Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cycling Weight

I once read that the optimal climbing weight is 2 lbs per 1" of height. So with the Alta Alpina as a goal I counted calories and went down from 148 (147-151 in 2009) to 136 (135-140 in 2010). Don't know if I got any faster on climbs but climbing was certainly easier. With Alta Alpina out for this year, no more counting calories.

Of course bike weight means alot, dispite what the huckster from Rivendale says. My Lightspeed is between 17-18 lbs, my steel GT is 22-23 lbs. Once up to speed on a hill (and there are hills in every direction in California) I can climb with the GT, but it takes alot of effort to get up to speed. Alot of effort compared to the Lightspeed that weighs 5 lbs less.

Of course there are now alot of bikes that weigh 14-15 lbs, but at a certain point duribility is important. I haven't ridden a carbon frame bike yet--something to get when I'm 60.

For planning for the Alta Alpina (200 miles, 20,000' climbing) I was going to start at 4:30am, so morning cold would be a problem, and in the "California Alps" afternoon thunderstorms are a fair possibility (2x in the last 7 years.) To these ends I bought a gram scale to figure out the lightest "additional clothes" I needed to take.

First I'm amazed at the basic weight gain from bareassed scale weight when getting ready to ride on a nice sunny day. The basics:

So just having the basics unless you are going to pull a thirsty eurotrash (no helmet) Lady Girdivia increases your riding weight by 9 lbs. Now I don't pick my stuff out with being a weight weenie in mind, and I'm sure there are lighter helmets (324 g, 8% of the total) or shoes (835 g, 21% of the total) out there, and you can ride with one bottle (748g, 19% of the total), but my stuff isn't close to the heaviest, so you might shave it down to 5 lbs and hope you don't run out of liquid refreshment.

And these aren't even the basics for a ride I'd do in the Summer months. I'd need to take along a tiny bag of sun screen, tums, endurolights, some food, and a vest.
Doesn't add much but we gain another pound, so now up to 9 1/2 lbs just to go for a warm weather ride.

So how about cold weather? Forecast for Markleeville, elevation 5802' today (where Alta Alpina starts in a month from now)
Tonight: Isolated showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.Monday: Showers, mainly after 11am. High near 56. South southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

And Markleeville is the "low spot" in the area, a little higher, during the day!

Point Forecast: 4 Miles SE Echo Summit CA 38.8°N 119.99°W (Elev. 8476 ft)This Afternoon: Snow showers. High near 39. Breezy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

(While the forecast for the East bay area was 8-12 warmer.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. West southwest wind between 8 and 14 mph. Monday: Rain likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 64. South wind between 3 and 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.)

So, unless a heat wave hits Markleeville it will be cold at 4:30am a month from now. To this end I'd need another 1 1/2 pounds of stuff, so now we have 11 lbs of clothes and food/ drink on the bike, and this isn't even adding in lights or rain pants, rain socks or a hat.
So 154 body & bike weight, but another 7% (11 lbs) to get ready for cold weather riding that is usually overlooked--and still 6% (9 lbs) for a moderate weather day.

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