Frank vs. The Volcano: Part Trois

Frank climbs at 9,000 feet on Haleakala.
Frank climbs at 9,000 feet on Haleakala. Photo: Elizabeth Keller

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:

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/Haleakala IIV/”/]

Strava:

Related Posts

95 Replies to “Frank vs. The Volcano: Part Trois”

  1. Isn’t Nene one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta? And surely Gianni’s brain is so big it blocks out the sun, non?

  2. 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!

  3. “There are no achievements on this ride”

    Bullshit. I beg to differ. Well done!

  4. Well first point of order is to tell whoever runs Strava that the bottom line on the screen is wrong …. “There are no achievements on this ride ”

    I call Bullshit …..  doing that for 3+hours is indeed quite an achievement regardless of best times or not ….  I say “poo” to you Mr Strava.

    I, like you Frank, love to climb, but my brain writes cheques that my body cant cash sadly …

  5. @TBONE

    “There are no achievements on this ride”

    Bullshit. I beg to differ. Well done!

    Great minds think alike …..  I must have posted at similar times ……

    Move along Folks … nothing to see here …..

  6. Strava:

    Achievements
    There are no achievements on this ride.

    I beg to differ

  7. Fantastic.  Laughed hard at “You have to get out of the road.”

  8. Outstanding ride Frank ! The end told the story when you let out every last ounce of “V” in your body, A proud moment, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the new year but with good friends and family to share in the love and pain we have for cycling.

  9. Awesome. Everything about the spirit of it was capital “F” FUN in the best and sickest sense of how great a certain kind of suffering can be. Chapeau.

  10. Impressive, Frank! Seeing picture #1 up there, gotta ask, did your seat post grow again?! My word, man, it’s like a viagra advert. Cheers, mate!

  11. Yeah everything in that first paragraph (except the 2 metres bit, I’m only a normal 183cms) rings extremely true for yours truly. Kudos on an a brilliant effort, wouldn’t mind hearing a little more on how seriously you’re now taking training for these jaunts. 1st impressions on viewing photos only:

    Velomidoggie looks extremely avvesome

    They appear to be custom coloured Radarlocks you’re rocking there Frank, can you confirm?

    I have to do this someday!

  12. mobile viewing not allowed.  Please change settings Gianni or frank!

  13. This is gold, Frank. Great work, thanks for sharing. Makes me proud to wear the same kitte.

    I return now to a second helping of meat and potatoes over my dessert of cream sauce and meat with potatoes.

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

  15. You should have taken Gianni’s advice and saved a few grams by wearing flip flops.

    Also, Rule #55 means that all that climbing has earned you the right to hop on a DH bike and bomb down the mountain.

  16. @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

  17. @Frank

    Jimi salutes you:

    Well, I stand up next to a mountain 
    And I chop it down with the edge of my hand 
    Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island 
    Might even raise a little sand 

  18. @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

    Probably even more important would have been to eat…[email protected] the sign at 3:45 on the video saying “No Food, No Gas” is not an instruction, you need to eat on shit like that, and if the urge to relieve yourself of some hot air takes you, just let it go brother!

    When I scrolled down to the map at first glance I thought you had ridden across half the volcanoes in South America, closer inspection though revealed it was just one and was in the middle of the Pacific, but nevertheless the achievement is in no way diminished.

    Awesome effort….and inspiring.

  19. @zeitzmar

    Is there some sort of V-filter on the French internet?

    Yes – language rules mean that it has to be pronounced and/or written as “Le Cinq”.

    It’s also important to note that outside France no one rides a bike properly so pictures of people attempting to do so (particularly those of tall ‘Merkins near pineapples) may irreparably damage French culture and are thus banned.

  20. 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!

    There has to be talk of doing this annually? How about as a cogal – I know there are three of us who would turn up?

    Thank you for the shared journey, I feel, again like I have been up the mountain too.

  21. @zeitzmar I seem to remember some people had that issue with the first film, it has something to do with the rights to the music that’s used to soundtrack the video…

  22. Applause,

    Hearty Applause.

    Makes me feel a little ashamed that I couldn’t be arsed to cycle 33k to work at 0645 in the pitch black in pissing rain this morning.

    Bloody amazing Frank.

  23. Respect to the Dumbness of this Frank!  And for beating your time.  Chapeau.  I bet you went about your dumbness in an intelligent way and would be interested to know how you paced yourself for the full ascent?

    From watching the video, particularly at 7:27, I believe there is some cheating involved and Tommy V actually rode the last 1/3 whilst disguised as Frank???

  24. @Barracuda

    Well first point of order is to tell whoever runs Strava that the bottom line on the screen is wrong …. “There are no achievements on this ride ”

    I call Bullshit ….. doing that for 3+hours is indeed quite an achievement regardless of best times or not …. I say “poo” to you Mr Strava.

    I, like you Frank, love to climb, but my brain writes cheques that my body cant cash sadly …

    +1 on writing cheques that your body can’t cash.  Sometimes its the only way to force progress. This year I’ve sent the checks for trips to the Stelvio and two metric centuries (gasp, preceded by a swim and followed by a run).  I would welcome any thoughts on training.  I’ve started step one with just ride the bike more, but the lack of altitude and the shortness of the climbs in Belgium have me worried…

    Thanks Frank for setting the example on day 1.  Looking forward to what mayhem and pain 2013 will bring.

  25. @Rob

    @Barracuda

    Well first point of order is to tell whoever runs Strava that the bottom line on the screen is wrong …. “There are no achievements on this ride ”

    I call Bullshit ….. doing that for 3+hours is indeed quite an achievement regardless of best times or not …. I say “poo” to you Mr Strava.

    I, like you Frank, love to climb, but my brain writes cheques that my body cant cash sadly …

    +1 on writing cheques that your body can’t cash. Sometimes its the only way to force progress. This year I’ve sent the checks for trips to the Stelvio and two metric centuries (gasp, preceded by a swim and followed by a run). I would welcome any thoughts on training. I’ve started step one with just ride the bike more, but the lack of altitude and the shortness of the climbs in Belgium have me worried…

    Thanks Frank for setting the example on day 1. Looking forward to what mayhem and pain 2013 will bring.

    I started some HIIT (high intensity interval training) today and I can say if fucking hurts….I thought I left the army to get away from this shit but as they say “what goes around comes around”.  I suspect the intense max efforts would do you good, the aim being to increase power and expand the lungs and get your heart used to working at a higher level of intensity/capacity.

    This was in cyclist this last month and I am using it as a starter….what ever you do, don’t try training with a bag over your head to replicate oxygen debt….it is V dangerous!!!

    and as for brains writing cheques that bodies can’t cash…..I live there!

  26. @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

    Yes, training will be necessary.

  27. I see a tradition starting for the Velominati – not riding with Fronk but lining the Route of Pain each year.  Well done.  I also like how the saddle in the top picture looks like a fighter jet.

  28. @Rob

    +1 on writing cheques that your body can’t cash. Sometimes its the only way to force progress. This year I’ve sent the checks for trips to the Stelvio and two metric centuries (gasp, preceded by a swim and followed by a run). I would welcome any thoughts on training. I’ve started step one with just ride the bike more, but the lack of altitude and the shortness of the climbs in Belgium have me worried…

    Thanks Frank for setting the example on day 1. Looking forward to what mayhem and pain 2013 will bring.

    Hi Rob,

    I feel like I am talking to my alter ego?

    On the stepping up on the training with a lack of proper hills on the horizon… Simples:

    Increase duration – Increase effort

    Or both and have fun.

    Rob

    P.S. stop breaking Rule #42 and you’ll have much more fun!

  29. 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!

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

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

    Following my research on @Marko’s comment I think there may be an exemption available for Rule #55 but only if your name is Roberta Mancino and you do it naked…

  32. @roger@zeitzmar

    The nearest I can figure out is BMG is claiming copyright (correctly) on some music in the video and have blocked Mobile viewing and content from some locations. I’ll have to see what I can do about that…

    @Mikael Liddy

    They appear to be custom coloured Radarlocks you’re rocking there Frank, can you confirm?

    Indeed, Mr. Eagle Eye. A little XMas present from the missus. Photo sensitive lenses look as fantastic as they work. My only complaint is they have a different lens interface than do the old Radars, so I can’t interchange those lenses.

  33. Great work Frank. I cannot imagine the suffering you went through. 3 hours is usually enough of a ride for me! Never mind 3+ hours of climbing.

  34. @piwakawaka

    Love your work, anyone else to chase up the hill? Nothing like a target up the road to reel in…

    There were a handful of people out, but no one riding close enough to our start and pace to interfere with. Plus, I think on this mountain, with that elevation, it would be suicide.

  35. @Russ M

    Outstanding ride Frank ! The end told the story when you let out every last ounce of “V” in your body, A proud moment, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the new year but with good friends and family to share in the love and pain we have for cycling.

    The end is a real bastard. You’re empty already, and then it kicks up to what feels like something in the 20’s but is more likely the teens. A nice little way to scrape the bottom from the barrel!

    @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.

  36. @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.

  37. @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.

  38. @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.

  39. @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.

  40. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.