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  1. #1
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    Nube Question: Cycling Incline

    I have a question for our experienced riders. I'm considering a 25 mile ride on Thursday with my riding club. The description says the route will have 740\' of climbing. I'm new to cycling and don't understand the numbering scheme and the severity. What is the correlation. Thanks


    "This is a 20-25 mile route with approximately 740\' of climbing. It passes into Bourbon County and visits Mattoxtown, Hutchison, and Muir".

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    This means that if you add up all the the ascents, large or small, long or short, in the 25-mile ride, it will total 740 feet of elevation change. 740 feet of climbing is nothing to sneeze at.

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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spanky1 View Post
    I have a question for our experienced riders. I'm considering a 25 mile ride on Thursday with my riding club. The description says the route will have 740\' of climbing. I'm new to cycling and don't understand the numbering scheme and the severity. What is the correlation. Thanks


    "This is a 20-25 mile route with approximately 740\' of climbing. It passes into Bourbon County and visits Mattoxtown, Hutchison, and Muir".
    I don't know the terrain, but I think it means one of two things. First, 740 feet is the difference between the highest point and the lowest point, regardless of how many times the grade changes. OR, 740 feet is the sum of all the climbs that are on the route.

    The first interpretation is the more intense ride (assuming no extreme slopes), since there are probably several ups and downs on the route. In this case the sum of all the ups would be greater than 740, resulting in more total work in climbing to complete the ride.

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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    740 feet of climbing is nothing to sneeze at.
    Agreed!

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    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    50'/mile climging is not bad. 75-100'/mile is pretty demanding.

    Your trip would be 28'/mile. Not very demanding.

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    You might want to go out and drive the route.

    As Weak Link observed, 28'/mile would not be that bad. On the other hand, if most of the climbing were concentrated in one or two big hills, it might not be a lot of fun.

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    So....I think we've established that 740 feet in 25 miles is either "nothing to sneeze at" or "not very demanding." We're always helpful!

    Maybe depends on what you're used to? Might be helpful to contact the ride leader in advance and get him/her to compare the terrain to something in the neighborhoods where you are used to riding.

    Here in Seattle, 740 feet of climbing in 25 miles would be considered "mostly flat." (My daily commute, over some typical Seattle terrain, is 1800 feet of climbing in 10 miles, each way. It's a very good workout if I try to do it quickly, nothing remarkable if I take it easy.)

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    So....I think we've established that 740 feet in 25 miles is either "nothing to sneeze at" or "not very demanding." We're always helpful!
    That's what I think too.

    Show up at the ride and see for yourself. The worst that can possibly happen is you'll have to ride the last 24 miles by yourself. That's not a very bad outcome and you'll know not to ride with that group again. At best you'll meet some new riding companions. What people always conveniently leave out is that, if you start and end at the same place, for every 740' of climbing there's also 740' of downhill.

    Go and have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Go and have fun.
    +1

    Best advice.

    BTW, I was nervous before my first Seattle-area organized ride. I actually went out and pre-rode the ride on a very nice weekend; it was a ride known for its "tough hills" and once I got a sense for what "tough" means it gave me a lot of confidence and some comparison against future rides. No substitute for doing a few local rides so you can start to figure out what local riders mean by "easy", "hilly," "challenging" etc.

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    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    I don't do group rides so I can't advise you about the ride. But I recently rode in a very hilly part of south central Wisconsin. Here are the stats: 3700 ft of ascent / in total 68 miles.

    I calculated the hardest climb to be about 8% when my heart rate was 175.

    The TdF would classify that as an Hors Category climb. (No bar room jokes please.)

    OK... so I'm not going to France...here's the rub:

    I climbed 249 ft over 3168 ft distance (0.6 miles).

    The typical TdF Hors Category climb is 5000 ft in 11.8 miles!!!

    And...they do it fast:
    /"One last note. I think it is inappropriate to compare the ascents of
    climbs by the European pros with the efforts of us mere mortals.
    I have said this time and time again and I will repeat it now. It
    is very, very hard for the average person to comprehend just how
    fast the pros climb the big passes. Pace makes all the difference.
    Riding a climb is very different than racing it."/

    So really, if your club ride is geared toward folks like yourself, who are relatively new to cycling, then it should be no problem. OTOH, if it is intended for TdF wannabe's, then you will be dropped and you will spend the time riding be yourself.

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    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    So take-home message is: if Carlos Sastre invites you to a ride, decline politely?

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    ^^ That's about the size of it.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    You might want to go out and drive the route.

    As Weak Link observed, 28'/mile would not be that bad. On the other hand, if most of the climbing were concentrated in one or two big hills, it might not be a lot of fun.
    You could also map the route into http://www.bikely.com or a similar service that shows the elevation profile. (In fact, you could even search bikely to see if someone has already input that route.)

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    740 feet of climbing over 25 miles is pretty close to pancake flat. Enjoy the ride.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Febs View Post
    You could also map the route into http://www.bikely.com or a similar service that shows the elevation profile. (In fact, you could even search bikely to see if someone has already input that route.)
    Good advice. One needs to determine how the elevation gain is distributed along the route. A single ascent of 740 ft up a 20% grade would be very demanding.
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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spanky1 View Post
    "This is a 20-25 mile route with approximately 740\' of climbing. It passes into Bourbon County and visits Mattoxtown, Hutchison, and Muir".
    When they describe it that way, they are usually talking about the total amount of climbing over the length of the ride. As other's have suggested, see if there is a route map or cue sheet on the website and go to Bikely.com and plot it in to see what you will be riding over.

    Plugging in the numbers we get 740/(5280x20) = 0.007007575 or less than a 1% grade overall.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 07-30-08 at 09:16 AM.
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  17. #17
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Your identifier says your in Kentucky and what I know of Kentucky is it is rolling hills (mountains in the east). Most rides post the total ascent not the highest to lowest point on the ride. If you know the route - map it on Bikely or Bikeroutetoaster (my favorite) and get the stats and profiles. 740' over 25 miles is not much but there might be some small steep grades in it. My experience is that club organized rides which are not rated as quick or fast rides (i.e. the A group) will have gentle rolling hills. Go have fun and if your ability does not match the group (you may be more capable then them as well) then ride at your own pace and have fun.
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  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    I don't do group rides so I can't advise you about the ride. But I recently rode in a very hilly part of south central Wisconsin. Here are the stats: 3700 ft of ascent / in total 68 miles.

    I calculated the hardest climb to be about 8% when my heart rate was 175.

    The TdF would classify that as an Hors Category climb. (No bar room jokes please.)

    OK... so I'm not going to France...here's the rub:

    I climbed 249 ft over 3168 ft distance (0.6 miles).

    The typical TdF Hors Category climb is 5000 ft in 11.8 miles!!!

    And...they do it fast:
    .
    Nothing wrong with a trip up Ventoux before Afternoon Tea. And once you get into the thythm- it still hurts.

    Attachment shows North climb and that is Metres and Kms. Translates to 5,000ft in 13 miles.




    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    740 feet of climbing over 25 miles is pretty close to pancake flat. Enjoy the ride.
    Heard that before somewhere
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    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    50'/mile climging is not bad. 75-100'/mile is pretty demanding.

    Your trip would be 28'/mile. Not very demanding.
    This is true, but these are general guidelines. As others have said, one 740 foot climb could be hard, but 740 over 25 miles is nothing. Generally speaking, 100 feet per mile is a hilly ride. For example, 10,000 feet of gain in a century makes a tough century for most of us.
    Those TDF Hors catagory things take into account what the riders did before they got to the climb. For example, Alpe du huez, according to a 60 year old friend who has done it twice, isn't all that hard. But doing it after climbing 10,000 feet on other mountains makes it HC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    740 feet of climbing over 25 miles is pretty close to pancake flat. Enjoy the ride.
    Agree, the only way to see if the ride works for you is to do it.

    Several weeks ago we did a 102 mile ride with 7,700 vertical gain. Advertised as 8,500 feet gain. Steepest road section was 17%, fortunately not too long a grade! Only in WVa would someone build a road with that incline.

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    Just looked at one of my 19 mile loops out of my office in Carnegie, PA. Total elevation gain of 2467 feet in 19 miles which works out to 129.8 feet per mile of gain.

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    Cycler Suzie Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    You might want to go out and drive the route.

    Sorry, I have to respectfully disagree. This is one of the reasons why gas is $4 per gallon. This is a bike forum...go out and pedal the route and have fun. The worst thing that can happen is it'll be harder than you thought and you'll build some character.

  23. #23
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzie Green View Post
    ... This is a bike forum...go out and pedal the route and have fun. The worst thing that can happen is it'll be harder than you thought and you'll build some character.
    +1
    Why are people so obsessed with knowing every detail about a bike route before they ride it? Discover it as you ride it.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  24. #24
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    +1
    Why are people so obsessed with knowing every detail about a bike route before they ride it? Discover it as you ride it.
    I like to know the profile so I can plan the ride - am I going to throw the coals on early or save them for later, Can I sprint the hills as I come to them or should I grind them out more slowly? Most times I don't always get the luxury of knowing.

    Here is an xample of what you could get youurself in to without knowing. I call the route "The Wall"
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