Wolf Creek Pass Skimo Race coming up I wanted to try and simulate the course to see if I was fit enough to dare the Race course, something thats just a little intimidating for an average kind of guy with a family, job(s) etc, etc.
Anyway, I went up there and knocked out an approximation of the course as it was supposed to unfold last year. It got changed due to a massive dump the night prior creating avy conditions over half of the course. This Saturday, low snow and no skin track made some of it slower or not possible to do exactly as it was laid out so I did my best and got in the ball park of the 4.5k of vert advertized.
Being a "thrifty individual" I have a basic heart rate monitor so no fancy second by second graphs here on SimpleSkimo but above is a rough approximation of heart rate over a ridiculously simplified elevation model that does not show how steep any of the slopes are but just high and low points. You will notice the decreasing trend over time in HR regardless of elevation. Im no trainer so I went and asked my buddy who is way into this kind of stuff for running-related reasons what he thought and here is what we think was going on.
My lactate threshold is probably 180 or so based on my pathetic attempts to figure it out from the internet and pay no money. My first ascent was at threshold (AT). My second was still (barely) in Zone 4, my threshold zone. My third and fourth ascent were in low Zone 3. My buddy's theory is I went anaerobic or whatever the technical term is and didnt recover. This could have to do with the fact I have trained around 7+k feet and Wolf Creek base area is at 10.6k. I probably have not adjusted yet to the elevation like I will by mid season. Also, maybe starting out at your AT isnt a good idea for guys who are not in insanely great shape. I have put in ~3 to 4 hours per week all summer as detailed in other posts. All long runs and some longer runs but most of those were 2 hour long as once again, competing demands make my time available what it is.
So far, my conclusion is that Ive definitely hit one of those problems us mere mortals need to wrestle with which is strategy for doing my best based on the fitness level I was able to attain. I think early pacing is the ticket for now, probably in mid to high Zone 3??? Then if I have the energy, bumping it up towards the end. I feel Im as fit as I could have gotten with the time available, I have a good hydration and fuel plan and light gear. This is the last thing I need to dial to reach the heights of mere mortaldom! It will also be interesting to see how this changes as I accimatize now that Ill be able to get in a skimo workout on the weekend each week. As always, Ill keep you posted.
In the meantime, I hope you are signed up for a race or have some out of area objective lined up to motivate you!