I am thinking this'd be a hard group to intimidate, but as a counterbalance to the video I linked showing riders failing to ascend the Westernport Wall, I offer this link, which shows a guy making an easy ascent of Fargo Street in LA -- a steeper grade (33% vs 31%): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF7Vu4JrujE. Admittedly he's on a mountainbike, but the technique applies:
- tack to effectively reduce the grade;
- countersteer to get your front wheel out of your way when you switchback;
- stay away from the curbs and other obstacles (in the case of Savageman, curbs, cracks in the road, devils);
- remember that the hill only comes as hard at you as you go at it.
@nomisdc: There's just the one of me. I've mentioned the opportunity to a couple friends, but no takers.
Trying to avoid a crack in the Westernport Wall is like trying to avoid getting wet while swimming in a lake. It's not possible. :)
In if there's room...
@bcfrank: True. Clearer advice would be hit 'em transverse, not parallel.
Not convinced tacking makes sense - the Fargo hill has been paved recently, while the Wall isn't even open to cars and pitted EVERYWHERE. tacking on that is more than likely to result in catching a wheel and a fall.
Best tactic to get up the wall - straight up the right side (it's smoother). also stay in the saddle as long as you can before getting up or you will wear out your legs.
I will be coming up there also, but with a couple Non-DC Tri guys. We have our spot reserved and will be right next to you all at 108. Simon has got you all some decent spot, because it is close to the Showers.
Westport Wall Advice- Stay seated on each of the 3 climbs as long as you can, and don't hammer, pace yourself because you are going to need the energy. Once you get to the final climb commit yourself and hammer down. Ths zig zag will kill you, attack it straight up. If you have a little bumb in your way, go over it, because changing course can cause you to get caught in a rut.
FEAR IS ONLY AS DEEP AS THE MIND ALLOWS(Japanese Proverb)
I defer to and will heed the sage advice of the more experienced. We should try and run the wall when it's wet, practice ascending without having rear wheel spin out, which would seem a potential problem if you do have to stand. Anyone have any advice on that? Maybe a mountainbiker among us? Maybe the answer is just sit back down if you lose traction.
And don't forget to curse Kyle as you're going up the Wall. :) (Though remember, he'll just be laughing at you no matter how much you curse him.)
Please count 2 more in for the weekend.
After talking to some people today at the practice tri, I've decided to join as well. So count me in.
I'm in too. Thanks for organizing.
Man, just realized I can't make it.
Man, this weekend sounds like a blast!!
Unfortunately Laura and I are in a wedding that weekend, so we're out. Y'all are welcome to use our dock as swim central, though. Just a short walk down Brant Rd from the campgrounds, our cabin is "Happy Endings", right at the Happy Endings turnaround on the run course.
And, @trithis73 has it right about the Wall. The key is to take it as easy as possible for the three steep blocks leading up to the Wall, and then hit it with everything you've got. Before you know it you're free and clear and only have another mile at 13% to try and get out of oxygen debt from the effort up the Wall! Ha ha ha!
John- if the course is wet, you have to make sure you stay centered on your bike while standing. We do it on the MTBs on a really high grade. The downfall to this, is you won't get as much power from your quads, so you WILL have to compensate with your hamstrings. Means you are going to have to immediately go into a hard pull after smashing down on the pedal. Now that being said, remeber to keep your foot striaght, because if you turn your foot outward, you will unclip and then it's game over. Sounds hard to do in writing, but it's actually really easy once you try it.
Remember pace your self until you get to the wal, then commit and commit strong.
Kyle- I will be going up that hill this year, since I don't have IMFL a month later. I plan on cursing you all the way up. And please laugh at me, only fuels my anger to get up all the hill.
I think we're up to 32 people. Added campsite 107. That's 6 campsites of 6 people each.
Kyle & trithis73: Much obliged to you both. Now if I could just find a hill within 20 miles of downtown DC to practice on regularly. There's Brickyard and Mountain Gate out MacArthur and Forsythe in RCP, but I'm not sure any come close to 31%. Ideas anyone?
I don't know its grade but the cobberstone section on 35th St NW between Prospect and M in Georgetown looks very steep.
I wouldn't sweat the Wall. Just do lots of hill training because the rest of the course is going to wipe you out. A bit of practicing the day before the race on the Wall itself will give you all the practice you need.
There's really only way to replicate the feeling of ascending the wall in dc.
Step 1 - put on a backpack
Step 2 - fill backpack with 40lbs of rocks/bricks
Step 3 - take the metro to Rosslyn station
Step 4 - run up the down escalator
Step 5 (optional) - repeat 32x to simulate doing Killer Miller AFTER the wall....
For steep local hills, you might check out the area around Lake Barcroft in Alexandria.