Wheels for Hill Climb

For those with money.

I’m considering some disc Roval CLX32 tubulars for racing only on a couple of races with steep climbs (say Snake Alley). I have plenty of time to look around for others as time passes.

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I finished about 5 minutes behind you there. I wasn’t prepared with gearing for the speedy first section and was furiously spinning 130 rpm between the bunches trying to get towed to the base of the actual climb, but was pretty solid with pacing by power up the climb. I did still enjoy it, and learned a bit for next time. Thanks for the consideration regarding the drive down, hopefully I’ll turn up something.

Did anyone make the practice climb? I didn’t feel my absolute best out there but I did achieve my goal --shaved 15:02 off my 2018 time! My total time on course was 1:17:40 which will earn me “Top Notch” status if I can repeat the performance at the race next month.

Winds at the summit were brutal and nearly blew me over sideways once or twice. Visibility was about 20 feet.

Overall a really good day, and I cannot wait for the rematch next month.

And I wouldn’t be a Trainer Road user if I didn’t ask this: What is the best plan to make myself faster in the month I have left? Ideas welcome. I am mid SPB LV right now but only doing the T and TH rides as I like to get outdoors on weekends. Also commuting 1-2 times a week at recovery pace.



nice congrats on the time! Mega improvement from last year for sure. Hopefully weather’s a bit better and you’ll come in under 1:15 no problem!

I ended on the 40k TT specialty plan, but I want to maximize the fitness I have rather than trying to pack some more fitness in there. I think sustained power would be a good plan to add a couple watt’s and tune up nicely!

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Wow, Bryce, that is excellent. Great going, and it’s nice to have that under your belt in anticipation of next month’s event. I’ll be going into it, alas, a bit blind, having not been able to put the pieces together to show up Saturday morning. It sounds like the weather conditions were exciting, too. Darn it. It looks like you put out, by strava estimate and average, just about your 1-hr FTP for the 77-minutes. Way to dig!

I’m wondering if you rode it according to a power plan, or just by feel? For myself, using the various online tools to approximate the finishing time/power output relationship, I’d have to substantially exceed my TR 80-minute “career” power output high mark in order to finish in such a time, and my TR power records have all been made without significant altitude levels. We seem to be in the same ballpark in some stats, maybe I should be aiming higher than a 90-minute finish? I’m sure that the practice ride would have benefited me more than my weekend of weak recovery.
Again - nice going, and way to put in the discipline. Relevant to the thread title, this kind of training and practice is worth more, in my estimation, than an equipment purchase, such as wheels, toward a marginal gain.

Just curious, what watts (and w/kg) did you maintain for this effort? I’d “love” to do it someday (how one can love suffering is kind of funny lol), just curious where I’d fall in the ballpark.

@hubcyclist - My “indoor” watts/kg is 3.6 according to my last Ramp Test two weeks ago. I am pretty sure my outdoor ftp is 5-15 watts higher than my indoor. I don’t ride with a power meter, but I can tell you my RPE was that of a threshold effort, probably ticking over and under the line at various times as the road pitch demanded. Strava estimates that I averaged about 250 watts and that feels right to me. The conventional wisdom is that 3.6 watts is the threshold most riders will need to reach to make a sub-80 minute “Top Notch” time in the race, depending of course on conditions that day and the weight of your bike and gear. Being able to hold threshold for a long time is the skill that is most trainable for this race, I think. Last year when I did Washington in 93:20, I would think my watts/kg was closer to 3.1 or so.

@hammerkill I’m sorry it didn’t come together for you. It was educational - for example I will be bringing a second gel with me next time, as my power flagged a little in the middle when I didn’t have enough onboard fuel. I also didn’t warm up for long enough. I do not ride to a plan other than to get to the maximum level of hurt that I am able to sustain as fast as I can and then try to sustain it. It is damn hard to keep the effort high on the few scant moments that the road provides any relief but that’s where precious seconds are gained. I am going to ditch the music for the race, as I found it disconnected me too much from paying attention to my breathing and my effort. Music helps so much indoors but outdoors I just didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I think you can shoot for a lower time than 90 minutes - your window is more like 1:20:00 to 1:25:00 based on your Whiteface time. And that assumes Whiteface was reflective of your true fitness – you could be even faster if you weren’t your best that day.

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Mount Washington awaits - and I am as ready as I am gonna get. For those joining the fun on Saturday, I hope you feel sharp, strong and dialed in.

Let’s go give it hell.

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I’ll be looking for bib assignment 311, and you can look for 373.
There’s much less prep time remaining than has elapsed, that’s for sure!
I missed meeting you in VT, but from your time it seems like you’re more than ready.

So…Right on, let’s get it.


Bib 148 for me. Can’t wait for this bad boy! See everybody tomorrow (See you tonight @Bthoffma!)




Good luck all. Share your reports, will ya?

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Race report! It was a good day!


Amazing. You guys killed it!!

I did this yesterday too, a little more slowly than you guys :slight_smile:. I am happy with my time though, 1:32:44. When I signed up for this thing I was just hoping to make it up.

I’ll record my setup/prep here in case it helps a TR user in future years:

I rode a 2011 Specialized Crux Comp-- an aluminum cyclocross bike with a BB30 bottom bracket that came with an FSA Gossamer crankset with 36/46 chainrings. I knew I’d want a smaller chainring than the 36, but there isn’t much available for BB30. I swapped the cranks to a SRAM Rival crankset with a removable spider. My understanding is that Rival and Force have removable spiders, while Apex and Red don’t. I was then able to install a 30t direct-mount chainring.

For the rear I switched to an Apex 1 derailleur and a Shimano Tiagra 11-42 10-sp cassette. This gearing seemed perfect for me. My average cadence was 77 during the race. Obviously a stronger rider can get away with a more conventional setup, but I think for a weaker rider like me gearing setup becomes critical.

The bike weighed in at about 20.3 lbs without my bike computer and water bottle. My wheels weighed 2045g, without cassette, skewers, or tires. Rear wheel was a 32-spoke Mavic Open Sport with a powertap hub.

I ran 28mm tires, Conti 4000s ii. I did slip a little bit on the gravel, don’t know whether a narrower tire would have been better or worse. Flatted a latex tube in the parking lot (field) at Ascutney, so switched to butyl. 55g penalty per tube according to my scale.

Interestingly, changing my crank and removing my front derailleur didn’t change my bike’s weight. The Rival crankset is extremely heavy.

What did save 1 lb total was the following: removing front derailleur cable, removing lever and shifter internals from front brake hood, removing phone holder, and changing whatever bar tape was on the bike to SRAM tape with plastic bar plugs, instead of the heavy bar plugs (which contained a screw) that it came with.

I also weighed all the skewers I had lying around and chose the lightest ones. About a 45g difference each compared to my heaviest.

I paced the race using best bike split and this website Open as App - instantly open your data as an app, and used a Garmin 530, tried to slightly exceed power targets. My plan was set to a time of 1:36:48. I wasn’t able to make it up for the practice race so I exported the best bike split plan as a trainerroad workout and did it on my trainer that weekend in July. Did do Ascutney, which was a good confidence builder and good to test the bike setup.

For warmup on the day of the race did the trainerroad workout called “Cajon” as an outdoor workout on my Garmin, on a trainer (didn’t have my phone). Seemed good.

I started training for this in January. First thing in my life I’ve ever trained for. SSB mid vol, spb low vol, century low vol.

For reference my ramp test ftp is 258, ~3.35 w/kg, averaged 237w during the race, 243 np.


Well done! Very close to the time I got last year on my first attempt. You have a wealth of knowledge now if you want to try and improve and a hell of a good “one and done” if this was it. A great bucket list ride and nobody can take away that you reached the summit of that monster in very respectable time. Congrats!

Thanks! My current thinking is that this indeed a “one and done”, but we’ll see. If my fitness improves enough by next summer I might be tempted. It was a fun weekend.

It’s fun for me to hear my fellow TrainerRoad users here describe their successes at the event, and how their usage of TrainerRoad and training plans made a significant impact on their performances. I can report both that using training plans and TrainerRoad certainly contributed favorably to my performance and that none of the riders I socialized with at the event had availed themselves of either item. They had favorable impressions of the event, were excited to return in the future, but had stories about what had gone “wrong” for them. This thread began as a concern regarding wheel selection. Not one person mentioned as a problem their choice of wheels, nor could I ascribe fault to their wheel selection for anyone’s tales of things gone wrong.
What hurts people the most in this event, and in the other hill climb events I’ve entered starting this year, is inexperience or their not learning from experience. While we can’t ride this course outside paying to enter the competition, we can ride other climbs and enter other hill climb events. If anyone is trying to prepare for an event like Mt. Washington, I can’t recommend highly enough entering other hill climbs beforehand as education and rehearsals. For those of us in New England or even the greater Northeast region, the BUMPS (Bike Up Mountains Points Series) is ideal. You can start as early as this coming weekend at Mt. Kearsarge, and the entry fees are much lower than those at Mt. Washington. Event link here: Mt. Kearsarge
As for my own performance, participating in this event was a 2019 goal for me, an “A” event concerning preparation for sure, but without a target time, as it was my first entry. I used BestBikeSplit to create a power plan, as I’d also done for an event earlier in the season. I wanted to know - can I execute a power plan outdoors on a course like this, and if I do so will the measurements of my actual outputs yield the results predicted by the model used (BBS) and useful to me in the future? The answer(s), I think at this point, are yes and no.
For the second event in succession, I was unable to get my computer to properly present target intervals to me at the correct points on the course. Time constraints and financial constraints left me a bit short in that department. Experience now reveals to me with confidence this shortcoming. Still, you can’t build yourself a 7-interval workout and get it successfully exported to your GPS computer without managing to keep some aspects of it in mind. Together with prior course experience (there’s that word again) simply knowing my target average power and monitoring current power while riding would have produced a high compliance workout. If presented with the timely interval call outs on course, I’d have had no unforseen difficulty in following them.
I finished in 1:20:43, and the projected finish time I’d generated in BestBikeSplit was 1:17:09. Mentally, I was expecting an actual finish time between 1:18 and 1:30, and I fully expected to require a breakthrough performance in order to do better than 1:20. My NP in the event was about 1 watt shy of the BBS model result. We did experience what was, for the mountain, a small amount of on-course wind above treeline, and what was, for the model, somewhat high winds compared to estimates. I find that, using the Time Analysis tab in BBS, if I crank the actual power down 4%, I still have to crank up the drag to an increase of 20%-35% to yield an approximately matching finish time in the BBS model. I know that my power meter was calibrated, and while I’m confident, based on RPE, that my output was below plan, applying a 4% power output reduction to the model is being quite generous. Other online models I’d used yielded results not far off from those yielded by BBS, and I don’t mean to appear to be criticizing BBS, but at this point my usage of the model is very interesting, but not what I would classify as entirely useful.
When you follow your event plan completely for such an individual type of event, with no team tactics or competitors’ moves to consider, to a large degree your result simply is what it is, so being able to “predict” the outcome is less useful than being able to plan your output and follow your plan. Just as in a windy hour-record attempt, the result can be without fault of your own a legend or a flop, depending on what the course gives you. The Mt. Washington course really does provide an excellent backdrop for a mountaintop finish in the legendary tradition. In past runnings, it’s not unknown for riders to have stood at the start line for hours before the organizers announced that they’re pulling the plug due to weather conditions. To do one’s best, with what the mountain gives you on that day, I’d suggest arriving at the line well-practiced and able to follow your plans. The old adage of riding up grades rather than buying upgrades, to large degree, here applies.
Wonderful event. Bthoffma, sorry to have again missed you. I arrived at the start line after a compliant warmup with less than 2 minutes before the starting cannon fired, and I believe you must have been up in the front 3 rows of riders as you started quicker and I never saw you. Congrats, and I gave you some kudos at that other online place… I look forward to seeing you, and any other TR users, at some of the remaining BUMPS events this season. BUMPS link



Nice work! If only you’d had lighter wheels though, you would have made top notch :wink:

What computer were you using? As much as I miss my Wahoo (which I lost in a forest after crashing my MTB), I’ll admit that it was way off on the course points for some reason. My Garmin doesn’t have this issue… except for the first point, always.

My BBS plan, although it had 22 intervals, basically had me going at 85% the whole time except for the 3 steepest parts, where it was around FTP. Hard to not output a lot of power on those steep parts anyway. I lost confidence in my plan after my Garmin inexplicably auto-lapped at 5.0 miles (apparently that’s how it was set); at that point, I was afraid that the power plan was starting over (I wasn’t really thinking straight). So, I think I agree with you that BBS alone is somewhat limited in its usefulness, particularly in this race: you still need to choose your own pacing, and you don’t need a sophisticated race plan. BBS is super fun to play with though.

And the first part of your post is bang on. I saw some people struggling who really needn’t have.

I thought I’d come back to this thread to extend congratulations to our own bthoffma for making top 10 in the BUMPS series overall points, and number 1 for his age group. (Clicky) I found this season, my first in hill climb events, to be a fun yet chill way to engage in competition in cycling on an individual level, and I’ll probably be present again next year. Some equipment and preparation changes may be in order for me, but using TrainerRoad was very helpful to me, and presumably to Bthoffma as well, and will remain in my routines.