First- my athlete Meg is racing NY this weekend. She's been amazing in her dedication and has surpassed my expectations in all of her training. Have a great day Meg!
Yesterday was another bike workout that included a 30:00 variable gearing hill interval. I found it's MUCH easier to do this workout on a mountain bike than a road bike because of the gearing range. On my 2.5 mile long hill that runs from ~8200 up to 9200 ft altitude (it's on dirt with 6 180 degree switch backs). Basically I would ride 2:00 in the biggest gear I could push with out falling over... cadence of 20-30 revs. An effort similar (but much longer) to a hard squat workout but 100% bike specific. Followed by 1:00 at a cadence of 100+ revs. So the change up is as severe as I could make it. And there in lies the benefit of the workout- firing my muscles in a manner that shocks them and also changes the pattern of muscle firing. A steady climb of 30:00 would work a much different aspect of fitness (endurance). What happens on a (too) long of a climb is that the working muscles become fatigued and start to weaken and then shut down. Then they are not worked hard enough to get stronger. Of course endurance is enhanced, but this session is not designed to increase endurance as much as making those climbing muscles strong. Matt Carpenter's 3/2/1 workout comes to mind with this for a runner. If you want to run uphill truly fast it might be best to not run uphill for too long but rather break it down in to shorter intervals that allow the climbing muscles to retain their strength, then you can truly push them to their limits.
And I have my first Leadville 100 run athlete to coach. Which gives me a solid out for not racing it this year. Last year he placed 3rd at one of the harder 100s... so the kid's got skills. His nutrition during the race wasn't good and that is one of my strengths so I'll be able to help him quite a bit in this. He too is an ex-Ironman guy so I know how his brain works.