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I rode Mike Simmons’ “Legs of ‘Stone’ Challenge” yesterday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


In my July 31, 2012 blog, I wrote about how I rode 10 Gravity Destroyer repeats at the Mt. Dora MTB trails on the previous day. I did this workout because I saw that fellow rider Mike Simmons (Mike and I constantly have several friendly, but competitive, KOM competitions going on out there) had done something similar, and it sounded like a great workout. Man, was it ever! After completing 10 repeats, I named that feat a “Simmons” since Mike was the one who came up with the idea (and did it first).

After I did that workout Mike decided to evolve it into an open challenge, which I thought was a great idea. He did this by clearly establishing the route and the rules of the game, and then issued the challenge to all riders at Mt. Dora.

Here was Mike’s message on Strava:

“For all you Mt Dora area riders I am challenging you. Descend Mini Destroyer and take an immediate left at the bottom by the pond and climb Gravity Destroyer, repeat for 1 hour. The bar is now set at 11 repeats. Enjoy! You can thank me later.”

You can find a picture of just about anything you want on the Internets.

You can find a picture of just about anything you want on the Internets.

Mike named the challenge “The One Hour Legs of ‘Stone’ Challenge”, which clearly meant I had no choice but to participate. 🙂 Mike set the bar high with an impressive ride: 11 laps in 59m10s.

After Monday’s extremely fun (but not very challenging from a cardiovascular perspective) ride at Soldiers Creek, yesterday I was in the mood for a serious workout. As I loaded my bike into my truck I made up my mind to take my best shot at the “Stone” challenge.

The heat and humidity were pretty ugly, but I was feeling really good when I arrived at the trailhead. Simple math told me that in order to do 12 repeats in less than an hour, I was going to have to average no more than 5 minutes per lap. For my race strategy I decided to ride the first lap at an aggressive, but sustainable pace, and adjust from there.

After the first lap I was ahead of pace a fair amount, but I knew from prior experience that all those climbs in the heat and humidity would start to take their toll after 6 or 7 laps. I decided to continue at the pace I was on, figuring I’d need the extra time later.

Sure enough, as the ride wore on the heat and heavy exertion began to take their toll: my heart rate was higher on each successive lap, my legs were getting tired and my splits began to slow. After completing 10 laps I was around 20 seconds behind pace. I decided on lap 11 to push a little harder, because I knew if I could finish lap 11 with at least 4m45s to go, I could complete the 12th lap with a hard final push…

I made up a little time on the 11th lap, and as I started the 12th and final lap I knew that barring a wreck I would complete it under the 1 hour mark. I rode very hard on that final lap, but fatigue was affecting my ability to ride well. I came very close to wrecking twice, but I somehow manged to keep it together. In fact, that 12th lap was my 2nd best time ever on the Gravity Destroyer climb! My previous personal record time on that climb was actually bested on my 2nd lap yesterday, which I find amazing because I was pacing myself. In other words, I need to get out there and hammer that climb on fresh legs. I should be able to destroy my current personal best.

Anyway, I did break the “Legs of ‘Stone’ Challenge” record and completed 12 Gravity Destroyer repeats with a time of 59m44s!

Up and down, up and down...

Up and down, up and down…

My average heart rate over the hour was 181 BPM, with a max of 197 BPM. You can check out the complete ride on Strava here.

That was not only one of the most killer mountain biking workouts I’ve ever done, I feel like all those repeats going uphill with tight turns and switchbacks are really making me a better rider.

Excellent challenge, Mike–thank you! I loved it and hated it at the same time.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “I rode Mike Simmons’ “Legs of ‘Stone’ Challenge” yesterday.”
  1. Off-Topic to the update, but what are your thoughts regarding your home gym, which I infer that you are basically just using once a week now (not counting indoor biking sessions)?

    With the benefit of hindsight, do you regret dedicating a larger portion of your house to that space – or do you see yourself utilizing the gym again with regularity in the future?

    I ask this as someone who has had a bare-bones home gym since ’09, and finally beefed it up and put the finishing touches on it this year – only to not be able to use it due to an achilles injury. I basically spend more time than I care to admit walking around my gym – wishing I could be working out.

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    • I don’t regret my home gym in the least! When I’m cutting use my gym three times per week (actually 4 to 5 times including cardio), and even now I’m in there at least a couple of times per week on average. I will probably never join a gym, as working out at home is best suited to my lifestyle and personality. So no–I have never regretted the choice to devote one of the rooms in my home to fitness. Fitness is a huge part of my life, and my home gym has been a key part of that.

      Don’t be discouraged by your injury. I’ve been there, and I know it’s frustrating, but you’ll be working out again soon enough.

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