Over the weekend my friends John, Jordan, Kyle and I completed the Kickapoo Kicker, the second endurance ride in the Wisconsin Triple Crown series. This ride was much smoother than the first one (Arcadia's Brute) in that the weather was perfect (a cool day with a small amount of wind) and the hills were a bit easier. I also think a lot of it could be due to timing and expectations since the the first ride was early in the season (May) and the first time three of the four of us rode categorized hills.
Here's a look at the ride on Strava:
If you're not use to riding hills with significant elevation gain (10-20% grade), the key is to make sure you're got the right gearing and you ride at a steady pace (these are things I've learned this year while riding with these guys). I've got a compact crank in front, which I highly recommend if you're going to ride a lot of hills or like to hammer away in the big gears like I do (a compact crank is easier on your knees). In the back, I switched out my 11/25 cassette that I rode with in the Brute for a 11/28 cassette in the Kicker and felt this made a huge difference. In the Brute I walked up the second half of a few hills toward the end of the ride, while in the Kicker I had no problem (other than hills being a physically grueling).
I'm really looking forward to the Dairyland Dare. We've got two months to train and I'm excited for the change of pace that we'll find near Madison, since the hills are more rollers vs. long climbs. I'm also going to cut down from 235 to 225 pounds, which should provide some additional climbing punch.