Frank climbs at 9,000 feet on Haleakala.

Frank vs. The Volcano: Part Trois

Frank vs. The Volcano: Part Trois

by / / 95 posts

At some point, I reckon the idea may dawn on me that I’m not a climber. Eighty kilos and standing something just shy of two meters, I’m not clear on why climbing is what speaks to me most about Cycling; I’m certainly not built like a grimpeur. But there is no question about it; I love riding in the mountains. I only have to catch a sideways glimpse of a twisty ribbon of road from an airplane window or spot a lump on the horizon before my mind starts wandering towards what suffering may be hidden there.

And that may be the key to it, it’s very easy to suffer on the climbs. Fighting the acceleration of gravity means that even by riding at a constant speed up a climb, we’re effectively accelerating our mass along the gradient. In my case, that’s a lot of mass, and in Haleaka’s case, its a lot of gradient aggregated over a lot of distance.

My love affair with this particular mountain started the same way my first elementary school crush did; I approached and was summarily rejected. I returned half a year later with the dual goal of not cracking completely and setting a high (low?) water mark for future attempts. Eighteen months on, in reasonable condition and at a reasonable weight given the human urge during the cold winter months of eating foods consisting of meats, heavy sauces, and potatoes and serving them over meats, heavy sauces, and potatoes.

My training allowed me to ride at threshold for 3 and a half hours; a statistic which supports what makes Haleakala such a unique effort. No other ride affords the rider the opportunity to suffer so comprehensively and without respite. The last ten minutes of the effort were an anaerobic patchwork of pain and agony. The winds kicked up as I worked my way up the mountain, serving to amplify both my suffering and my fatigue. Wind is a cruel thing; you push hard into it in a vain effort to maintain your speed, and as you do it saps your strength and more quickly depletes The V-Stores tucked away in your body. To say nothing of your morale.

Riding Haleakala without cracking is one thing; to ride it with the intent of setting a personal best is another thing entirely. Even despite my feather-light Cafe Roubaix Haleakala wheelset, I came up short of my personal goal of 3:30, but thankfully the high winds on the day have strengthened my belief that with proper planning I can achieve that goal.

I will return. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

Video: (Also available in QuickTime)

If you can’t take watching a 10 minute video, skip to about 7 minutes in for some good suffer footage.

Photos:

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

Strava:

// Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // The Rides

  1. @Gianni

    @Nate

    If you had eaten loco moco for breakfast you would have shattered 3:30. Next time perhaps.

    That’s a good point. I better introduce him to that before he goes. Loco Moco

    That looks fucking fantastic. Is that something we have on the Hana drive? Looks familiar.

  2. @Rob, @all

    Thanks to everyone for their kind encouragement. Its a lot of fun putting this out there and making this a weird group thing. I feel like I’m suffering for you assholes too.

    And @Rob, I hold you largely responsible for this obsession of mine.

  3. @the _farmer

    Kudos to you Frank, 3.30 next time then!

    Although I’m 183cm and 100kg it’s the climbing I like the most as well, although the climbs round here are shorter but lots of them and they are quite steep.

    Started training for my first sportive as well, got an appointment with 80 miles early May and then 100 mid June. I suspect though that me losing weight will be waaaaaay cheaper than carbon wheels!

    Yes, but lighter wheels are easier to fit into your lifestyle!

    I ride to work (45km each way) with a backpack. Indeed it reminds one why Cyclists like to lose weight before climbing big mountains. Take it one step at a time and don’t try to lose any of it too quickly. Train hard, watch what you eat, and it will happen.

  4. @eightzero

    I have never understood the penchant by V-heretics to violate Rule #55. While descents can be thrilling, I honestly enjoy the climbing more. I feel far more in control, and perhaps more importantly, I feel like I can actually take in the bike ride. Sure, we can attack and rachet up the effort into the Pain Cave, and exclude the visually stimulating view if we choose, but climbing affords me the ability *look around.* Mountain roads are some of the nicest terrain to enjoy – why rush past them?

    I agree. A great descent is a beautiful thing, but I’ve spent enough time in emergency rooms to know that the thrill of a fast descent does not outweigh the consequences. The tour guides here take people up on bikes with fucking coaster brakes.

    I am looking forward to seeing @frank post his power meter profile. Wait…what?

    Oh, my power output was exactly what someone my size should have. V.

  5. Was able to get a look at the viddy this morning.  You nailed it bud.  The way you toppled off the bike at the finish is proof.  We know how much you love your #1, and to watch you go down like that, sure sign you were gassed.  And Beth, poor Beth, she just wanted you out of the street!  If I had your wife “encouraging” me up a climb, I’m sure I’d go run in a corner and cry.  Well done Fellas

  6. @Rob

    Frank, Gianni, what you boys (and the lassies) have captured causes weeks of anticipation, shear joy for the shits and giggles during, and a mountain of respect for the guts and glory gained by not only training and commiting to do it not once, not twice but trois times!

    This.

    Congrats, Frank, on a monumental effort. Great stuff. It goes without saying that I assume you must have two more rides left in you. Because that would be apt.

    Also, too, nice product placement of a certain Boston-derived bidon early on in the video. Was using the same one the other day (thanks @roger).

  7. @frank

    @Gianni

    @Nate

    If you had eaten loco moco for breakfast you would have shattered 3:30. Next time perhaps.

    That’s a good point. I better introduce him to that before he goes. Loco Moco

    That looks fucking fantastic. Is that something we have on the Hana drive? Looks familiar.

    Roughly, it’s white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with brown gravy, topped with eggs.  Brilliant concoction.

  8. @frank

    @Leroy

    Epic effort Frank! What gearing were you running?

    39×25; You could do it on a 42 and gain a bit of mechanical advantage, but the 39×25 definitely got used, the little devil.

    I thought you looked like you could use more gears there at the end.

  9. @frank

    Really good staff mate! You too Gianni. Being a DS these days is a hard task plus standing by the road in the wind… You live in a nice place though.What’s it like?

    Hey Frank did you enjoy riding Veloflex tubulars?How did they feel?

  10. Way to go, Frank! I really enjoy the fact that while the rest of ‘em are making New Year resolutions you are putting on yer chaps and climbing the Volcano. No better way to set the mood for the year than to make declarations with actions.

    DS Gianni – a Fit with a Campagnolo bumper sticker? Sweet as!!

  11. well done. the end of the video must qualify as V moment of the year,and its only january.

  12. @frank

    @Rob, @all

    Thanks to everyone for their kind encouragement. Its a lot of fun putting this out there and making this a weird group thing. I feel like I’m suffering for you assholes too.

    And @Rob, I hold you largely responsible for this obsession of mine.

    Yes you are! And our A-holes appreciate it… Remind me (off line if that’s more comfortable?) why I’m to blame??

  13. @Rob

    Isn’t there some picture of you riding it with 20″ wheels, single chainring?

  14. Dont tell me you went up Haleakala with your Dahon painted in daisies rob!

  15. Great job, Frank. Good thing there were lots of plush chunks of “magma” to rest on at the top!!

  16. Frank, truly inspirational. I have to admit, I was quite looking forward to your write-up of this and got really excited when I saw you had posted it! My favorite moments of the film: Michelle calling you a twat and saying anyone can do that, followed by your indecipherable facial expression, and your all-too decipherable face-melting as you come up to the summit. Oh, and you moaning on the ground at the end. Totally fucking awesome!

  17. Frank, classic really liked the video as well. If you are ever looking for a new challenge try googling “KOM Taiwan”, I can’t post links). The pros tried both is ride in 2012 and it looked brutal

  18. @Nate

    @frank

    @Leroy

    Epic effort Frank! What gearing were you running?

    39×25; You could do it on a 42 and gain a bit of mechanical advantage, but the 39×25 definitely got used, the little devil.

    I thought you looked like you could use more gears there at the end.

    Actually, I was in my 21; when my cardiovascular system is blown, I gravitate towards bigger gears – they are easier on the heart, harder on the muscles. In those cases, apparently, I will take the heart over the muscles.

    Doping Science disagrees, but I’m clean, so can’t get a cardio oil change (transfusion), so fuck them.

  19. @TommyTubolare

    @frank

    Hey Frank did you enjoy riding Veloflex tubulars?How did they feel?

    They are really great, really supple tires. For the price, they are very, very nice. We’ll see how the rubber holds up in Seattle where most of the riding is urban, but they did great for the purpose.

    No tire feels like my FMBs, which I’m luck enough to have on two wheel sets. But bar those – these are great.

  20. @Rob

    @frank

    @Rob, @all

    Thanks to everyone for their kind encouragement. Its a lot of fun putting this out there and making this a weird group thing. I feel like I’m suffering for you assholes too.

    And @Rob, I hold you largely responsible for this obsession of mine.

    Yes you are! And our A-holes appreciate it… Remind me (off line if that’s more comfortable?) why I’m to blame??

    Read through the comments of the Paradox of Maturity article from 2011 and you’ll be reminded – you got everyone whipped up about how fast I could go up – until then, I was just going to ride up. You made me care about how fast I could do it.

    I blame you, but I also love you for it – goes without saying!

  21. Have any of you experienced DOMS after such a V-event?

    DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness .(You cant even descend three steps on a staircase because of excruciating pain in the guns, sort of cramps, but not like common charlie horse. Occurs 3-7 days after ride) Ouch

  22. @sengelov

    Have any of you experienced DOMS after such a V-event?

    DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness .(You cant even descend three steps on a staircase because of excruciating pain in the guns, sort of cramps, but not like common charlie horse. Occurs 3-7 days after ride) Ouch

    3-7 days!  Bloody hell no, have you been sedentary during that period i.e.not riding….It is common to be sore next day, probably peaking 48hrs after a ride, but if you are fine for 3 days then suddenly get sore you are experiencing something that sounds like it has a cause….not sure…..lack of salt?…..further dehydration?……you did another hill climb in your sleep and forgot about it?

    You got me stumped!

  23. @frank  Chapeau.  Strong riding – impressive sustained effort comes across on video.  Lose the hat.  That’s got to be worth some weight off… and may give you the kick up the backside you need to add a Velominati cap to the kit list.  Nice wheels, strong riding position, even some Pantani-style climbing in the drops there… I’m sure there was some fluidly harmonic articulation at some point.  Looks a beast of a climb, but done on the first day of the year.  Well done, Sir.  You are insane.

  24. @frank

    @Nate

    @frank

    @Leroy

    Epic effort Frank! What gearing were you running?

    39×25; You could do it on a 42 and gain a bit of mechanical advantage, but the 39×25 definitely got used, the little devil.

    I thought you looked like you could use more gears there at the end.

    Actually, I was in my 21; when my cardiovascular system is blown, I gravitate towards bigger gears – they are easier on the heart, harder on the muscles. In those cases, apparently, I will take the heart over the muscles.

    Doping Science disagrees, but I’m clean, so can’t get a cardio oil change (transfusion), so fuck them.

    Interesting.  I gather the climb is a steady and not too steep grade until the very end?

    And which veloflexs were you riding?  I’ve got a pair aging in the garage.

  25. @frank

    @Rob, @all

    Thanks to everyone for their kind encouragement. Its a lot of fun putting this out there and making this a weird group thing. I feel like I’m suffering for you assholes too.

    And @Rob, I hold you largely responsible for this obsession of mine.

    That “weird group thing” is what the site is all about. Like when MrsDr eightzero let me invite a bunch of guys I met over the internet here to out hotel room. A beuatiful thing.

  26. @sengelov

    Have any of you experienced DOMS after such a V-event?

    DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness .(You cant even descend three steps on a staircase because of excruciating pain in the guns, sort of cramps, but not like common charlie horse. Occurs 3-7 days after ride) Ouch

    I know DOMS all too well. But I have never, not once in fifty years, experienced it as a result of cycling. It is–as any Google search will tell you–usually the result of engaging in unfamiliar exercise, especially exercise involving eccentric movements. Think running, or walking down a steep mountain (using the quads as shock absorbers).

  27. @sengelov

    Oh, and it’s never taken more than 48 hours to kick in full strength, for me.  If I do something really stupid, like let the VMH convince me to go hiking after I haven’t hiked in months, I’ll be a little sore after 24 hours and then fully sore after 48 then gradually less sore.

  28. This gives me schadenfreudebone.

  29. Well done. Awesome effort. I did a very hilly – scratch that- very mountainous ride here in Aus the day before your ride. Your mountain was way bigger than mine. I think I left some of my body parts in the snowy mountains where we were riding. seemed like an easy way to make my body a lighter climbing weight.

  30. @Frank – Congratulations.  Actually warrants the use of the word “Epic”.  I would love to know what specific training you did to prep for such a long climb. What specific types and durations of intervals did you do leading up to it?

    @Nate – I would have let Frank answer your question on the grade, but since I don’t see his answer yet, I found this chart on climbbybike. (tried to upload or insert the graphic with no luck).

  31. @scaler911

    Awesome! And a tiny FYI: a Nene (pronounced nay nay) is a small flightless bird from the islands. But I’m sure you knew that.

    Chapeau Frank!

    I thought a Nene was a Hawaiian Wasp…

  32. @eightzero

    @frank

    @Rob, @all

    Thanks to everyone for their kind encouragement. Its a lot of fun putting this out there and making this a weird group thing. I feel like I’m suffering for you assholes too.

    And @Rob, I hold you largely responsible for this obsession of mine.

    That “weird group thing” is what the site is all about. Like when MrsDr eightzero let me invite a bunch of guys I met over the internet here to out hotel room. A beuatiful thing.

    To shower, no less.

    @Jeff in PetroMetro

    This gives me schadenfreudebone.

    Beautiful. Lexi-worthy.

    @roadslave525

    @frank Chapeau. Strong riding – impressive sustained effort comes across on video. Lose the hat. That’s got to be worth some weight off… and may give you the kick up the backside you need to add a Velominati cap to the kit list. Nice wheels, strong riding position, even some Pantani-style climbing in the drops there… I’m sure there was some Fluidly Harmonic Articulation at some point. Looks a beast of a climb, but done on the first day of the year. Well done, Sir. You are insane.

    I’m now plotting the next ascent with a targeted training plan to really nail the time down. Also contemplating going for a fast time around the East Maui Loop, which will be documented from the Cogal shortly. Amazing lap, complete with asphalt paved with an ice cream scoop and a steep dirt road climbs. Glorious.

  33. @girl

    Well done. Awesome effort. I did a very hilly – scratch that- very mountainous ride here in Aus the day before your ride. Your mountain was way bigger than mine. I think I left some of my body parts in the snowy mountains where we were riding. seemed like an easy way to make my body a lighter climbing weight.

    I’ve contemplated the same thing. It’s hard to cut off a perfectly good limb just because its an easier way to drop a Schleck than quitting beer, but a little bit of frost bite makes the decision much more palatable.

    I didn’t realize there was anywhere in Aus that had snow. Figured the whole continent as being a little homey slice of mars.

  34. @Skip

    @Frank – Congratulations. Actually warrants the use of the word “Epic”. I would love to know what specific training you did to prep for such a long climb. What specific types and durations of intervals did you do leading up to it?

    @Nate – I would have let Frank answer your question on the grade, but since I don’t see his answer yet, I found this chart on climbbybike. (tried to upload or insert the graphic with no luck).

    Yes, a very big-guy-friendly 6-7% I think, but there is a steep bit in the lower 1/4 and the last pitch from the parking lot to the top is reported anywhere from 15% to 22%. Most likely 15%ish but believe me, it feels a lot pitchier after 3.5 hours in the saddle at threshold.

  35. Congratulations @Frank.

    http://www.flandriacafe.com/2012/12/photo-of-day-charly-gaul-bergauf-mont.html

    Note that Gaul’s 44/26 is extremely close to the 42/25 that you proposed as possibly the best Haleakala gear. Maybe you are actually a genius…

  36. Finally had a chance to watch the video while at home sick yesterday.

    Top marks to Frank for making it to the top and besting his time yet again!

    I couldn’t decide if it was really sad or sort of funny when you collapsed at the end. Looked like it fucking hurt. I’m glad Michelle was there to yell at you to get out of the street!

  37. Chapeau Frank. I rode Canberra’s 3 peaks ride last week. MtAinslie, Black Mountain and Red Hill. I rode so slowly up Mt Ainslie that a mob of kangaroos perched halfway up the Mount just stopped grazing and stared at me as I humped by them, normally they’d bound away but could tell from my low speed I was no threat. Cervelo S5s with 66mm rims are not climbing bikes…

  38. Frank,

    After watching this display of sheer guts, I can onlt say that I am pround, in some dmented sick overture, to have played a minor small part. Chapeau!

  39. I trust you will not mind becoming Café Roubaix’s first profiled athlete on our website.

  40. @frank

    @girl

    Well done. Awesome effort. I did a very hilly – scratch that- very mountainous ride here in Aus the day before your ride. Your mountain was way bigger than mine. I think I left some of my body parts in the snowy mountains where we were riding. seemed like an easy way to make my body a lighter climbing weight.

    I’ve contemplated the same thing. It’s hard to cut off a perfectly good limb just because its an easier way to drop a Schleck than quitting beer, but a little bit of frost bite makes the decision much more palatable.

    I didn’t realize there was anywhere in Aus that had snow. Figured the whole continent as being a little homey slice of mars.

    If she was in the Snowys then this is the type of scenery she’d have been seeing, only there’d have been none of the white stuff around at the moment given the 40+ temps that have been sweeping the country lately…on a similar note we could have some reverse Rule #9 conditions for the Adelaide Cogal should the long forecast be believed.

  41. @frank

    @girl

    Well done. Awesome effort. I did a very hilly – scratch that- very mountainous ride here in Aus the day before your ride. Your mountain was way bigger than mine. I think I left some of my body parts in the snowy mountains where we were riding. seemed like an easy way to make my body a lighter climbing weight.

    I’ve contemplated the same thing. It’s hard to cut off a perfectly good limb just because its an easier way to drop a Schleck than quitting beer, but a little bit of frost bite makes the decision much more palatable.

    I didn’t realize there was anywhere in Aus that had snow. Figured the whole continent as being a little homey slice of mars.

    We get a bit of snow in a few mountainous regions and occasionally in freakishly cold places like Canberra. Though our snow really doesn’t deserve to be classified as snow compared to the snow in other places. With the 40 deg C temperatures here today I can understand why you would think we don’t get any snow.

  42. They were the roads we were riding. You know you are up high when the poles on the side of the road change from white to red and stand 6 foot tall. There was snow, patches way up high on the mountains.

  43. @frank

     

    I didn’t realize there was anywhere in Aus that had snow. Figured the whole continent as being a little homey slice of mars.

    Mars must have seasons, so that’s not necessarily an invalid comparison. Culturally, of course it’s spot on.

  44. Frank, congrats! Really! Or as we say down here in Brazil…DU CARALHO!!!!

  45. @frank

    RESPECT

  46. @girl

    @frank

    @girl

    Well done. Awesome effort. I did a very hilly – scratch that- very mountainous ride here in Aus the day before your ride. Your mountain was way bigger than mine. I think I left some of my body parts in the snowy mountains where we were riding. seemed like an easy way to make my body a lighter climbing weight.

    I’ve contemplated the same thing. It’s hard to cut off a perfectly good limb just because its an easier way to drop a Schleck than quitting beer, but a little bit of frost bite makes the decision much more palatable.

    I didn’t realize there was anywhere in Aus that had snow. Figured the whole continent as being a little homey slice of mars.

    We get a bit of snow in a few mountainous regions and occasionally in freakishly cold places like Canberra. Though our snow really doesn’t deserve to be classified as snow compared to the snow in other places. With the 40 deg C temperatures here today I can understand why you would think we don’t get any snow.

    Frank awesome ride.  Just checked the vid as a source of motivation for my upcoming mountain adventure.  As a guy of 190cm and 90kg’s I am definitely not built for the hills but will be doing the 3 peaks ride that is held annually in Australia’s high country. I have attached the course map link http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/great-rides/94624/.  A mate and I agreed to sign up as we thought it would be “fun” What sort of sick bastards are we to think this would be fun.

  47. Frank – first time I have viewed the video – amazing effort, a true inspriation to the mere suffering mortals like myself.  I think it is a little harsh for Strava to state “There are no achievements on this ride”! Really?

  48. The stars are aligning ..  might be doing this exact ride in 4 weeks time!!!  I’m also a Rouleur more than a Grimpeur so expect a tough day out there …  stay tuned

  49. Ah … white bar tape … black saddle (with white stripe though) … master Frabk ? Burn in the inferno of the V-olcano  ?

  50. I rode up that famed Volcano 3 times back in the early nineties when I had friend who lived on Maui.

    I did it on a mountain bike and it took alot longer than 3.5 hours that is for sure.

    That volcano is a beast of a ride.

    Awesome ride!!!

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