively indulgent, but I've learned not to trust things that look like downhills in Death Valley. Without exception, wind conditions have prevented any enjoyment of any perceived descent every time I've ridden out there. I think I've finally figured this one out: don't count on slacking off before the ride is over.

In the meantime, I'm starting my intense training plan to get ready. I'm following Chris Carmichael's plan designed for Experienced Century riders. You can see the entire plan in his book "The Time Crunched Cyclist". That training started earlier this week. Prior to that, I was going to Ohio Indoor Cycling twice a week, so I think I've got a good jump on my conditioning.

Especially with a formidable goal, training needs to be non-negotiable. I've blocked out every training day from now until the end of March, and I've got every training session written out so I'm not dithering away precious time trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing during the hour and a half (or more) I'll be on the trainer. There's nothing quite as unmotivating as knowing that you've got about 2 hours of indoor riding ahead of you.

And there's nothing more motivating than knowing that you've got 100-some miles of California desert highway awaiting your arrival in the spring.


  1. Oh, that looks like fun. NOT!!!! :-)

  2. I would agree...Have fun training for this one. By the way, I saw your earlier post, did you ever find your bell for your bike?