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Old 03-28-10, 07:39 AM   #1
jppe
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Good Meaure for Climbing Rides + More

I've always felt that doing a ride that averages 100' of climbing per mile over the entire length of a ride is a pretty good measure. It's the baseline I've used to help determine a difficulty of a ride. Some factors that can increase the difficulty is the steepness of climbs. length of climbs or where they are in a route. A ride may be a little under the 100' per mile but if some of the grades are really steep that can balance it out. Putting all the climbs in the back half of a long ride always adds to the difficulty for me as well.

Yesterday's ride was 81 miles with about 8100 ft of climbing. Some grades were 18%-and there were several of them. Climbs were 1-5 miles. Fortunately most of the climbing was in the first 2/3 of the route but there was one 1 miler near the end that was pretty ugly. All in all it's a pretty tough route but an excellent one for training.

I averaged a whopping 15 mph. But the new 10 sp SRAM XX 11-32 worked flawlessly. I was in the 34-32 way more than I expected. I've done this ride on 34-27 before but yesterday there's no way I could have done it. I know I'm a little heavier but I'm seeing my ability to push a harder gear slip away-just like my former 290 yard drives!

I was also interested to see how my new shoes would hold up and didn't experience any discomfort so they passed the test again. I had also put on a new set of "wing" carbon bars on the bike the night before and I really like those for climbing. Much more comfortable for hands on the bars.

I got several questions from some of the other riders on my gearing. Many were ready to swap bikes on some of the steeper hills.

I also worked on not stopping so that made me a little slower from a mph perspective but just working on endurance right now. I only one quick stop to refill a water bottle. Fortunately I don't have Iber's problems just yet so didn't need any nature breaks.

Beautiful day to ride in the NC mountains-clear skies. Cool but perfect for the hills. The great thing about the NC mountains is you can be selective about the degree of difficulty of the rides you'd like to do. You just have to know the various roads and routes.
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Old 03-28-10, 08:30 AM   #2
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I never thought of that as a measure. I usually just look at the vertical of the long climbs, if a ride were just rollers there would be a lot of vertical but not a lot of climbing. However if a ride has a single 2000' ascent at an average 8% grade - now that is a hard ride.

I envy the fact you are able to push out to 80+ miles right now, I am not ready for that distance, still getting my legs back. I will only go for about 30 miles today but the plan is to have an 1100' climb in the middle with a sustained 8% grade (and a little 10% tweaker at the end). There is also a short stretch of 15% grade ( an altitude gain of only 150') near the very end of the ride but I usually don't count that one - about a dozen kicks out of the saddle gets me over.

Unfortunately it's still below 40 degrees here - I will wait a few hours and let it warm up.

If your into this kind of stuff (and I know that you are) - come join us for the Greylock Century. I climbed Greylock last summer for the first time where Greylock was after an ascent up and over the taconics (which we had to go back over to get home). That 10 mile climb was the most difficult of the season as my conditioning had already started to decline. In July I should be getting close to peak so this will be a good challenge.
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Old 03-28-10, 10:08 AM   #3
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I've always felt that doing a ride that averages 100' of climbing per mile over the entire length of a ride is a pretty good measure. It's the baseline I've used to help determine a difficulty of a ride. Some factors that can increase the difficulty is the steepness of climbs. length of climbs or where they are in a route. A ride may be a little under the 100' per mile but if some of the grades are really steep that can balance it out. Putting all the climbs in the back half of a long ride always adds to the difficulty for me as well.

Yesterday's ride was 81 miles with about 8100 ft of climbing. Some grades were 18%-and there were several of them. Climbs were 1-5 miles. Fortunately most of the climbing was in the first 2/3 of the route but there was one 1 miler near the end that was pretty ugly. All in all it's a pretty tough route but an excellent one for training.

I averaged a whopping 15 mph. But the new 10 sp SRAM XX 11-32 worked flawlessly. I was in the 34-32 way more than I expected. I've done this ride on 34-27 before but yesterday there's no way I could have done it. I know I'm a little heavier but I'm seeing my ability to push a harder gear slip away-just like my former 290 yard drives!

I was also interested to see how my new shoes would hold up and didn't experience any discomfort so they passed the test again. I had also put on a new set of "wing" carbon bars on the bike the night before and I really like those for climbing. Much more comfortable for hands on the bars.

I got several questions from some of the other riders on my gearing. Many were ready to swap bikes on some of the steeper hills.

I also worked on not stopping so that made me a little slower from a mph perspective but just working on endurance right now. I only one quick stop to refill a water bottle. Fortunately I don't have Iber's problems just yet so didn't need any nature breaks.

Beautiful day to ride in the NC mountains-clear skies. Cool but perfect for the hills. The great thing about the NC mountains is you can be selective about the degree of difficulty of the rides you'd like to do. You just have to know the various roads and routes.
Whether 100' per mile makes sense or not, depends on how you measure it, and the geography, for example if I ride North from here, I can ride 40 miles and end up 2500' higher then when I started, an average of 62.5' per mile, low on your account, yet if I remove all the descents (because it goes up and down like a single stall at a country bar on free beer night), it's actually about 25000' of climbing, interspersed with 5 second descents.
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Old 03-28-10, 02:09 PM   #4
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Whether 100' per mile makes sense or not, depends on how you measure it, and the geography, for example if I ride North from here, I can ride 40 miles and end up 2500' higher then when I started, an average of 62.5' per mile, low on your account, yet if I remove all the descents (because it goes up and down like a single stall at a country bar on free beer night), it's actually about 25000' of climbing, interspersed with 5 second descents.
I probably wasn't very clear. The 100' per mile is cumulative climbing-not net or discounted for descents. So your 40 mile ride has 25,000 ft of cumulative climbing?
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Old 03-28-10, 03:16 PM   #5
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I probably wasn't very clear. The 100' per mile is cumulative climbing-not net or discounted for descents. So your 40 mile ride has 25,000 ft of cumulative climbing?
Sometimes it feels like it, 30 minutes climbing in the granny gear, at 5km/h followed by 30 seconds of descent at 50km/h, followed by 30 minutes of climbing, with some yahoo in a 2m wide Asian made car, that sounds like it has no muffler, passing with 5mm to spare even in a 4m wide lane usually at something close to if not exceeding double the speed limit. Usually about half way up the climb, so you spend half the climb wondering if you will need to bail. It's probably a lot less then 25,000', but it does feel like it.
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Old 03-28-10, 03:17 PM   #6
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I've always agreed that the 100' per mile is a good way to compare rides, at least as one factor.
So, jppe, are you training for a specific event, or just general fitness?
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Old 03-28-10, 04:20 PM   #7
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What specific rear derailleur are you using Joe?
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Old 03-29-10, 10:00 AM   #8
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I think 100 feet per mile may be hard but 80+ miles and 100 feet per mile is very hard.

Here is some data from our training ride last Sunday which featured 3X20 minute z3 climbing intervals with standing z4/z5 30 - 60 second intervals every 3 minutes - 43 miles with 4300 feet of climbing with typical grades of 6 to 9% and an average speed of 14.7 mph. To keep the cadence up and z3 power on the climbs, I used my 34/26. I would shift up two to three gears for the standing effort such as a 34/21 or 34/19.

We found that our old Garmin without an altimeter grossly overstated the climbing. For example, this ride would have registered over 125 feet per mile of climbing with our older Garmin.

BTW, the work in Kj directly converts to calories based upon a human body conversion efficiency of 25%. In general, for this type of workout and intensity, I burn around 500 calores per hour.

Entire workout (144 watts):
Duration: 2:56:20
Work: 1519 kJ
TSS: 158.4 (intensity factor 0.734)
Norm Power: 184
Distance: 43.277 mi
Elevation Gain: 4342 ft
Elevation Loss: 4323 ft

Min Max Avg
Power: 0 529 144 watts
Heart Rate: 77 149 121 bpm
Cadence: 13 115 80 rpm
Speed: 0 32 14.7 mph
Altitude: 142 1386 560 ft
Crank Torque: 0 697 164 lb-in
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Old 03-29-10, 06:31 PM   #9
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What specific rear derailleur are you using Joe?
I'm still usng the XT. I did not change it when I converted from 9 speed to 10 speed. It has been rock solid and very smooth. Never missed a shift.
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Old 03-29-10, 08:13 PM   #10
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Here in Sw Pa 100 ft of elevation gain per mile is a pretty standard ride. Last ride of 38 miles had only 2800 ft of gain but everyone agreed the Garmin must be wrong.
Lots of steep climbs even if short make a difference.
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Old 03-29-10, 11:34 PM   #11
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I'm still usng the XT. I did not change it when I converted from 9 speed to 10 speed. It has been rock solid and very smooth. Never missed a shift.
What brifters did you change to? I assume you stayed Shimano or derailer change would be required I think.(Sorry, this may have come up in another post, I can't recall.) Anything else change other than the cassette and brifters?
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