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# Climbing calcs - do you measure only from start to finish or each climb?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

# Climbing calcs - do you measure only from start to finish or each climb?

09-08-04, 06:52 PM
#1
robgreen
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Climbing calcs - do you measure only from start to finish or each climb?

So I am just starting to ride again, and I have been trying to keep track of my rides on bikejournal.com. It has all sorts of blanks to fill in for data, including one for "Elevation Gain". So here's my question:

I live in a moderately hilly neighborhood, and I can easily do several hundred feet in climbs over the course of just a few miles. Does the climbing elevation calculation mean only the net change, or is it culmulative? If I start and finish at my house, the net change is 0 feet, but I may have done 400-500 feet of climbing during the course of that. Is that considered to be nullified by the correesponding descents, or should each climb be added to get the total?

Thanks!

Rob
09-08-04, 07:07 PM
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Xtrmyorick
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It's total feet climbed, not net altitude gain/loss.

Try telling guys in the Tour that they technically didn't climb the Tourmalet since they rode back down the backside and you'll be in a world of hurt
09-08-04, 07:08 PM
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rogue9607
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I'm not sure of the "real" answer, but when I put the GPS data for a ride into my computer, the software i use calculates "elevation gain", "climb elevation", and "descent elevation". "Elevation gain" is the difference between starting and ending elevations (usually 0 for me), "climb elevation" and "descent elevation" are the totals of every climb and descent over the ride (usually are the same number).

Assuming this is just for your tracking purposes, i'd do whatever makes sense for you. If all your rides start and end in the same place, using the difference between the two wouldn't be very useful. Keeping a total of every foot climbed would give you a better description of your ride.
09-08-04, 07:12 PM
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-CM-
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In cycling, it's the amount of climbing that counts, so you want to add up all the climbs, unlike skiing, where you add the descents. Of course, on a ride that starts & ends at the same place, the amount of descending will match the amount of climbing.

Getting accurate information is a challenge, though, as most cycling altimeters vary in what they measure. I've found that my Ciclosport HAC4 and my Avocet Veretec II match each other pretty well.

If you're really interested in accumulating specs about your rides, I highly recommend the HAC4. Here's an example of the type of information you can get with it:

09-08-04, 07:17 PM
#5
Xtrmyorick
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Originally Posted by -CM-
If you're really interested in accumulating specs about your rides, I highly recommend the HAC4. Here's an example of the type of information you can get with it:
THe Polar S720i and S725 both do the same. All 3 cost a lot, though: \$250-300. The HAC4's computer interface is super-spendy, though, from what I've seen (\$100+) as compared to Polar's (\$40ish)
09-08-04, 07:25 PM
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robgreen
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Originally Posted by Xtrmyorick
It's total feet climbed, not net altitude gain/loss.

Try telling guys in the Tour that they technically didn't climb the Tourmalet since they rode back down the backside and you'll be in a world of hurt
Yeah, that was what I was thinking -- the ride I have been doing the last few outings is about 4 to 5 miles in one direction with 450-500 feet of climb, and it sure don't feel like zero to me. Of course its like 45 minutes out and 10 minutes back to the house, too.
09-08-04, 07:28 PM
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zensuit
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Originally Posted by robgreen
Yeah, that was what I was thinking -- the ride I have been doing the last few outings is about 4 to 5 miles in one direction with 450-500 feet of climb, and it sure don't feel like zero to me. Of course its like 45 minutes out and 10 minutes back to the house, too.
My two rides do something similar...climb, climb some more...climb a little more...then rip down to the house...gives me wacky average speeds...12-13 out...20-21 back for about 16-17...can't figure out how fast I really ride!
09-08-04, 07:31 PM
#8
robgreen
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Originally Posted by -CM-
In cycling, it's the amount of climbing that counts, so you want to add up all the climbs, unlike skiing, where you add the descents. Of course, on a ride that starts & ends at the same place, the amount of descending will match the amount of climbing.

Getting accurate information is a challenge, though, as most cycling altimeters vary in what they measure. I've found that my Ciclosport HAC4 and my Avocet Veretec II match each other pretty well.

If you're really interested in accumulating specs about your rides, I highly recommend the HAC4. Here's an example of the type of information you can get with it:
I've just been using a topographical map of my route to determine the altitude changes since I don't have any of the real fancy tech gear yet. I am lucky enough to have a simple cycle computer and a basic HR monitor, but nothing as nice as what you've got there. I'm just getting into cycling again, and I don't think I am going to be able to sweet talk SWMBO into a \$500 bike copmuter/HR combo yet. Maybe next season <grin>
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