Monthly climbing challenge (not again!)

Discussion in 'CycleChat Monthly Challenges' started by Aravis, 30 Dec 2017.

  1. Aravis

    Aravis White-Haired Trundler

    Location:
    Gloucester
    I know things like this have been tried before, a fairly recent example being this thread:

    https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/5000-ft-1524m-monthly-challenge.202188/

    Although nothing's ever taken off, so to speak, I've always felt that the enthusiasm is there. I'll be optimistic and assume the right formula has yet to be found.

    A little while ago @Dogtrousers mentioned trying to maintain a ratio of at least 1000 metres of climbing in every 100 km ridden. That equates to a mile's climbing in every 100 miles, which is quite neat. Calling it “climbing at 1%” or similar doesn't sound so impressive, but is accurate.

    Around September this year I had a look through my 2017 rides and found, unsurprisingly, that many fell well short of this 1% standard. However, if I took just the hilliest ride from each month, the accumulated total wasn't too far away.

    That illustrates the basis of the monthly climbing challenge I'm proposing. Raising my score to 1 in what was left of the year certainly wasn't easy, but with a bit of effort and determination I got there. This is what the monthly challenges are supposed to be about, surely?

    My hardware is a Garmin Edge 520, and I normally take climbing stats from my uploads to RwGPS. This does give quite flattering results. If I were to take my stats from Strava, which takes the barometric altimeter data from the Garmin unaltered, the numbers are about 6% lower, and using that basis I didn't hit the target.

    I've also mirrored each ride using RwGPS's route planner. This takes about 10 minutes per ride, including checking. Hardly an onerous task, and available to all free of charge. This method produces climbing data which is lower by a further 6% or so, although the actual differences vary quite a bit from ride to ride.

    The table below shows my progress through the year.

    Climb17a.JPG


    The final number in column F implies that I met the challenge according to RwGPS's version of events, and that's OK. But as we all know, someone else doing exactly the same rides with different hardware, or even the same hardware at different times, would get different numbers.

    I could be wrong, but I think one of the main reasons a climbing challenge has never become established has been the lack of an accepted standard measure of elevation gain. A while ago (see the final post in the linked thread) I mentioned the idea of using RwGPS's route planner to provide this standard. It would be nice to think that the lack of response implies universal agreement. ;)

    From column H, we see that under my proposed challenge I ended up about 10% short in 2017. Improving to that extent in 2018 certainly won't be easy, but isn't it a good thing to have a challenge that is just that?

    Any thoughts? If I'm wasting my time I guess I do need to know, painful as it may be.
     
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  2. Sea of vapours

    Sea of vapours Über Member

    I'm not wholly sure what the question is over which you may be wasting your time.... ? I'm guessing it's 'should the forum try and do a climbing challenge'. Correct?

    There's probably a subsidiary question of 'is the idea of using RwGPS's route planner as the standard for elevation acceptable?' Also correct?

    What is the actual challenge you're proposing though? Is it to hit the 1% climb to distance ratio? I like that as a concept, but how are you proposing that it be made into a forum thing? i.e. irrespective of the answers to the mechanics of the actual thing, above, what would people be actually recording in the hypothetical '2018 Climbing Challenge' thread?
     
    Aravis likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    Aravis

    Aravis White-Haired Trundler

    Location:
    Gloucester
    Thanks for the reply. This was something I needed to get off my chest, and as I've done that, I can't really have wasted my time, can I? Does that make sense?

    Yes, hitting the 1% climb to distance ratio would be the objective, looking at the aggregate of 12 rides rather than the individual rides. There'd probably need to be a minimum qualifying ride length. One advantage of using the aggregate approach is that someone unable to do serious climbing close to home could achieve the challenge by travelling to a hilly area a few times a year.

    If there turns out to be interest, I would probably suggest that we log stuff privately to begin with, see how things go and compare notes in a few months' time.

    My personal view is that it's not worth doing if there isn't an agreed standard method of measurement, and I didn't want to float the idea if I didn't have one to suggest. There may well be better ways.
     
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  4. OP
    OP
    Aravis

    Aravis White-Haired Trundler

    Location:
    Gloucester
    You don't fill me with confidence!

    I know little about Audax, but there's this thing called AAA, isn't there? As I understand it, some Audax events have a numerical AAA rating according to how hilly the organisation deems it to be. If you complete the event that's the score you get, irrespective of what your GPS/Website combination may suggest. Is that right?

    So I don't see the attempt to level the playing field as being particularly strange. I suggested one way - there may be better ones.
     
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  5. Reiver

    Reiver Legendary Member

    After having just worked out that I have done 350,836' of ascent in 2017 - (which is 107 km) I do believe that I can now claim to be an astronaut ^_^
     
  6. Sea of vapours

    Sea of vapours Über Member

    Only just though. Space starts either at the Karman line (100km) or NASA's semi-arbitrary definition of 80km, and you're still in the thermosphere all the way out / up to about 700km I think.
     
  7. Milkfloat

    Milkfloat Veteran

    Location:
    Warwick
    To save all the faffing, if you have Strava it shows your running total of distance and climbing for the year, so no real calculation is required.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Aravis

    Aravis White-Haired Trundler

    Location:
    Gloucester
    The Audax stuff would rapidly make me lose the will to live!

    Indeed, the CC challenges do a very good job of not being a competition. The feeling I get is much more akin to membership of a club, in which one's only objective is to be an equal.

    The problem I would have with a climbing challenge where you choose your yardstick is that, quite unwittingly, I could be making my task 10% easier than everyone else. So I can't know if I've truly earned my "equality".
     
  9. Sea of vapours

    Sea of vapours Über Member

    I wholeheartedly agree on that. It's pretty easy to (as suggested on the AAA page and as @Aravis has said) upload a track or a route to an agreed site to adjudicate climbing, but the thing here is that it's informal and, realistically, no-ones's going to be interested in checking all the rides against whatever the agreed site is and then awarding pass/fail to everyone, are they.
     
  10. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    I think the main problem with a climbing challenge is that if you live somewhere flat then finding enough hills will be difficult, and if you live somewhere hilly then it isn't a challenge!

    I just did a quick trawl through my files and I can hardly find any routes with less than 1% climbing! A typical ride for me is 1.25%-2.0%, with the odd 2.5% ride, and from time to time a fairly brutal 3%.

    All you could do really is to work out what you normally do and try to increase that? If you average 0.5%, say, then go for 1%. If you average 1.25% then maybe try and nudge it up to 1.5%?
     
    Aravis likes this.
  11. OP
    OP
    Aravis

    Aravis White-Haired Trundler

    Location:
    Gloucester
    I can remember someone suggesting that a monthly climbing challenge would benefit those who live in hilly areas and find it difficult to do 100 km or 100 miles regularly. That seemed logical, but you turn that on its head by pointing out (correctly, I think) that such a challenge doesn't benefit that group at all; if anything it's more geared to those from flatter areas who would have to consciously seek out the hillier terrain.

    This autumn/winter I did find the 1% formula to be a powerful motivator, and I'm happy to have brought it to people's attention.
     
    ColinJ likes this.
  12. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    Take a look at @Sea of vapours' 2017 list of metric centuries (since he publishes his climbing figures) and you will see what I mean! :okay:
     
    Aravis likes this.
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