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Measuring hill difficulty

Old 09-16-22, 02:49 PM
  #26  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
My method is to ride them.

Might be more fun to roll bowling balls down them, but maybe that's just me.
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Old 09-17-22, 12:17 AM
  #27  
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I havenít seen anyone mention here the climb categories as calculated in Strava:

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/...Categorization
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Old 09-17-22, 12:50 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Here's my classification system:
A. Stuff I can do easily
B. Stuff I can do but kind of hard, still fun
C. Stuff I can do but miserable
D. Stuff I can't do.
E. Stuff I really, really can't do.

TBH, I really hate steep descent more than I hate steep climbing. The roads and my eyes are both getting worse.
agreed. don't mind the ridiculous climbs of whatever length. the descents down the same extreme grade once it gets over 6-7% for me are just to be avoided if possible. no fun. now a 3.5-6% grade descent,
can generally pull off the descent, even if technical, by using all of the road/sitting up/opening up the full zip jersey without braking. that is much more exciting and challenging than descending a steep grade while riding
the brakes-to me anyway. i don't go over 40 mph anymore. those days are long gone.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 09-17-22 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 09-18-22, 06:41 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I havenít seen anyone mention here the climb categories as calculated in Strava:

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/...Categorization
Thanks. Here's the gist of it ...

Determining Climb Categories

A segment can be categorized as a climb on Strava if it meets the following criteria:
  • The average gradient is at least 3.0%
  • The segment distance is at least 300 meters.
  • The length of the climb (in meters) multiplied by the grade of the climb is greater than 8,000.
You will see that a segment is categorized by the number on both the segment page and on the list of segments on your activity page. The categories are broken down as follows:
  • Cat 4 > 8000
  • Cat 3 > 16000
  • Cat 2 > 32000
  • Cat 1 > 64000
  • HC (Hors Categorie) > 80000
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Old 09-19-22, 12:09 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
This thread is a mediocre place for a nagging question about hills. Is it better to attack the beginning incline of a hill to increase initial momentum or just find a comfortable pace you can ride the entire hill. For instance, I am thinking 5% for a mile.

I usually will take a hard run a the start of a longish hill but to me it seems like a waste of energy without any real gain. Correct?

And back to the thread… time X distance x power (or heart rate) is a nice lame way to calculate.
Run at an uphill longer than you can 'power' up and over usually finds me then flagging for the remainder of any steep grade.
I think the question is do 'comfortable' or do 'suffer' (with strength). Again, for uphills longer than you can punch over (which sometimes is still fairly long).
1 mile w avg of 5% ish (means some sections steeper).
I usually pick the 'suffer' with strength. It's a visual thing (if I'm not familiar with the climb/hill). If I can see a fairly steady grade ahead, I'll try to keep close to, but below, my AT Heart rate, and if I have a gear I can do at least 70-75 ish rpm. If I see a sharp rise ahead, I judge the grade increase, bring the HR down to give some headroom for increased effort, make a good guess on gearing.
I'm not sure what the definition for 'comfortable climb' is, so I don' think I've ever done that. There doesn't seem any way to do 10%+ grade as 'comfortable'.
If I fall below 70 rpm, I'll get out of the saddle more often, to keep momentum and rhythm up. If I go over 80, I'll drop into a bigger gear.
If the % grade lowers a bit, I'll find a gear which can keep me at 75 - that's my longer term, best/optimum balance between aerobic and power.
5-6% is a tough spot. It's not that steep that gearing choice is critical, but it's also not a grade that won; punish you, if you get too enthusiastic.
anyway, so much depends on your state, when you reach an uphill/climb.
Ride On
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Last edited by cyclezen; 09-19-22 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 09-19-22, 11:03 AM
  #31  
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Just noted to myself, because of another thread on climbing, the key, the importance of mind set...
We all speak of cycling hard, at our highest effort/level as a form of 'suffering', and that is true, to some extent.
but thinking about it and how I am actually 'feeling' in the moment of hardest effort. I'm not really thinking about the 'suffering'.
In the moment I'm trying to find/develop the 'determination' to keep it going or to find 'more' in myself. When the 'Determination' collapses, so do I.
IE - watching races, we often see a rider/riders out front, fighting mightily to stay in front, but after long, extended DETERMINED effort, they are caught by a strong chasing group.
Often they are caught and passed, and often that same rider/riders fall off the back of the catching group - lose of determination...
Sometimes the caught riders join onto the passing group ... continued determination...
I don;t think 'Determination' can take anyone above their potential, but it does take you to the best of your potential. Without Determination, I don;t think we can get close to our potential. In climbing or anything. (Reminded of that on yesterday's group ride...)
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Old 09-19-22, 11:12 AM
  #32  
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"Hill difficulty" is a concept that *has to* be relative only to oneself - hard for me may not be hard for you, big dog. So, I'd say that Joules delivered is a good measure representing the work done to get my sorry batoomba from trough to crest, assuming I will apply a fairly consistent effort.
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Old 09-19-22, 12:27 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
Just noted to myself, because of another thread on climbing, the key, the importance of mind set...
I don;t think 'Determination' can take anyone above their potential, but it does take you to the best of your potential. Without Determination, I don;t think we can get close to our potential. In climbing or anything.
This is so true. Strenuous activities like biking and running have a psychological component that is as important as the physical. Physical conditioning can become a limiting factor, but more often it is the athlete's mental determination (or lack thereof) that sets the limit. How badly do you want to pass the guy ahead of you, achieve a five minute mile, or climb the mountain pass ahead without stopping to rest? Are you more averse to pain, or to settling for a slower pace? Are you truly convinced that a max effort over a given length of time will be worth it and will not kill you? At efforts approaching our max physical capability, mental determination makes a world of difference, and it often becomes the deciding factor in a race or an individual challenge.
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Old 09-21-22, 08:11 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I havenít seen anyone mention here the climb categories as calculated in Strava:

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/...Categorization
I don't see that in my Strava. Must be a paid feature for premium.
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Old 09-21-22, 10:30 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I don't see that [climb categories] in my Strava. Must be a paid feature for premium.
I think it's available without a subscription, but it only works on segments. Any segment that's cat 4 or higher will be marked with its category.

Check out the "Segment Explore" feature, in a browser:



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Old 09-21-22, 01:53 PM
  #36  
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OK. I never use anything but the app. But I see that now in the browser version.
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Old 09-27-22, 12:18 PM
  #37  
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Even the same hill can be measured in two different ways. Here's the elevation profile of a local 'hill' if you were to ride it in the north-south direction:

It would be a completely different hill if you were to reverse the route and go south-north! This hill is 2 different climbs.
#1 most obvious statement, is that if you go north-south (left to right on the elevation profile), you are starting at a much lower elevation and have way more vertical gain!
#2 is that for the north-south direction even if you were to start at the same elevation (1215ft), the grade is much steeper - the south-north direction (right to left) is longer but gentler
#3 is that the south-north direction is not only gentler, but includes a bit of flat and even slight downhill, which gives you a chance to rest
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