Archive for January, 2011

400 mile week, Strava online competition, a fun look back at old milestones


401 miles this week with 37,373 feet of climbing!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to ride today with the winter storm warning, but the system wasn’t moving in until later in the day. So I rode 45 miles on the way to church with almost 6,000 feet of climbing. Then after church I did a shorter 30 mile ride to take me over the 400 mile mark for the week (measured from Monday to Sunday). Check out the rides below (and temps – almost felt like Wisconsin!)

Commute from home to Clearwater via Vestavia Dr, Hugh Daniel, Double Oak Way (Or download the huge version

Temperature graph for commute from home to Clearwater

Commute from Clearwater Community Church to home (Or download the huge version

Temperature graph for commute from church to home

401 miles is the most I have ridden in one week since my college days in the 90′s… back then, though, I did 400+ mile weeks once or twice a year and even hit 500 miles one week. I usually was way overtrained, though, and had pretty miserable racing results. To avoid that happening again, I’m following up this nice long week of riding with Monday and Tuesday completely off the bike (especially since we are under a winter storm and ice storm warning until Monday night).

I also entered a free online KOM competition for 2011 from Strava. Currently, I’m in second place!

2011 KOM Challenge on Strava. Barring injury, I’m hoping to win this.

And lastly, since 401 miles in one week is a new milestone (post-college), I found a few pictures I had taken of previous milestones in the past few years. 10,000 miles in one year for 2006 after training for and competing in Ironman Florida in November. 300 miles in one week in the middle of June of that year. The other stats for that week are also included. It was much easier back then – I had a bike computer that tracked time, speed, distance, and temperature. I would reset it once a week on Monday morning and accumulate a week’s worth of stats over the course of a week. Now it’s GPS systems and detailed individual ride analysis including power, heartrate, cadence, etc…

10,000 miles in one year – December 31, 2006


300 miles in one week – June 2006


300 miles in one week – total training time – June 2006


300 miles in one week – June 2006 – average speed for the week


300 miles in one week – June 2006 – maximum speed 53.1mph

January 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

How hilly is your ride?

We just got back to Alabama after traveling up to Wisconsin for Christmas and New Year’s. On the way back home, we stopped to visit Kristine’s grandmother in northern Indiana. During the trip, I got to ride in Wisconsin and Indiana. Then yesterday I did a 54 mile ride with over 6000 feet of climbing and today a 47 mile ride with over 5200 feet of climbing. So today I was inspired to share how I keep track of the “hilliness” of a ride. During a ride or ride segment, I keep track of the ratio of distance traveled in miles to total ascent (climbing) in feet divided by 100. If the ratio works out to be 1 to 1, then it is a really hilly ride. 2 to 1 is not very hilly, and 3 to 1 and above is really flat. For Garmin users out there, this is really easy to keep track of during the ride. Simply select distance and total ascent to be displayed on the same screen, ignore the last two digits of the total ascent, and divide! See the chart below for a comparison of the hilliness of rides in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Alabama along with a ride earlier in November in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

State Name Distance Climbing Ratio Assessment
WI Hayward to Shell Lake 60.6 mi 2500 ft 2.42 Gradual hills
IN Indiana Hills to Hwy 30 59.4 mi 2409 ft 2.47 Sorta hilly (<2) then flat
AL Hoover Hills 54.3 mi 6068 ft 0.89 Very hilly
AL Red Mountain Cahaba 46.9 mi 5269 ft 0.89 Very hilly again
TN Clingman’s Dome 57.9 mi 9074 ft 0.64 Big climbs

Here is the chart again with a small thumbnail showing the route and its topography (courtesy of Strava). Click on the thumbnail for larger image.

Thumbnail State Distance Climbing Ratio
Wisconsin 60.6 mi 2500 ft 2.42
Indiana 59.4 mi 2409 ft 2.47
Alabama 54.3 mi 6068 ft 0.89
Alabama 46.9 mi 5269 ft 0.89
Tennessee 57.9 mi 9074 ft 0.64

And one more time with the elevation profiles …

Thumbnail State Distance Climbing Ratio
Wisconsin 60.6 mi 2500 ft 2.42
Indiana 59.4 mi 2409 ft 2.47
Alabama 54.3 mi 6068 ft 0.89
Alabama 46.9 mi 5269 ft 0.89
Tennessee 57.9 mi 9074 ft 0.64

With all the climbing this week, I’m currently in the lead in the Strava weekly climbing competition. Check it out!

Strava Leaderboard – Monday Jan 3 – Sunday Jan 9, 2011

So how do you measure how hilly your ride is? Does anybody else have a different formula or approach?

January 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

Dick’s to the Rescue

The weather forecast called for a cold rain pretty much all day today back here in Birmingham. But as I was working from home, I noticed a huge gap in the rain clouds on the radar. So I decided to go for the 60 mile climbing ride that I’ve been wanting to do after the flatlands and small rolling hills of the midwest. My legs felt a bit tired, but otherwise the ride was going great with no rain and relatively warm temps. The second time up Double Oak Way was too much for my aging rear tire, though, and I felt the squishy feeling of a tire going flat. Sure enough, the tire had maybe 20 pounds of pressure left in it. I stopped and proceeded to change the tire, patch up the small holes I found, and got ready to pump up the tire. Well, my CO2 cartridge didn’t go onto the valve correctly and the air leaked out of the cartridge almost immediately. I was only able to get maybe 10 pounds of pressure back into the tire. I decided to see if I could ride back to the Bike Link store near Meadowbrook about 10 miles away. I went slowly with as much weight as possible on my front tire. Eventually, though, the little pressure I had left in the rear tire was all gone, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to ride. I pressed on and made it to the Bike Link shopping center on 280 only to find that the Bike Link store was gone. I knew that Dick’s Sporting Goods (in the same shopping center) sold bikes, so I went in there instead hoping that they would have a bike pump. Not only did the very helpful employees lead me to the back of the store where they sold bikes so I could use one of their bike pumps, they also gave me a slime tube (self-sealing in case of a flat) and two CO2 cartridges for free because I didn’t have my wallet with me!!! Wow, thank you Dick’s!

After many thank yous, I took off because I only had 20 minutes to get from Dick’s on 280 to Rocky Ridge Elementary school off of Acton Rd to pick up Analise from school. Kristine told me that she was running errands and might not be back in time to pick up Analise. Since I was supposed to be home by around 2:00 with school getting out at 2:45, I was supposed to be home in case she didn’t make it back in time. Well, riding 10 miles with a flat tire greatly slowed my average speed and it was 2:25 when I left Dick’s. I drilled it as hard as I could covering the 8.5 hilly miles through Meadowbrook, Caldwell Mill, and Acton Rd in 20 minutes (25.5mph). By miracle, I made every light on the way home including the 280 light, the Valleydale light from the back entrance of Meadowbrook and the Acton Rd lights! When I got there, the buses were just leaving, and the carpool line was starting to move so I rode right through the carpool line and up to a teacher I recognized to ask if Kristine had made it over to walk Analise home. She came back and told me yes. So relieved I rode around the back of the school and caught up with Kristine, Analise, and Josiah walking through the woods. Whew, what a fun ending to a miserable ride – the awesome folks at Dick’s Sporting Goods really came through, and Analise wasn’t left at school wondering where we were!

Double Oak Way ride data with annotations

January 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

Last ride of 2010

The weather forecast for today included a winter weather advisory with really cold temps. We went to visit some friends about 30 miles away near Hayward, WI. I took my bike along to try to ride back to Shell Lake if the roads were clear enough. I mapped out a route that took me near the highest point in the area – Meteor Hill. Even though I was on my mountain bike, I was flying home with a stiff wind coming from the northeast, mostly a tailwind. Wonderful ride, and I’ll let the video and pictures below tell the story.


Heading out from near Hayward, WI


Beaver lodge a few miles into the ride. I saw several more of them throughout the ride.


Interesting historical marker in the middle of the Indian Reservation that I rode through.


My Garmin tried to take me down this road. I don’t think so.


Frozen river.


Icy road near Meteor Hill


Beautiful winter scene looking from near the top of Meteor Hill back down into a valley to the east.


Another beaver lodge – this one had lots of beaver tracks in the snow.


A very frozen Shell Lake – with a pickup truck driving out to the ice fishing huts.


Near the very end of my ride, at the Shell Lake boat landing, frozen beard icicles, 18degrees F


Garmin Connect ride data – annotated

TopoCreator map and elevation profile for the ride
(Or download the huge version)

January 1, 2011 at 2:28 am Leave a comment

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Abandoned bridge posts over western end of Eastern Lake. Plus, a well camouflaged frog Josiah spotted. Bridge out - we crossed it with our bikes after checking for alligators first. Swamp singletrack.

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Brian Toone

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Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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