Archive for January, 2013

BBL iBike data and videos

Fun day today at the BBL. I mainly wanted to put a post up with my iBike data for those of you curious about the iBike. I’ve highlighted the attack zone data below first – along with a video for the Sterrett attack zone and the Vandiver KOM. I forgot to turn the video back on for the Mimosa attack zone. The format for the post below goes like this: 1) data 2) graph 3) video. Then I’ve got the data and graph for the entire ride at the end.

Sterrett Attack Zone (1st place)
Dist:        2.64 mi (0:05:53)
Energy:     119.1 kJ
Cals Burn:  113.8 kcal
Climbing:     121 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  337.3   767  W
Aero        0  264.7   830  W
Rolling    33   51.5    70  W
Gravity  -632    9.7   481  W
Speed    17.2   27.0  36.5  mi/h
Wind      8.2   20.5  36.0  mi/h
Elev       77    126   182  ft
Slope    -6.0   0.11   7.9  %
Caden      47   86.8   107  rpm
HR        123  158.7   182  bpm
NP:366W IF:1.32 TSS:17 VI:1.08
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 2:52 AM
48 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Sterrett attack zone - I ended up winning this one after covering Mark's attack on the final hill and then taking off before the swarm led by Jeff Fuller, Jim Brock, and Darrell O'Quinn could catch back up to us. This one shows clearly when I was drafting and when I had my nose in the wind (not often)iBike graph for the Sterrett attack zone – I ended up winning this one after covering Mark’s attack on the final hill and then taking off before the swarm led by Jeff Fuller, Jim Brock, and Darrell O’Quinn could catch back up to us. This one shows clearly when I was drafting and when I had my nose in the wind (not often) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Vandiver KOM (2nd place)
Dist:        1.72 mi (0:06:31)
Energy:     134.6 kJ
Cals Burn:  128.7 kcal
Climbing:     458 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power     175  344.2   642  W
Aero        0   51.1   300  W
Rolling    23   30.2    39  W
Gravity    49  260.0   482  W
Speed    11.9   15.9  20.5  mi/h
Wind      3.0   12.2  27.6  mi/h
Elev      199    451   660  ft
Slope     0.8   4.92  10.9  %
Caden      54   83.5   113  rpm
HR        151  180.3   185  bpm
NP:358W IF:1.29 TSS:18 VI:1.04
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 3:16 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Vandiver KOM - you can see where the climb flattened out and I had trouble finding a gear that would hold that I could still keep up with Mark - couldn't do it and he rode away from me to take the KOMiBike graph for the Vandiver KOM – you can see where the climb flattened out and I had trouble finding a gear that would hold that I could still keep up with Mark – couldn't do it and he rode away from me to take the KOM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Mimosa Attack Zone (3rd place)
Dist:        2.56 mi (0:07:08)
Energy:     126.5 kJ
Cals Burn:  120.9 kcal
Climbing:     236 ft
Braking:     -0.0 kJ (-0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  295.5   793  W
Aero        0  189.1  1560  W
Rolling    16   41.2    79  W
Gravity -1889   27.9   571  W
Speed     8.5   21.6  41.6  mi/h
Wind      0.0   17.7  44.6  mi/h
Elev      221    302   375  ft
Slope   -14.2   0.39  12.0  %
Caden       8   84.4   123  rpm
HR        105  151.1   177  bpm
NP:338W IF:1.22 TSS:18 VI:1.15
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 5/3/2011 3:37 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

iBike graph for the Mimosa Attack Zone - I was having problems with a stiff link on my chain so I ended up setting a max cadence of 124 RPM when I finally found a gear that would stick ... still held on for 3rd in the sprintiBike graph for the Mimosa Attack Zone – I was having problems with a stiff link on my chain so I ended up setting a max cadence of 124 RPM when I finally found a gear that would stick … still held on for 3rd in the sprint – CLICK TO ENLARGE

iBike data for the ENTIRE RIDE
Dist:      103.94 mi (5:58:22)
Energy:    3781.5 kJ
Cals Burn: 3615.2 kcal
Braking:   -174.7 kJ (-4.6%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  175.9   793  W
Aero        0  117.9  2724  W
Rolling     0   33.2    95  W
Gravity -2123    1.6   603  W
Speed     0.0   17.4  50.1  mi/h
Wind      0.0   14.6  54.3  mi/h
Elev       77    347   823  ft
Slope   -16.5   0.03  19.1  %
Caden       0   81.3   134  rpm
HR         71  132.0   185  bpm
NP:231W IF:0.83 TSS:415 VI:1.32
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0057
168 lbs; 1/26/2013 8:35 AM
50 degF; 1013 mbar

BBL 2013-01-26 iBike graph for the entire ride - note the addition of the gear ratio graph -- pretty cool to show you when you switched gears.BBL 2013-01-26 iBike graph for the entire ride – note the addition of the gear ratio graph — pretty cool to show you when you switched gears. – CLICK TO ENLARGE

January 27, 2013 at 1:03 am 3 comments

Tornado anniversary and return of the iBike

A lot going on in the cockpit ... video camera, iBike, and Garmin.A lot going on in the cockpit … camera, iBike, and Garmin.

This is my last week off before the start of the spring semester at Samford, so I wanted to get in at least one more long ride. I’m riding my Scott Addict right now because the Trek is down for the count with a crack in the frame. Because I switched bikes to my Scott, I could re-mount the iBike again (the Bontrager stem on my Trek is far too thick for the iBike mount to fit). The only problem is that when I went to mount the iBike, I discovered I was missing a screw for the mounting bracket … a quick trip to the local hardware store with the iBike and a screwdriver in my back pocket and I was able to find the right screw.

In my opinion, the absolute best thing about the iBike is its ability to measure gradients quite accurately — much more so than the barometric pressure calculated gradient from the Garmin. The iBike has an internal gyrometer/accelerometer which can calculate gradient based on immediate changes in pitch, unlike the Garmin which requires motion and change in air pressure to calculate gradient based on the change of elevation over time. The ability of the iBike to measure power is a secondary benefit … and not too bad either compared to all the other power meters I’ve owned. You do have to get it calibrated correctly, but that is a one-time setup step which is supposedly eliminated on the new iBike Newton.

Excited about the iBike, I wanted to measure the gradients on the Emerald Lakes climbs which I discovered over Christmas and rode again a couple weeks ago on the way out to Skyball. I’ve posted videos below where I am calling out a small selection of the iBike gradient readings (it updates itself about every second, but I’m only calling out readings every few seconds). The front side climb Cat 4 climb (from the Lake) has the steepest pitch topping out at 30.4%, but the 20+% section is much shorter than the 20+% section on the backside Cat 3 climb. The descent back down the 30% section is dangerous. I was trying to be conservative and still hit 53mph (last video). I’m glad I was trying to be conservative because any faster, and I might very well have ended up IN Emerald Lake.

Red tailed hawk flying above its nest in tornado damaged neighborhood.Red tailed hawk flying above its nest in tornado damaged neighborhood.

When I was planning out the return route, I noticed that the climb up to the top of the Summit Pointe neighborhood off of Tyler Loop road would probably be an auto-detected Strava cat 4 climb. The picture of the hawk above is just below the summit of the climb. I was trying to maximize climbing on the ride so I created a route through that neighborhood up the climb not realizing that I would be doing the ride on the 1 year anniversary of the Chalkville EF-3 tornado (just under EF-4) which went through a corner of the neighborhood. I came to the realization that it was the 1 year anniversary late in the video below as I was narrating the damage still visible a year later. Click the “youtube” button to watch this on youtube, and you can jump to specific parts of the video using the video bookmarks in the description area below the video.

Finally, here is a photoshop – annotated view of the iBike data from the ride. I was concerned with the cold weather that the iBike battery might not make it the entire ride so I cut it off after the Vesclub climb and didn’t turn it back on again until I got up to Trussville.

ibike graph annotated for the emerald lakes rideibike graph annotated for the emerald lakes ride (click to enlarge and read the annotations)

iBike statistics - Emerald lakes ride (partial)
Dist:       77.57 mi (5:12:38)
Energy:    3691.5 kJ
Cals Burn: 3529.1 kcal
Climbing:    8806 ft
Braking:   -609.4 kJ (-16.5%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  196.8   692  W
Aero        0  120.6  2982  W
Rolling     0   19.2    68  W
Gravity -4009    4.0   548  W
Speed     0.0   14.9  53.1  mi/h
Wind      0.0   15.3  55.9  mi/h
Elev      -14    454   865  ft
Slope   -24.0   0.08  30.4  %
Caden       0   72.8   126  rpm
HR         79  131.3   165  bpm
NP:226W IF:0.81 TSS:345 VI:1.15
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
168 lbs; 8/14/2011 2:25 PM
52 degF; 1013 mbar

A few notes about the data … the climbing total is quite a bit lower because it’s missing 23 miles of the ride and the iBike is applying smoothing (either in the software or via how the barometric elevation sensor is recording) and doesn’t pick up all the rollers in its climbing total that the Garmin does. Also, the distance is short because I turned off the iBike to save battery after the Vesclub climb and didn’t turn it back on again until Trussville. Also, the “168 lbs” in the statistics at the bottom is my weight plus the weight of the bike plus weight of clothing, etc…

January 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm 2 comments

Wisconsin wrap-up

Long ice beard in Weyerhauser with Blue Hills I had just ridden through in the backgroundLong ice beard in Weyerhauser with Blue Hills I had just ridden through in the background. The beard is frozen breath, whereas the mustache is frozen snot (I had nasal congestion issues all week).
Kristine caught up to me near the very end of the ride and got this pic as we were pulling into Weyerhauser.Kristine caught up to me near the very end of the ride and got this pic as we were pulling into Weyerhauser.

We’ve been back in Alabama for a couple weeks now, but I still have photos and videos from one last ride in Wisconsin. Perfect timing for me to finish up this post as we are under a winter storm warning today for a couple inches of snow and ice here in Birmingham. Back up in Wisconsin on January 2nd, my first ride of 2013, I left Kristine’s parents’ house in Shell Lake and rode about 65 mile southeast down to Weyerhauser, Wisconsin through the Blue Hills outside of Rice Lake. This was the coldest ride of the trip with an average temperature of 10 degF. I started pretty early in the day, and it snowed the whole time with most of the ride into a stiff headwind. The snow was just beautiful as it was falling, and especially up on top of Meteor Hill – the high point in the Blue Hills. See this video I took of the snow shortly before descending off of Meteor Hill.

Even though the temp had warmed up a bit by the top of Meteor Hill — maybe 12 degrees or so – this was still the coldest part of the trip because I stopped for a while at the top and took too long of a video (the one above) with my gloves off. Then once I started again, I was on really deep, rutted snow on a long gradual downhill. This meant that I spent a lot of time braking instead of pedaling and generating body heat. Plus, the area was really rural so it would not have been good to have any kind of accident so I was especially slow and careful, which meant my heartrate stayed around 100bpm for 9 miles on the long gradual descent. This meant I was VERY, VERY cold by the bottom. Fortunately, this dumped me out onto a good hilly Co Rd F right through the heart of the Blue Hills where I could warm back up again by going hard. All-in-all I think this was the best ride of the trip.

Here are some of the bikecam videos I got — ordered with my favorite ones first.

January 17, 2013 at 9:19 am Leave a comment

Skyball out and back epic

This adventure started out on Christmas day when we began our annual trek north to Wisconsin to visit Kristine’s family and enjoy the winter wonderland of the northwoods of Wisconsin. For the past two years, I have left our house in the morning and biked north towards Wisconsin. About six hours later, Kristine has picked me up somewhere north of Cullman, and then we have finished the rest of the 18 hour drive overnight to arrive in Shell Lake by the next morning.

This year, there was a major storm system moving in from the Gulf of Mexico promising lots of rain for Alabama and a huge blizzard for Indiana. We were racing this storm. Everything looked perfect for us to stick to our plan since the system wasn’t supposed to be arriving until later in the evening — at which point we would have already made it to Chicago. My ride started out great with over 3 hours of overcast skies and upper 30s lower 40s temp. Then shortly after discovering the Emerald Lakes climbs and making it to the bottom of Skyball Mountain, it started to pour down rain and thunderstorm. My Garmin cut off unexpectedly as my power meter died and the Garmin struggled to find a signal. I lost all of the data except for the first 15 miles of the ride. Sounds crazy, but I’m pretty sure that the source of the problem is when the power meter starts to give off goofy power meter readings, which confuses the Garmin and then causes it to crash. This has happened several times — all related to goofy (or missing) power meter readings. I’m pretty sure about that since I rode a long time in the rain yesterday but turned off the power meter on the Garmin, and the Garmin had no problems recording the entire 8 hour ride – so it’s not a problem with the Garmin and the rain. It’s a problem with bogus (or missing) power meter signal while the Garmin still is looking for a power meter.

Anyway, back to the ride at Christmas, I ended up riding the rest of the way to Cullman (about 2 hours) including the climb up Skyball Mountain in the pouring down rain and temp in the upper 30s. I was freezing, but I rode really, really hard to stay warm. Then in the process of coordinating the pick-up with Kristine at First Baptist Church Cullman (heavily damaged by April 27th tornado) well short (30 miles) of our original pick-up spot, I stopped and waited for Kristine. It only took her a few minutes because she had earlier started to back track on the route. Those few minutes were enough to make me so cold that I couldn’t stop shivering until I had dried off, changed clothes, heater blasting in the car, and driving up to the original gas station in Falkville where we were supposed to meet.

During this amazing awesome time of warming up, I tethered Kristine’s laptop to her phone and uploaded the ride to Strava discovering that all but the first 15 miles were lost. Initially, I was pretty upset — but then a few minutes later I resolved to do the ride again as an out/back ride from my house. The thought of that adventure was exciting enough to quash the sick feeling in my stomach of losing about 60 miles of data from an epic ride with new climbs and probably a few KOMs.

Yesterday was the culmination, two and a half weeks after the original ride, of that excitement/anticipation. The weather forecast called for fog in the morning and slight chance of rain in the afternoon. Instead, it stayed heavy wet fog all day (misty light rain) and then rained hard by the end of the ride after sunset. Fortunately, I turned off my power meter on my Garmin so that the same problem wouldn’t happen again with the Garmin unexpectedly powering off and losing ride data. But that means I only have power meter data for the first hour or so of the ride, and the latter part of that data is bogus as the power meter starting giving off much too high power readings for the effort I was putting out. That is when I decided to turn the power meter off. Unfortunately, I had to keep a ziplock bag over the Garmin for most of the ride, which kills the total elevation gain as the Garmin is slower in responding to elevation change — which doesn’t make too much of a difference when you are crawling up a climb, but it does affect how it reads the descents … meaning that smaller hills get flattened because the Garmin never records the negative change before you’ve already started up (or completely finished) the next hill.

There were two key things that I was anticipating on this ride: 1) the adventure of an out/back ride from Birmingham up and over Skyball 2) The emerald lakes climbs which I feel could be the steepest paved climbs in Alabama. The top video on this post is from that “steepest climb” on the return portion of the trip after climbing Skyball, changing a flat tire, and lots of other adventures about 95 miles into my ride. The next video below is the climb up the same ridge line near Emerald Lakes, but from the opposite side on the way out to Skyball. It also has some extended 20-25+% sections, but is more of a stair-stepper than the backside climb. Both videos are long, but if you click the “watch on youtube” button then you can click on the video bookmarks in the description to jump directly to interesting spots.

The driest part of the ride was climbing up Skyball on the way out as the clouds had lifted a bit, but by the time I had turned around in the valley on the other side to climb back up, it had started to rain again. Here’s a short video heading down towards the Warrior river with a view of the skyball ridgeline.

After climbing Skyball, I passed a hunter hunting from the roadside (I don’t think you’re supposed to do that). I also got a flat tire climbing back up Skyball Mountain, so I changed it at the top right next to the Tour de Cullman Skyball KOM finish line. The video below is me narrating the last part of the climb back up Skyball telling about my favorite Tour de Cullman finish (2011) and also discovering that I had a flat tire. Also, the two pictures are from the flat tire change.

A lot of water (and greasy mud) had accumulated on the wheelA lot of water (and greasy mud) had accumulated on the wheel
The tour de cullman Skyball KOM finish lineThe tour de cullman Skyball KOM finish line

I spent a lot of time on changing the flat tire making sure I cleaned out all the debris that accumulated in the tire because I still had almost 70 miles left to get home. Fortunately, the single tire change held all the way home (although it had developed another slow leak so I had to change it again last night after I got home). I stopped at Locust Fork to refuel, and got two 20 oz Pepsi’s and one 32 oz gatorade for a total of $3.50. That was a LOT of liquid sugar for not too much money! I ended up with the nutritional equivalent of a perfect tweet – consuming that plus 7 powergels plus 3 cliff bars for a total of about 2300 calories during the ride arriving home without bonking and having eaten everything I had taken with me.

Alabama won the football national championship on Monday. Here's the headline on Wednesday at the gas station in Locust Fork where I stopped to refuel.Alabama won the football national championship on Monday. Here’s the headline on Wednesday at the gas station in Locust Fork where I stopped to refuel.

Shortly after the Locust Fork stop, I turned around on AL-79 to head down to the Warrior River bridge to see if the climb from there to the top of Tucker Mountain would cross the Cat 3 threshold (it did). I also went hard to try to get the Tucker Mountain KOM (I did – but just barely – taking it from somebody named “No One” who had ridden from Huntsville to Birmingham … that ride was only 111 miles compared to my 135 mile out/back ride).

By the time I made it back down into more familiar territory, it was past sunset and pretty dark given the rain. I did get a couple more videos below that are somewhat interesting (tornado damage from a tornado on January 23rd, 2012. And also a video starting the climb back up red mountain (including near miss with car towards the beginning). The audio is really muddled on these because I think water got in the microphone port. After climbing Red Mountain, I put my blinky lights on and rode the rest of the way home in the dark, climbing up to the top of Vestavia Dr just as started to rain pretty hard. The last 6 miles or so were in pretty heavy rain as documented by the last video (iphone)

January 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm 1 comment

Rocky Ridge – Vestavia Dr KOM analysis

Today was quite the adventure – two flats and a KOM! The last week of the Strava Shoot-out competition was the Rocky Ridge – Vestavia Dr climb. With over 700 vertical feet of elevation difference and nearly 800 feet total gain (three small downhills), this is one of the biggest climbs you can do in the immediate Birmingham area (Double Oak and Pine Mountain both have more elevation gain, but they are both quite a ways out of town). This climb is really close to me, starting less than two miles from my front door!

So when Mark Fisher put in a spectacular effort to take the KOM from me for the last week of the Fall strava shoot-out competition, I knew immediately that I was going to take it back at some point. I expected that I would have to try several times, but I ended up getting it back on my first try today. The video below is a bikecam video of the entire KOM effort, including the Dashware overlay of power, heartrate, speed, and cadence (the colored bar that circles the power readings).

Shortly after the KOM effort ended, I tried to avoid a garbage truck by riding through some grass onto a sidewalk. The grass was deeper than it looked hiding quite a concrete lip on the edge of the sidewalk. So when I rode onto the sidewalk, I didn’t try to bunny hop onto it and I ended up pinch flatting my front wheel on the lip. I had left my phone, tools, tubes, and pump back at the house to save weight for the KOM effort. My only hope was to hitch a ride with somebody back down the mountain. Fortunately, Mike Davies from Richter Landscape Company happened to be driving by in his work truck, and he gave me a ride all the way back down to my house. Huge shout-out and thanks to him … if you live in Hoover, Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Homewood, or Birmingham give them a call at 205-942-1555 to come landscape your yard!!!

The KOM started out well with a bit of a light tailwind. My legs were burning fairly early in the ride as this was the first hard effort of the day, and it was still fairly early in the ride. But eventually I settled into what I thought was a good hard rhythm. Cresting the Veslub Lower part of the climb, I was pretty spent though and started to have lots of negative thoughts about how slow it felt like I was going. But then after I made up the steep part of Vesclub Upper, I saw that my time was just over 9 minutes. In my head at that point I was thinking that all I needed to do was finish the last part in less than 4 minutes and I would beat my old time of 13 minutes. This gave me a lot of motivation because I knew that would be easy. But then a few seconds later I realized that my old time was 11 minutes 13 seconds … not 13 minutes! So I only had a couple minutes left. But by this point I had already made it over to Vestavia Dr and had over a minute left to Mark’s KOM time. I knew I could fly up the last section in about a minute, so I was again motivated that I had a realistic chance to beat Mark’s time. Coming across the top, I hit the lap button showing a time of 11’03″, but Strava matched it up at 10’49″ because I must have hit the lap button way to early to start the climb. Also, I made this video analyzing my KOM effort in a bit more detail:

After changing out my front wheel and uploading my ride to strava to see if I had gotten the KOM, I headed back out still planning to do another 90 miles or so out to Emerald Lakes to explore the climbs that I had discovered on my way out to Cullman on Christmas. About 10 miles into that ride, I had another flat. This one was from a pretty worn spot on the rear tire – so I put in a $5 bill to boot the tire and limped home after changing the tube. By this point in the day, it was too late to try again to make it out to Emerald Lakes — so I decided to do some climbing in Mountain Brook. Along the way, I made this video of the European bypass road (Old Brook Trail) reflecting on April 27th when the tornadoes came through the area.

Vestavia Dr power mapVestavia Dr power map

After climbing over in Mountain Brook, I headed home just in time to meet Kristine and the kids coming out of the woods on their walk home from school. Later in the day, Josiah and I had a boys’ night out at the Lego store monthly free lego night while Kristine took Analise to gymnastics. All around, it was a great day!

Riding the free roller coaster at the mall (up to the 17th floor a couple times in glass elevator)Riding the free roller coaster at the mall (up to the 17th floor a couple times in glass elevator)

January 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm 4 comments

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Kids running behind me trying to catch up. Beautiful green spring day from tip top bluff park looking down into oxmoor valley. Plus this corner always makes me smile! My mtb waiting to be pushed to brick alley, plus future cross bike???

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Quick reference stats

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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