As a rider ambassador for the Haute Route, one of the biggest questions I get on group rides is, “what is the format for the results?” In this training tip I will explain the timed segments way of competing using the Haute Route San Francisco as an example. These timed segments are super fun because they promote regrouping after the timed segment is over. Riders of varying ability ride together in between the timed segments and then everyone goes hard for the next timed segments. Ride together > go hard > regroup & ride socially and go hard again for the next timed segment.
Timed Segments Promote Riding Together and Regrouping Afterwards:
All riders depart and ride together and then as the group approaches the timed segment the pace heats up. Everyone then drills it as hard as they can up (usually the timed segments are from the bottom to the top of a climb) to achieve their fastest time. Its like Strava but organized. Your timed segments are added up like the traditional ‘general classification’ and the rider with the lowest timed segments wins the Stage and the overall GC. Usually there are aid stations after each timed segment so you can regroup with your riding buddies and riders you’ve just suffered with. There you can give each other a high five, grab a fresh water bottle, fuel up with some nutrition and continue riding easy together until the next timed segment. Usually their are 2-3 timed segments per stage along a beautiful route that you enjoy in a social fun environment.
You can join the fun by registering here using my ambassador discount code “SPECAMBFrankO”
There are TEN Timed Segments for the Haute Route San Francisco:
The four timed segments on the Stage 1 that will count for the “GC”. We’ll do Grizzly Peak both ways and Diablo. The fourth timed section is flat just to keep the pace ‘spicey’ in-between the first climb up Grizz and Diablo.
Stage 1: Oakland > Mt. Diablo > Oakland (Ride with GPS map here)
# 1 Before the Queen Climb (Diablo) riders will rip Grizzly Peak from the Oakland side. The strava KOM is 22:16 so about 30-40 minutes for us regular folks.
# 2 A flat-ish~ 5 mile segment after Grizz and before Diablo. Go hard up Grizzly to get in a fast group and once you are there draft in the group as much as possible without losing time so you can have as fresh of legs as possible for the queen climb of them all, Mt. Diablo.
# 3 Mount Diablo is one of the most challenging climbs in the United States that goes on for 10 miles, 3400ft of climbing at an average 7% grade but with a 15% kicker to finish. World Tour pro athlete Dennis Rohan has the Strava KOM for Mount Diablo @ 38:36 [2014 Tour of California] so plan on at least 40 min but in reality 50-70 minutes.
# 4 The fourth timed section for the Haute Route San Francisco is Grizzly Peak which is 5.7 miles and very similar to the Wildcat Canyon Strava Segment which is held by local honch, Nate English at 20:30. Plan on 25-40 minutes, in reality.
Training for Stage 1:
Bring your climbing legs for Stage 1: power to weight ratio is of the utmost importance! For training you should be working on your sustained maximal threshold power specific to the duration it will take for you to climb Grizzly Peak & Mt. Diablo. Threshold intervals like 3 x 15, 2 x 20, 2 x 30 will be helpful. You should also include some long 5+ hour rides with at least 90 minutes of hard climbing. If you really want to get diabolical, here’s a workout that will simulate the first two climbs (Grizz & Diablo):
Stage 1 Will Determine the General Classification
Bring your A game to stage 1 because there’s (in my estimates) 105 to 150 minutes of uphill, full gas timed segments. Large gaps will happen with these uphill ‘finishes’ – think of them like the Alpe D’Huez or Hautacam from the Tour de France.
Stage 2: Presidio > Stinson > Presidio (Ride with GPS map here)
Stage 2 rides across the Golden Gate Bridge and like stage 1 will favor power to weight ratios with 7,482 feet of climbing. There are going to be five timed segments with four shown below (there is going to be a fifth short 1-2 mile timed segment near the bottom of the 2nd to last climb (Pantoll).
#5 The first timed segment of Stage 2 is the climb to Pantoll in Mill Valley. The Strava KOM is 26:12 minutes so 35-50 minutes for us (where is the career, family, mortgage strava category?)
#6 The second timed segment is ‘flat’ but I’m sure it won’t feel that way after stage 1 and stage 2’s opening salvo. It look to be an 8 mile segment along Highway 1 from Stinson Beach to Olema. You want to be on a good wheel and solid group here because going it alone will concede minutes here.
What stands out to me is that this timed segment is a 3.5 mile climb followed by 4 mile winding descent followed by the 8% 2 mile climb to Ridgecrest.
#8 Pantoll – this is the segment as riders head up Mt. Tam. The strava KOM is 6:40 so… 10 minutes for the majority of Haute Route athletes?
#9 The fifth timed section for stage 2 (and 9th overall) is Hawk Hill. Also included in the lead in is the Sausalito to GGB climb. The strava KOM combined times are 10 and a half minutes but for us mere mortals that’s gonna be more like 15 – 20 minutes.
Training for Stage 2:
By my estimates, Stage 2 has 2-3 hours of timed sections. I would characterize the type of climbing as punchy and an aggressive style of riding will be on display. Holding wheels and drafting will be important as the time sections have places you can rest and catch your breath after holding on for dear life. For training I recommend supra-threshold interval work, like 3 x 10 minutes ON and only 5 minutes OFF as hard as you can go (greater than your threshold power).
Stage 3: Angle Island Time Trial (Strava Route here)
After the two previous days this time trial is gonna hurt. The organizers are absolutely diabolical (and I mean that as a compliment). We are doing 2 laps with 425 ft of ‘rolly‘ elevation gain per lap for an estimated finishing time of 35-40 minutes, riding flat out. Thus the 5th and final timed section is two laps of angel island for 35-40 minutes.
Training for Stage 3:
Time trial threshold training is obvious but if you look at the profile you’ll need to go into the red in order to carry your momentum up and over the hills. Criss Cross Threshold Intervals are therefore the name of the game, first 3 x 12 with a progression to 2 x 15.
Listen to Dave Towle and watch a 3D route presentation of the Haute Route San Francisco (disregard the previous stage 3):
Total Estimated Timed Sections:
Stage 1: 2 – 3 hours (give or take)
Stage 2: 2 – 3 hours (also give or take)
Stage 3: 35 – 45 minutes
Total = 4.5 hours (rounding here) to 7 hours of going as hard as you can with aid stations, friends and beautiful roads in-between. Overall bring your climbing legs and power to weight ratio but also relax after the timed sections, enjoy the view and plan to go hard again for the next timed segment!
Frank Overton is the founder and owner of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO and a Haute Route Ambassador. To receive a special discounted haute Route entry use the code “SPECAMBFrankO” when you register here. To talk with Frank or the FasCat Coaches about coaching fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation or browse over 70 training plans using the same coaching methodology!
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