On October 7th I’ll be riding the Mount Diablo Challenge, a timed ride over 10.8 miles with 3,249 feet of elevation gain. The peak is at 3,849 feet above sea level. The ride can’t be handled as a normal bike race due to the number of riders (957 last year), so they time you using an electronic chip that you wear during the ride. Since the only other time I’ve ridden to the top of Mount Diablo was over ten years ago on a mountain bike, I thought I might as well get in one practice ride.
The goal that I plucked from thin air was to finish in under 1 hour and twenty minutes (average of 8.1 mph). Given the average 5.7% gradient, and especially with the final hundred meters being a leg breaking 17% gradient, that sounded reasonable. Finishing in under an hour (> 10.8 mph) gets you a “One Hour” t-shirt, but I had already written off all hopes of that.
After today’s ride, I feel extremely confident in my decision to forget about the t-shirt. Although I beat my goal by reaching the top in 1 hour 12 minutes and about 45 seconds, I don’t see myself chopping off a lot of minutes before the official ride in eight days. Now that I know the route better and am more familiar with where it is relatively flat and where it is steep, I think I can definitely improve my time. But, with the big mass of other cyclists moving up the mountain at the same time, I’m sure I will lose some time going around slower riders and trying to stay out of the way of faster riders.
My heart rate monitor captured the stats below. I forgot to stop it until after I slowly rode across the small parking lot at the top, stopped riding, stopped hallucinating, and got off my bike. As to why I ended up with 11 miles, either I didn’t calibrate it very well, I started my ride before where the official start line will be, or I rode a little farther because I didn’t always take the straightest line through a lot of the corners (though I’m proud to say I powered up the last 100 meters in a straight line).
- 1:13:20 riding time
- avg 168 bpm
- max 179 bpm
- 1148 kcal
- 11.0 miles
- avg speed 9 mph
- max 21.2 mph
- avg cadence 73
- max cadence 110
I definitely hit the max heart rate during the brutal climb at the end. I looked down at one point and saw 178.