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Gradient blindness

Old 02-23-24, 10:48 AM
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Reminds me of those spots where the locals will put eggs on the road and they will roll "uphill" due to the optical illusion. (Or mysterious electrical/magnetic effects, take your pick. )
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Old 02-23-24, 12:12 PM
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Here's one of those roads where you can't tell the grade by looking at it. Highway 168 out of Bishop. It's a tilted plane, about 6%.


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Old 02-23-24, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug
Stuart is spot on, there is a section of highway in Wyoming where every year my wife and I on our snowbirding trip swear it looks as though the river next to the highway is flowing uphill.
+1 First Cycle Oregon, day 1 we rode up the Wallawa river for 20 or 30 miles. Much of the 2000' difference between Elgin where we started and Enterprise, our camp that night. Weird. The riding was easy and my eyes kept telling me the water was running with us.
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Old 02-23-24, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Here's one of those roads where you can't tell the grade by looking at it. Highway 168 out of Bishop. It's a tilted plane, about 6%.


Uphill, or is the camera tilted weirdly?
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Old 02-23-24, 03:18 PM
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Foreshortening

Stand at the base of something tall that doesnít have clear lines to judge its height. Devilís Tower and El Capitan are especially good examples of this.

They donít look very tall.

The brain doesnít seem to be able to decode it all, especially from close up.

I donít think I can relate. When Iím riding up a mountain, it doesnít look like itíll ever end to me.
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Old 02-23-24, 09:54 PM
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Iíve had that happen before; a gradual increase from flat to a slight grade; particularly if youíre in the woods or otherwise donít have clear sightlines for reference.

Riding along trying to figure out why youíre struggling to hold your pace, until a gap in the trees shows that youíre now a couple hundred feet higher than the river that youíd been running along with for the last few miles
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Old 02-24-24, 07:42 AM
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A modern bike computer that can display % grade will tell the truth. They display what you've just ridden over, so abrupt changes aren't displayed quickly. Pedaling effort doesn't lie either. If it gets tougher to pedal, you're going uphill or against a wind. Easier climbing with a tail wind can be difficult to detect.
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Old 02-24-24, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
A modern bike computer that can display % grade will tell the truth. They display what you've just ridden over, so abrupt changes aren't displayed quickly. Pedaling effort doesn't lie either. If it gets tougher to pedal, you're going uphill or against a wind. Easier climbing with a tail wind can be difficult to detect.
I find my power meter useful too. If Iím riding at my expected power then I know that any unexpected loss of speed must be due to slope or wind etc. I find it reassuring to reference my power whenever my speed is lower than I subjectively feel it should be. False flats are a good example of that feeling. If my power is on target then I donít worry about my speed.
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Old 02-24-24, 08:16 AM
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There are some local bike path stretches where I experience this. Sometimes it helps to look at trees, power poles or anything else that's supposed to be vertical. Trees are tricky, though, because a prevailing wind can put them all at a similar lean. Such things are there to amuse you while you ride.
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Old 02-24-24, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
...I've pedaled up Pikes Peak three times...
I've hiked up twice...I couldn't imagine biking up, especially above 11,000 feet where the air gets really thin. Biking up is a major accomplishment! Well done!
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Old 02-24-24, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
I've hiked up twice...I couldn't imagine biking up, especially above 11,000 feet where the air gets really thin. Biking up is a major accomplishment! Well done!
That was after they paved the road all the way to the top from the North. I've hiked up Barr Trail at least a dozen times, which is also no slouch. That's a tough climb. Good on you for making it!
It's also been interesting seeing the upward creep of vegetation. I have some photographs from the early 90s of some points of the trail that show mangled trees that couldn't survive above 11,000 feet, and then 20 years later, there were some sprouting, healthy aspens.
It's such a beautiful place. Both sides.
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Old 02-24-24, 07:48 PM
  #37  
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FYI, Rouvy has a route up Pike's Peak:



Hypoxia not included. I haven't done the fake ride...yet. It's pretty long for a trainer session. My posterior would not be happy after that ride.
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Old 02-25-24, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
FYI, Rouvy has a route up Pike's Peak:



Hypoxia not included. I haven't done the fake ride...yet. It's pretty long for a trainer session. My posterior would not be happy after that ride.
Three of the hardest rides I've ever done. About 3 hours to climb up, about 40 minutes to ride back down to Manitou Springs. Even though I rode up in July and August, it still snowed all three times. When you get over 12,000 feet, your lips and fingernails turn blue from lack of oxygen, and you still have 2000 feet to climb. It's an experience.

Edit: Aspirin helps with the altitude-sickness, but I had better results with lots of Alka-Seltzer. It really helps.

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Old 02-25-24, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Three of the hardest rides I've ever done. About 3 hours to climb up, about 40 minutes to ride back down to Manitou Springs. Even though I rode up in July and August, it still snowed all three times. When you get over 12,000 feet, your lips and fingernails turn blue from lack of oxygen, and you still have 2000 feet to climb. It's an experience.

Edit: Aspirin helps with the altitude-sickness, but I had better results with lots of Alka-Seltzer. It really helps.
I wouldn't even think about trying Pike's Peak without being acclimated to altitude.

The year I did Mt. Evans, I spent a week at Snowbird, Utah, a week at Aspen, and a final week at Breckenridge. No altitude sickness.

An in case anyone wants to attempt the Pike's Peak KOM, it currently is 1:36:31, 11.5 mph, average power 335 W, average climbing rate 3936 ft/h. Easy picking.
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Old 02-25-24, 11:26 AM
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Have not experienced gradient blindness but have experienced the sensation that either my tire/s are low on air or my brakes are dragging. When I stop the bike and check, everything is fine and then it dawns on me, itís me thatís dragging. The weird thing is that it is usually a temporary sensation, or else my brain kicks in and says, ďHey stupid, itís youĒ and it goes away. Strange.
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Old 02-25-24, 01:04 PM
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The central Phoenix metro area north of the Salt River slopes from the northeast (uphill) to the southwest typically at a steady 0.5% gradient. When I was younger, I wondered why I was getting so tired riding north or east, but was so "strong" heading south or west, because in nearly all cases the gradient is effectively invisible. Once I had many riding miles on the odometer, I knew it wasn't me or the wind, but that the land that I knew was slightly off kilter. Felt it this morning on the fixie leading the group ride - "wheee" to the restaurant, a bit of grinding coming back.
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Old 02-25-24, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Once I did an AdventureCorps Century in Death Valley. The wind came up and I was in my smallest gear, chewing on my handlebars pedaling DOWNHILL (like 6% grade downhill.) It was so gnarly, I think only 5-7 guys out of several hundred finished. At one point I got blown off the road. It took me several tries to get back on my steel bike, because every time I lifted my leg, the wind would blow my bike sideways, even though I was holding it down by the handlebars. I was eventually able to get going again by pointing the bike into the wind (obtuse to the road).
You just described the 1982 Arizona Challenge 24-hour, 325-mile, 17,000+ ft ride. On a "typical" year, riders could sell out a little more pounding up the Mogollon Rim because they'd be able to coast and recover on the descent into the Verde Valley. In '82, though, there was a 20-30 mph west wind, and riders had to work on the descent just to stay up, and used up a lot of energy before even getting to the base of Mingus Mountain. That was no fun - 2 out of the 3 riders I was with packed it in before Cottonwood. Lon Haldeman is reported to have said at the time it was the hardest single-day ride he'd ever attempted to that point. But Tom Baker still came in first, albeit perhaps less-fast than other years.
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Old 02-25-24, 01:29 PM
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Gradient blindness???

The gradient is LYING!!

Why else would they call 'em FALSE flats?
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