I have a set ride that I do on occasion that I have named as "Twin Peaks". In short it is a climb up Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura. These are two mountains which dominate the Canberra Landscape. Well at least as much as some ~850m mountains can dominate in a landscape that is at ~550m on average.
The ride starts from my front yard - the timer gets punched as soon as I pass the chinese elm. The big ring is selected and 80 seconds later I am in the Mount Ainslie Nature Park and on singletrack. I have a good 6 minutes of singletrack before I hit the main fireroad that follows the hi voltage powerlines to the lowest point of the ride. This is after some awesome flowing fast ST.
The next 12-13 minutes are all UP. There is mainly fireroad but just a couple of minutes of technical singletrack. The fireroad is reasonably steep (middle and easy) and the HR is up around 95% of max. The last bit of the climb is on the bitumen for 2 minutes at 10% up to the top loop of Mount Ainslie.
This climb is about 270m from my front yard and takes anywhere from 24:30 to 25:30 depending on wind direction, ground moisture and personal fitness and recovery.
From here it is back down the tar to the point where I entered, then a right hand turn down some 40km/hr almost fall line singletrack - this descent fully pumps the brakes up. Onto the fireroad then pinned over to the saddle. The saddle is a fireroad that has been in various states of smoothness (loose term) over the years. It pretty much takes you over to the top gate of Majura Pines. At the moment it is reasonably smooth and fast.
From this point it is up some zigzag trail singletrack to the base of the Mt Majura radar firetrail. The zigzag trail is technical and quite taxing. It is also technically for walkers. The fireroad climb is pretty much the steepest part of the ride and comes at the end of the test. It is about 5 minutes of pain. It can be done in middle and easy, however lately I have been experimenting with granny and 3rd and 4th, with a few options of 2nd. So as you can figure it is reasonably steep.
At the top whilst at MAX HR you have to hop off the bike, jump a gate, grind up to the tar, then head up to the Majura trig station, this is when the timer can be stopped.
The altitude function on my HRM shows 540m climbed for the 2 hills.
Phew what an epic translation! I like doing this ride in winter, or cooler times as it is extremely hard on the body and temperature regulation is easier in the cooler times. I also like doing this ride when there is a howling westerly as most of the fireroad climbs head in an easterly direction. I also tend not to do this ride if it has rained as it saps energy in a huge way.
Bottom line: Hard ride. Climbing specific. Continuity between climbs. Mental toughness. pacing technique.
I also find that I can only do this ride for 3 weeks at a time (ie every Tuesday). It builds fitness, is a good indicator of fitness, but must be respected.
When I got my new Cannondale Flash, I was curious as to how it would compare on all of my 'timed' loops. My average "last 5 rolling" efforts time up the 'twin peaks' is 48 minutes and 30 seconds. The fastest ever is 47:37 (kickass 30kmhr tailwinds up the climbs).
I gave it a whirl today on the Flash. The day was perfect (for an awesome road ride - ie no wind). The training week has been fairly good with regard to both endurance and intensity, and I raced last night at the Majura Dirt Crit. The flash felt awesome, and the time up Mount Ainslie was 24:45. The time for the second segment up to Mount Majura was 23:02 --- so a total time of 47:42. Not bad for a first run up these climbs on the bike on a non-windy day. I usually tend to do a faster run the 2nd week with a consistent or slower 3rd week - then I leave it for a while.
I am still in the process of fine tuning my bike positioning, but I am quietly happy with this time. The positioning won't affect performance, just how I feel on the bike.
Flash is good!