fredrikegerman: (cycling)
Inspired by [ profile] dzm's recent escapade, and realizing that my bike muscles are kinda wimpy this summer, I decided to finally get around to trying the Great Blue Hill climb in the Blue Hills. This is a paved road closed off by a barrier just off Rt 138 near the Trailside Museum. I ended up doing the climb (426 vertical ft in 0.87mi) three times. I then did a loop through the middle of the park via Canton Ave, Unquity, Rd., and Hillside St. before heading home. Here are some things I learned:

  • Distance to ET from home is 4.7mi, which took about 21min. This turns out to be further than I expect, on the order of half my daily commute out to Sun (say, the distance from here to the Arlington/Lexington border).
  • I went down and back via Stony Brook Reservation. The 12.5mi mark [rough Minuteman distance] took me about to the public pool at the bottom of the reservation (the end closest to the Blue Hills).
  • The tricky thing with any route involving Stony Brook Reservation is getting to the top end. I took High St out of Brookline Village, then went round the back side of Jamaica Pond and hopped on to Centre St. But basically all the major roads from here south are busy and alarming; the parkways are at least pretty at not filled with people pulling in and out of parking spaces or playing games with traffic lights, but there's pretty steady traffic. And I was reminded that Centre St along the Arboretum (by Faulkner Hospital) is utterly depressing, actually. On the way back I cut through the Arboretum itself for a stretch (can't ride quite so madly, but much nicer), and also hopped onto the paths at Jamaica Pond and took them to Brookline Village (where you're screwed, because there's nowhere to go. Darn Rt. 9).
  • Getting to the base of Great Blue Hill involves climbing Brush Hill Rd from where the Neponset Valley Pkwy crosses the Neponset River. This is quite a bit lower elevation than the start of the trail, so I had already been working steadily when I reached the base of the hill. This made the first climb pretty tough.
  • Oxygen flow is key. I found I could regulate my comfort level and pedal speed by deliberately breathing faster and harder. The downside: my lungs are now full of pollen and crap. But it's what made it possible to climb three times comfortably.
  • I'm less comfortable going down hill (at least on a narrowish road with pedestrians on it) than I am cycling on level ground. Got to work on comfort and control there.
  • A banana and a cold drink after the first climb was totally the thing. They sell cold drinks at the weather station. Another cold drink after the last climb was also a good thing.
  • I was otherwise totally going to run out of the half gallon of liquid I'd brought. Luckily, lots of parks means water fountains can be found. The Arboretum is particularly well-supplied. Parks also have public restrooms (not a big need today, and it wasn't even especially hot).
  • Massive discomfort kicked in right around Coolidge Corner on the way home (even after taking it back a notch on the swing through Jamaica Pond). Everything was tickety-boo up until about mile 35. From there the neck cramps and concrete legs kicked in. This point used to be around mile 75, so got to work on that somehow. Also need to watch the posture for neck / shoulders; I tend to lean down on the drops to open my shoulders up (big cramps on my mtn bike) but this seems to cramp up my neck. It may be that for long distance rides I need slightly higher, further-forward bar position.
  • When the hill gets easier, don't forget to upshift! Keeping a steady pace really helped; if you crawl along the flatter stretches (and there are some) it really gets endless and the steep bits hammer you hard as you've got no momentum coming in.

I recommend the Great Blue Hill climb if you want to get better at climbing hills. It's tough, but it's short enough that you work hard and then you're at the top---and you can stop and take a look around, catch your breath, etc. before heading back down again. And it's not very far; it's less of a ride than, say, Concord Center. Plus there's commuter rail not far away in several directions, so if you can't climb back up Stony Brook then there's a way home.

There was a guy who did three climbs in the time it took me to do my last two (which I did in quick succession). He didn't even seem to be breathing hard. Something to aspire to...
fredrikegerman: (bicycle)
Did Tufts -> Mystic Lakes -> Turkey Hill -> Park Ave Tower -> Bike path -> home.
12.83mi, 2 very tough climbs, 57:02. Bike computer says average speed was 13.04mph, so I still have no idea if it's using time average or distance average, except that my math says distance average was actually higher at 13.5mph. Very satisfied.

Read more... )

New Bike!

Mar. 21st, 2007 08:59 pm
fredrikegerman: (bike)
Actually, first off, [ profile] desireearmfeldt is directing Arms and the Man, which opens tomorrow and plays this weekend and next. I expect to see you there! I'm very excited and proud.

I finally decided on a bike--the Bianchi Volpe )


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