This is something I've been thinking about for a while now as I've come to know some of the incredible athletes we have in the St. Croix Valley. As you hang out with them you will eventually hear about some epic workout or some old standby they used to do all the time.
My goal here with this series is to try and collect those that I've heard of and get them out to more people so they can get a chance to run, bike, or ski in the footsteps of giants too.
We are starting this series with the Cyclova XC Short Park Repeat. This is a cycling workout that is based on one with a long history in the valley. You can read about the original Park Repeat in the Interstate Park Hill article Frank wrote back in 2010.
The Short Park Repeat is a more modern version for people looking for nearly all of the climbing but short on time. This particular climb starts in the North Campground of Interstate Park WI right by the outhouses and climbs the main park road until just into the parking lot by the Ice Age Visitor Center. A single climb is about 0.7 miles and gains approximately 247 feet for an average grade of 6%.
I recently rode a repeat following Mike Colaizy up the climb so you can see exactly what you are up against.
To the best of my knowledge the short repeat has a relatively short history going back just a couple of years. Tim Wilkie and Frank Lundeen had a pretty good grudge match going the summer they started this version. The story as I heard it has them going back and forth all summer long with each topping the other person with a good share of smack talk going on back and forth.
As it stands today, according to Strava, Tim has the upper hand with a best time of 3:10, topping Frank by 1 second who has a best recorded time of 3:11.
The first option is pretty straight forward. Go ride the repeat once as hard as you possibly can until your lungs burn, you taste blood, and you want to puke. See how you measure up.
While that is all well and good as a bench mark, if you are looking to get an actual workout in, I might recommend starting with 3 or so repeats in a session. Ride hard, but in control to the top getting a good baseline time. Then ride back down to the bottom and with an easy recovery in the North Campground start your next one when you have had approximately as much recovery time as it took you to get to the top. Your goal will be to complete each repeat in the same time.
This can take some practice as you will likely go too hard on the first one and fade towards the end. As you get stronger you will learn to pace yourself as well. Work your way up from 3 that first night until you are riding 6 or 8 of them in a session.
Another option is to go for total elevation gain. We don't have mountain passes around here to get you several thousand feet of climbing in a ride. But if you came out to the park and rode these short repeats conservatively you can stack them together to get a lot of elevation gain in a single ride.