This is one of my favourite weekly workouts. Five climbs up the hill from Spanish Banks to the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus at the top. I do the workout when I don’t have a lot of time. I drive over with the bike on rack and spend an hour punishing myself.
There are lots of reason to like this workout.
- It is a scenic ride with views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains both on the climb and descent.
- There is little traffic on the road and, what there is, travels slowly.
- The road has been resurfaced recently. Its smooth and free of potholes and cracks from top to bottom.
- It is a steady, winding 2 km climb with a 3-5% grade.
- It is regularly frequented by cycling enthusiasts and road racers so there is always someone to push you a little harder.
- And, there is a coffee shop both at the top on campus and bottom on the beach.
This was my first outdoor hill repeat this year. I was pleased with the time. It appears I started where I left off last season. Five climbs under an hour. In fact, the last climb was the fastest. I pushed a bigger gear and danced on the pedals a third of the time.
Hill repeats are an excellent way to develop power and endurance. In a short period of time you can develop not only your conditioning but technical climbing and descending skills as well.
I can improve on my 58 minute time. I held back on the descents . The roads were wet in the shaded spots and there is a hard, blind turn to the right at the bottom when carrying the most speed. I didn’t want to wipe out so began pulling back near the bottom costing me time. I also think I can climb faster. I started slowly and each repeat pressed harder. If I could shave 6-7 minutes off the time time, I could do 6 climbs in an hour. That’s my goal for 2014.
If you have never tried repeated climbs up a hill, I suggest you find a hill nearby and make it a habit. You will be rewarded with improved conditioning, better bike handling skills and more enjoyment.