Hill Repeats

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.

  1. It is a scenic ride with views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains both on the climb and descent.
  2. There is little traffic on the road and, what there is, travels slowly.
  3. The road has been resurfaced recently.  Its smooth and free of potholes and cracks from top to bottom.
  4. It is a steady, winding 2 km climb with a 3-5% grade.
  5. It is regularly frequented by cycling enthusiasts and road racers so there is always someone to push you a little harder.
  6. 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.

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