Strategy for KOM attempt

I’d like to attempt my first KOM in a climb. Here’s some background info:

The segment:
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My previous attempt on May/2020 was 46:01. That was sort of a high tempo ride. My fitness has improved from that point. The current KOM is 37:55 set on July/2016. The reason this opportunity is available is because is a half paved road, half gravel road that goes to a private property, so not a lot of competition.

This is how my power curve looks for the relevant timeframe:

30m - 237w
35m - 234w
37m - 233w
40m - 232w
45m - 232w

The structure of the climb is the following:

Part 1 - Paved mild climb (PR: 8:22 at 229W)
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Part 2 - A bit more inclined mostly paved and unpaved surface is very good (PR: 17:41 at 223W).
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Part 3 - This is the chunky gravel part to the top (PR: 16:46, no power info)
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Hoping to get some feedback on how to pace for this effort. I realize I can get some info from places like Best Bike Split, but I do not wish to pay for that (maybe I’ll see what the free version offers and post here). Thanks

Firstly, wow! You live in an area that is higher than the highest peak of my country. Madness.
Regarding your effort. There is this rule of „going hardest when you go slowest“ and it is true to some extent. Since we have different surfaces, I‘d rather say „put the most power down, when it helps you the most“. Depending on how lose the gravel is, you might ride inefficiently there.
Have you tried best bike split?
I usually plan KOMs in segments (like you did), then I look at my best effort (time and watts) and then set a target wattage. From that, I extrapolate my goal time.
I compare the average gradient of the segment and the once of the parts of the segment. I usually never go below 80% of my target power (unless I decent) and never above 120% of my target power. That’s basically how I start out…

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Do you have a bike computer and strava? We did a Time Trial series with summer in my area and racing against my strava best was extremely motivating.

As for your pacing… eat a caffeine gel when you start your warm up and try to sit right at 110% of your FTP power. Don’t get too buried at on the first 3rd. Agree with above advice about going to hardest when you are going the slowest.

Also, try to push the biggest reasonable gear you can for the power output. Its not about spinning up and keeping the power in line with a fast cadence.

Lastly, dont be afraid to turn around and go up and do it again right afterwards!

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I do, I would love to use that feature!..for some reason the Strava Live segments only “pairs” me against other people, not against my best time. I didn’t know it was an option, I guess I should investigate the settings.

Thanks

Best bike split will give you an idea using free version only. Likely to tell you to push harder on the steeper section or at least the section that takes the longest (seems to be close between 2nd and 3rd section).

I wouldn’t worry about cadence or gearing, whatever suits you best for the power you need.

Other obvious non pacing tips: make sure weather is favourable with temp and wind, make bike and yourself as light as possible. Tyre pressure might be another factor to consider if big gravel?

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This is a very good point. I have the Schwalbe GOne 40 inches on my Canyon Grail. Which means I’m conceding a big chunk of time in the paved section. Thanks

I just set my Garmin to get the KOM. It tells you precisely how hard you need to go (just not in watts). If I’m behind, I’m not going hard enough, if I’m 10 seconds ahead, I might be able to ease off the gas slightly for a little while, or press on if feeling good. It’s the perfect way to pace assuming GPS signal is ok in the area. Worked ok for me for about 400 KOMs

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Using lap function also helps me maintain power a bit better.

I find racing against my PB (there is a setting) can be either demotivating (when dropped) or prone to GPS error but def a good option if you have the mental strength to overcome your past self dropping you.

Not sure where you’re based but 9000ft can’t be warm at this time of year? Makes a big difference on longer higher climbs.

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I have a window of opportunity this week, likely between 50 - 60 F…so for me, perfect conditions. The only problem is that we have been having some crazy winds. Just waiting for my legs to recover from Sunday ride. H

Oh and most importantly, wait for the tailwind!

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One thing you can do is set your lap button and watch your average speed. It looks like you want to hold 11 mph. If you know the climb well, then there will be areas where you can pick up speed, and areas where you can recover a little. Your average speed on your bike computer will help motivate you. When I am going for a PR, if I don’t really know the climb, I just lock into what I know is my peak power for the particular length of time. But my best results have been when I went easier where the grade is lower, and harder where it is tougher, which requires really knowing the climb to do right, and to really have a good sense of how easy or hard to go…that is really the toughest part of pacing!

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Ok, so bestbikesplits gives me hope:

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  • So I basically need to ride a bit below threshold for 36 minutes. Which I think I can, unless is one of those bad days.

  • I need to make sure I warm up better, I always make the mistake of thinking a proper warm up is going to “weaken me”.

  • Today will go by car to the gravel section, as I have only done it once and don’t remember the specific parts of the segment.

  • Tomorrow might be the day as Thursday we are having strong winds.

  • I also need to optimize the tire pressure.

  • I never drink coffee, few times I’ve done it, it’s really stimulating, so I think I pass, no need to introduce crazy variance to the process.

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Good luck, you’ll definitely manage it, this time or the next. Keep an eye on windspeed during the day obviously. Half a bottle of water maybe and leave gear in the car at the bottom or have a friend carry your stuff.

Difficult pacing as you’ll no doubt want to go harder at the start when you’re fresh, but looks like a lot of time will be made on the end sections.

Have fun…

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So the gravel is a lot smoother than I remembered it. However, it is more “sandy”. High accelerations standing and turns should see some sliding.