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Elevation gain/mile.

Old 06-18-07, 05:07 AM
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Elevation gain/mile.

In another thread here there is a list of grading for group ride difficulties. I noticed that the #3 or more difficult ride was listed as a 50/100 ft mile elevation gain.

A lot of the time here we are discussing 200 to 300 foot hills and climbing technique but I've never gotten a feel for what people think about various rates of elevation gain.

Anyone got any ideas/comments.
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Old 06-18-07, 06:30 AM
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100 ft of gain over 50 miles and your going to feel it! Especially if the hills are steep like we have here in W. PA.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:02 AM
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Good question. However, the only thing I know is most of the hills I ride range from .25 to about 2 miles and gain from about 100 to 400 ft in elevation. Pretty tough for me. The hardest one is .25 miles at 18%.

The related qustion I have is 'What is the definition of "Rolling Hills"' I see that phrase used often. Does a rolling hill have to go down after going up? Does it have a height limit? Is something like the Brooklyn Bridge considered a rolling hill? If you climb 1000 feet up a mountain and then go down the other side, is that still considered a rolling hill?
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Old 06-18-07, 07:06 AM
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I just checked on http://www.toporoute.com/index.htm (why isn't that hyper linking ? ) What I consider my close to home, hilly, route has roughly 1050 ft of climbing in 16.5 miles. Level ground is hard to find here in Western Pa
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Old 06-18-07, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills
The related qustion I have is 'What is the definition of "Rolling Hills"' I see that phrase used often. Does a rolling hill have to go down after going up? Does it have a height limit? Is something like the Brooklyn Bridge considered a rolling hill? If you climb 1000 feet up a mountain and then go down the other side, is that still considered a rolling hill?
Here's my take on "rolling hills".

In my area we have roads with slight hills one right after the other. They aren't tough climbs and if you get enough speed on the downhill you can often roll up the other side. At the very least you only need to pedal about 1/3 of the other side. I love them.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:25 AM
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Our flattest rides are approximately 80 feet per mile according to Garmin. If we ride up Skyline, it goes up to 120 feet per mile However, the tougher rides are the long climbs of 5 miles plus at 7%+ average grades. Our easiest 40 mile ride will have 3500 feet of elevation gained (which we consider flat) but if you put all that elevation into a 30 mile loop up Skyline and down it is a much more difficult ride and the average speed drops. One never gets back the lost climbing time in a fast descent.

Edit: I consider rolling hills, hills that you have to stand up for seconds not minutes to maintain speed.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:47 AM
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Here's an assosciated question. Net altitude gain or Gross altitude gain. My rides end where they start. What should I count as climbing?
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Old 06-18-07, 07:53 AM
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I would say Gross Gain. If you end where you start your net is always zero.
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Old 06-18-07, 08:06 AM
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Gross climbing...don't matter if the net equals zero...you still had to climb them hills.
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Old 06-18-07, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx
Here's an assosciated question. Net altitude gain or Gross altitude gain. My rides end where they start. What should I count as climbing?
Bikely route mapping gives you total climbing and total descent data. But they don't have the "follow the road" feature that topo route has, so you have to put in a lot more points when planning a route. Topo route doesn't give you total climbing and total descent though.
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Old 06-18-07, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Gross climbing...don't matter if the net equals zero...you still had to climb them hills.
+1
I don't think you subtract effort for coasting down the other side. I think of it like the sprint drills we used to run (on foot). Just because you rest in between 40's doesn't mean you get the energy back. I'd take total climbed distance irrespective of starting and finishing altitude. And the rolling hills I've ridden --never seem to get very far up the next hill based solely on momentum from previous downhill.

(I remember some efforts to restrict certain marathon courses (notably Boston because it is a significant net downhill) from being allowed to establish record times. And yet Boston doesn't ever seem to challenge marathon record time. My opinion is that running downhill can be physically as hard on your body as running uphill -but that's not the same as biking)
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Old 06-18-07, 09:45 AM
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The rolling hills are what is featured in several southwestern Wisconsin events. Riding 100 miles through this region, on back roads & if you are looking for hills, not valleys, then you'll usually have to climb around 10,000' - 12,000'. There is a 300km race that claims to have a total elevation gain of over 22,000'.

On the rail trail that passes my house, I'm on a 1.5 mile section that has a 150' gain, a steady 2% incline. When I first started riding, that used to drain me. Now I can ride it like it is a flat, just down one gear. I'm coming to appreciate it as a mild workout. I'm sure many of the riders here would not even notice that it is slightly uphill.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
On the rail trail that passes my house, I'm on a 1.5 mile section that has a 150' gain, a steady 2% incline. When I first started riding, that used to drain me. Now I can ride it like it is a flat, just down one gear. I'm coming to appreciate it as a mild workout. I'm sure many of the riders here would not even notice that it is slightly uphill.
There's a rail-to-trail near my home that has a 5 mile section with 301' gain. It's a perfect place to work on cadence as you can never quite quit pedaling, especially when there's a headwind. On the return trip it's easy to maintain 18-20 mph without much effort
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Old 06-18-07, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
There's a rail-to-trail near my home that has a 5 mile section with 301' gain. It's a perfect place to work on cadence as you can never quite quit pedaling, especially when there's a headwind. On the return trip it's easy to maintain 18-20 mph without much effort
It is easy for YOU to say!!!

I'm all the way up to maintaining 11-12 mph! Which is a big gain from my earlier 7-8 mph.

Of course 300' over 5 miles is flatter than 150' over 1.5 miles. I might pick up another 1 mph on yours.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
It is easy for YOU to say!!!

I'm all the way up to maintaining 11-12 mph! Which is a big gain from my earlier 7-8 mph.

Of course 300' over 5 miles is flatter than 150' over 1.5 miles. I might pick up another 1 mph on yours.
I really have to push for that 18-20 mph even with the slight down grade

The Garmin usually stays on the 1% grade reading for this section of the trail.

I was riding this section with some friends(?) one day and complained that the slight grade seemed much tougher than usual. He just kept saying "Yep, it does seem a little tougher today - might be the headwind". About a half mile down the trail he said it might not be as tough if we would stop and fix my back tire that was going flat
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Old 06-18-07, 12:59 PM
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What I've used as a rule of thumb for longer rides is the 10x rule. If a ride as 10 times the climbing feet for every mile ridden I consider it a pretty challenging ride and has lots of climbing. For example, if a 100 mile ride has 10,000+/- feet of climbing it's a pretty tough ride for me and one I just can't jump out and do without some preparation. My rule of thumb equates to about 6200 feet for a metric century (62 miles).

I'm thinking that only works out to be an average of 2% over the entire length of the route which doesn't seem like much, but usually the climbing is bunched together in bigger hills.

It's funny how there are different definitions for rollers. The folks at the bike shop in New Mexico last summer told me of a long 20 mile road that was rollers and I was almost in the granny going up those suckers. They were 1/2 mile down and 1/2 mile back up. Nothing too steep but it wasn't what I was thinking of when I think of rollers.......
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Old 06-18-07, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
I really have to push for that 18-20 mph even with the slight down grade

The Garmin usually stays on the 1% grade reading for this section of the trail.

I was riding this section with some friends(?) one day and complained that the slight grade seemed much tougher than usual. He just kept saying "Yep, it does seem a little tougher today - might be the headwind". About a half mile down the trail he said it might not be as tough if we would stop and fix my back tire that was going flat
Great friends that sort. But hey, at least he told you.
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Old 06-18-07, 01:32 PM
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Under my definition, 'rolling hills' are gentle enough that roads can run straight regardless of the orientation of the hills. If the road has to start following the side of the hill to cut the grade down to something manageable, it's no longer a rolling hill! I've seen some hills where the road goes straight up the side but they're pretty steep; so in spite of the road, I don't call them rollers. Some of the foothills in S. California are that way - straight up the hill at 15-20%.

OTOH, that's not to be confused with 'rollers.' Rollers are hills that are small enough and close enough together that you can blast down one and top the next one with nothing more than a few extra pushes or maybe a quick downshift-and-spin at the top. Like a roller coaster.
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Old 06-18-07, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe
What I've used as a rule of thumb for longer rides is the 10x rule. If a ride as 10 times the climbing feet for every mile ridden I consider it a pretty challenging ride and has lots of climbing. For example, if a 100 mile ride has 10,000+/- feet of climbing it's a pretty tough ride for me and one I just can't jump out and do without some preparation. My rule of thumb equates to about 6200 feet for a metric century (62 miles)...
+1

And rollers, to me, are a set of rises that you can pedal down and...just...barely...up, in your big ring without losing too much speed. Probably out of the saddle near the top. The faster you go, the easier they are.
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Old 06-18-07, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Under my definition, 'rolling hills' are gentle enough that roads can run straight regardless of the orientation of the hills. If the road has to start following the side of the hill to cut the grade down to something manageable, it's no longer a rolling hill! I've seen some hills where the road goes straight up the side but they're pretty steep; so in spite of the road, I don't call them rollers. Some of the foothills in S. California are that way - straight up the hill at 15-20%.

OTOH, that's not to be confused with 'rollers.' Rollers are hills that are small enough and close enough together that you can blast down one and top the next one with nothing more than a few extra pushes or maybe a quick downshift-and-spin at the top. Like a roller coaster.
This sounds about right to me. I love those rollers!
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Old 06-18-07, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
I really have to push for that 18-20 mph even with the slight down grade
Hey, I thought you were saying you did the 18-20 while going UP the grade!!!

I'm now up to around 15-16 when going down the long, slight grade.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
Hey, I thought you were saying you did the 18-20 while going UP the grade!!!

I'm now up to around 15-16 when going down the long, slight grade.
With a stiff tailwind I might be able to hit 18-20 on the upgrade but maintaining it would be impossible
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