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Hilly Recumbent Ride

The I Care Classis Century ride I signed up for in May has more hills than I normally do on my recumbent, so I thought I’d better get a little practice in. The two most challenging climbs on the route are up Willow springs road, and “Buffalo hill” on McKean road (the latter got his name because one of the landowners next to the road on this hill used to keep a bison in his yard). These are on a convenient loop not far from my house that I completed today in 2 hours and 11 minutes. Willow Springs was especially challenging because my speed dropped to 4 mph in spots as I was spinning in my lowest gear. That’s pretty slow on my recumbent and causes it to get a bit wobbly. But it was a good confidence-builder to know I can readily get up these climbs, if slowly. I have eight weeks of training in which to hopefully get faster.

Recumbents are at a disadvantage if the route is hilly because although they are faster on the flats and downhills, they are slower climbers. Note where the uphill parts like Willow springs hill are, that speed stays low for a long time during the climb. Then speed gets quite brisk, but for a short time, on the descent. That doesn’t buy you back the time lost on the descent.

View from Oak Glen Ave looking across Chesbro lake towards Loma Prieta. The mountain has a bit of snow still on it. East-facing slopes like these don’t get as much snow but Loma Prieta is tall enough (3790 ft) that is gets some.

Before I got to the climbing I did an effort on another Strava segment near home. Digital drive makes a flat 800-meter loop. It turns out no one over 70 had tried this yet so I’m number 1. The oldest people trying it were in the 55-64 age group and the fastest time was one minute and 31 seconds, which is 21 seconds faster than my time. This local loop is a fast flat challenge that doesn’t take a lot out of me so I’ll keep trying it to see if I can improve.

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