This past weekend a few of us ventured out on a challenging 114 mile ride. It was our first time doing Breathless Agony so we were all anxious to reach the top.
I knew this was going to be a challenging ride so I made sure to incorporate hill rides into my weekly training leading up to this event. I did have one hesitation, though. I read over a number of blog posts warning about the difficulty of this event. Were these exaggerations or was this course really that difficult. I looked at the elevation profiles posted on the website and I thought, “maybe there is something I am missing”. At any rate, we all decided we would do this ride.
Here is a brief overview of the stages of this ride.
Start – Rest Stop 1: The easiest part of the course. The tough section is the Jack Rabbit Trail. Although the incline is not too steep, the condition of the road can offer some challenges if you are a not so great when it comes to bike handling.
Rest Stop 1 to Rest Stop 2: There is only one climb, but the incline is very mellow and attainable. Pace yourself up the hill and don’t attack. There is also a very nice downhill section that you’ll love.
Rest Stop 2 to Rest Stop 3: This is the toughest part of the course. Almost entirely uphill, this is where you are going to feel the challenge of the day. Once you make it up to rest stop 3, you have this ride in the bag.
Rest Stop 3 to Rest Stop 4: This is a rolling section which icludes uphill and downhill – lots of breaks. The last 4 miles of this section climb steadily up to Onyx Summit and are the most difficult of this leg. Definitely not steep, but a big challenge nonetheless.
In summary, this is a tough ride that will challenge you both mentally and physically. You need to train to complete this ride, but it’s definitely not out of reach for a trained cyclist to complete. Here are some suggestions to make your experience enjoyable and positive.
- Pace yourself and don’t hammer the first two sections.
- Have the proper gearing – I would recommend 11/28
- Train on hills – long rides should be 4000 – 5000 feet of climbing
- Fuel throughout the ride
This is also one of the best supported rides you’ll ever do. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a big challenge. Registration opens up at the beginning of the year and sells out in no time. Be a part of this fantastic ride.