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Newby needs Help again.(30 posts)

Newby needs Help again.Dpari
Oct 22, 2001 2:17 PM
I know most of y'all ride 20 miles a day. I don't have time. Get home with 30 minutes of daylight and I can ride only ride about 4 miles before it gets scary dark. Half is climbs--1 mile @ 25% grade is only one---I good descent twisting down to a single lane bridge at a 30% grade. I ride full race pace. Can I train enough on this type of ride or do I need to make some more time? What do ya'll ride every day?
Help? I'll saymr_spin
Oct 22, 2001 2:33 PM
First, let's work on your estimation skills. There is no way you are riding up a 25% grade for a mile. And there is no way you are descending a 30% grade. And there is no way you are doing this at race pace. If these numbers are true, you don't need any help from us. You are Superman.

Next, what are you training for?

If you do 30-minutes at high intensity, it could be a very valuable training ride. But you can't do that every day. Go home early once or twice a week and get at least an hour in of low to medium intensity riding as balance.
Aside from climbing up walls on your bikeRich Clark
Oct 22, 2001 2:46 PM
...and then falling off cliffs, a couple of things:

1) Ride in the morning. Get some lights and ride at night. Ride on the weekends. See earlier thread about lunchtime rides. Commute to work on your bike, all or part of the way. Find ways to make one or more of these things work, instead of excuses to keep you from doing them.

2) Personally, I find commuting to be the answer, and I get in almost two hours a day that way. But then, I'm not training for anything except a long and healthy life.

DUDES! I Live inDpari
Oct 22, 2001 2:56 PM
I live in the mountains in NC. I either ride at these grades or don't ride at all. I live in area where the nearest flat piece of road is 30+ minutes away by car. It is up and down constantly for me--put the trees are beautiful! On the downhills i am getting up to 50mph and on the uphills I am gasping like a caught fish! I get extremes and nothing else. Half sucks really bad, other half rocks!
Bye the way I ride a triple. If you don't you walk!
Perhaps mistake...jtolleson
Oct 22, 2001 3:59 PM
don't confuse this for a flame, but I think that many riders overestimate the grade of the roads they ride, and I'm skeptical about the grades you mention. Most transportation authorities don't pave a road steeper than about 12% if they can help it, even though most roads that steep will have "burst" in the vicinity of 15%-18% around switchbacks.

You can check by getting a topo map and checking the elevation change. I think that's the skepticism you're hearing here.

In any event, ride on and rock on. Sounds like you are getting a great workout whatever the numbers are.
If in mountains near Asheville, it might be 12% +! -NMTig
Oct 22, 2001 4:24 PM
Funny...I had a nearly similar conversation this weekend.Kristin
Oct 23, 2001 1:00 PM
I don't understand how to calculate grade. So, based on conversations I'd heard, I tried to peice together a guestimate of a road in upstate NY. I told the guy I thought it was 30%. I was informed that grades don't get steeper than 10% typically. Weird to see this post two days later.

P.S. I'm guessing (now) that the road (my father lives on) is 9-11% grade for about 1/8th of a mile.
Easy, it's rise over run......Len J
Oct 24, 2001 3:33 AM
if you gain 1000 ft of rise in 3 miles of run the grade is as follows:

1000 ft rise divided by (5280 ft/mile times 3 miles) or
1000 divided by 15,840ft or

I shortcut it sometimes by just using 5000ft/mile if I'm doing it in my head (knowing I am overstating the grade somewhat, but it gives me a general idea)

Hope this helps.

You mean it requires math?Kristin
Oct 24, 2001 6:05 AM
Well forget it then! They don't let me work with numbers. Last month I took a class which included one full day of IP conversions. It nearly killed me.

I prefer the right brained method of determining grade:
slight incline
shallow decline
pretty big/long hill
steep hill
heinously steep
and... *@#!%^
LOL, Of course the same hill can meove up or down.....Len J
Oct 24, 2001 6:11 AM
your scale depending on how you're feeling.

30% my @$$!!Rusty McNasty
Oct 22, 2001 4:25 PM
Asphalt will slide downhill at anything over 20%. I've been to NC, and the WORST I ever saw was maybe 15%!
You are full of $h!t.
BTW, I can do 20 miles in an hour. I get 10 in by commuting. What's your excuse? Don't expect pity from us.
Oct 24, 2001 9:53 AM
Maybe you should visit Cali and checkout some of our paved roads. Pacific Grade 26% - Sonara Pass 26%, plus many others - all paved and all steep enough to make you puke.

NC does have some seriously steep grades in the mountains.
Once again!!!!!!!!!Dpari
Oct 22, 2001 4:29 PM
You neglect the fact that I am riding a crossbike on dirt/gravel roads/trails that run up and down the mountain side. Stop being asses maybe I'm a little off but you have never been in the area I live or train in. These are mountain people roads not damn Highways!
Oct 22, 2001 6:22 PM
Whoa, cowboy. I certainly didn't use that tone with you and Rusty McNasty's impolitic approach aside, bust a chill.

First, this is the first time you've mentioned that you were riding cyclocross, and the possibility that you've misjudged the grade remains (even for dirt roads... actually especially for dirt roads because of erosion, the grade you've projected really doesn't make sense).

You're getting a great workout, distance aside. Keep plugging along and don't get sucked into flaming on the board, okay?

Doesn't matter.look271
Oct 22, 2001 6:53 PM
They're not 25-30%. Accept it. Don't believe us? Get a topo map (like was suggested) and get the grade. Guaranteed they're not more than probably 15%. Now go ride.
Oct 23, 2001 10:53 AM
The steepest mountain road in Boulder County, CO is Magnolia road, which peaks out (in dirt) at 22%. Mt. Washington, NH is among the steepest roads in the country, with a maximum grade of 25%. A one mile long, 30% grade, would rise 1/3 of a mile, or 1760 feet, in one mile. Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi, is 6,684 feet, and the shortest (hiking) route to its summit is 6 miles for an average grade of 21%- assuming the trailhead is at sea level, which I'm quite sure it is not.
Magnolia Road????jtolleson
Oct 23, 2001 1:42 PM
Never heard of it. And neither has Mapquest. Do you mean Mapleton (which heads up Sunshine Canyon?) That's one of the steepest paved (then becomes dirt at about mile 6) roads I know of in the Boulder area, but the book "Bicycling Boulder" still says that it tops out at 18%.
Magnolia Road????Erik W
Oct 23, 2001 3:28 PM
Any info on what the grade is of Lee Hill coming from north Boulder and heading towards Left Hand Canyon?
Yikes!Price shop
Oct 24, 2001 8:23 AM
That's Old Stage Road from the "hard" side. I've got a book that lists it (same book as lists Sunshine Canyon) but I left it at home. I'd guess it ranges 12-14; the problem is that it is so sustained at that grade (1-2 miles I'd say!).

If I remember to look it up, I'll post.
Oct 24, 2001 6:47 AM
Hmmmm, I think I'll go after Mt. Washington next year.
I'll run the grades for youDog
Oct 23, 2001 11:31 AM
I have a topo computer program; just tell me exactly what roads you are talking about, and I'll run a nice profile and give you the numbers. It even has many gravel roads and trails, too.

With the right gearing, your body doesn't know the difference between a 20% grade and riding hard on flat ground. All it really knows is pedal pressure and rpms.

30 minutes of exercise even 3-4 times per week will get you in great shape if you get the heart rate up.

Get a trainer or rollers. Then darkness won't matter.

Where'd you get that program? (nm)look271
Oct 23, 2001 6:50 PM
Oct 23, 2001 6:54 PM
Oct 24, 2001 11:45 AM
re: Newby needs Help again.slomo
Oct 22, 2001 5:49 PM
30% grade is the pitch of an intermediate ski slope. I live in B.C. and the asphalt is limited to 10% or less. Even the logging roads dont get above 20%. Be careful! go slow.
Goin' slow.jtolleson
Oct 22, 2001 6:24 PM
Looking back at your original post, I see that you claim 50 mph descents; would that be on your cyclocross bike on gravel pray tell?

You can see why folks got confused AND skeptical.
Training time.Ahimsa
Oct 22, 2001 6:41 PM
The estimations of the topography of your area seem off generally speaking, but it is not of that much importantance toward answering your question, so I'll give it a shot. (:

I would say that a four mile ride in very steep terrain will probably improve your climbing a bit based on your posts. And rapid descents on twisting gravel roads certainly provide a unique lesson in bike handling. That answer sounds simplistic, I know, but you have given us limited info as to what exactly you are training for.

If you are planning to race on flat land, then obviously this short burst training session will really only build legs and skills for hilly routes. If you are going to race on routes similar to what you describe, then I suggest you find more time to train longer. Most races will have you on the bike MUCH longer than four miles, regardless of terrain.

Racing recquires a dedication of time that you must make available in order to truly compete. If you cannot make such a commitment, then you might consider just riding for sport/fun/transportation only. There is no law that recquires you to be a racing cyclist.

Bear in mind as I said, training depends largely on what your goals are. Four miles in that terrain will never compete with anyone who rides 20 miles in it.

Hope this helps.

Oh, you asked what we all ride. I ride about 14 to 20 miles a day commuting, and then more for transportation, errands, fun, etc. Plus long rides on weekends because I enjoy them. I do not really train to race, unless you count outrunning city buses, or drafting taxis (heh heh!).

Oct 23, 2001 5:54 AM
I won't get into the % grade debate, but here are some suggestions:

1. Try to ride for an hour during your lunchbreak.
2. Try commuting to work or school, if that's possible.
3. Get a lighting system for your bike.
4. Look for some spin cycle classes in your area. Great work, similar to biking, and you can do it in any weather conditions. Plus, it's fun.
re: Newby needs Help
Oct 23, 2001 10:59 AM
buy a light
re: Newby needs Help again.mackgoo
Oct 24, 2001 6:51 AM
Man if you guy's did more riding I think all this nit picking on who is more correct on gradient "estimate" would be alot less tiring.