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How much climbing is on ALC9?

The quick answer: about 22,270 feet. It shouldn't be a shock to you (especially this close to the event) that there's a lot of climbing between San Francisco and Los Angeles. How much? Using my best guess as to the actual ALC9 route, here is approximately how much climbing you'll do on each day of the ride, as well as my super-special "difficulty index" (more about that in a minute):

ClimbingDifficulty index
Day 1: SF to Santa Cruz4,29054
Day 2: Santa Cruz to King City2,67025
Day 3: King City to Paso Robles2,37036
Day 4: Paso Robles to Santa Maria4,00041
Day 5: Santa Maria to Lompoc3,00044
Day 6: Lompoc to Ventura3,54041
Day 7: Ventura to LA2,40039

OK, take a deep breath.

What's this "difficulty index"? Simply put, it's how many feet of climbing per mile you'll do, averaged over an entire day. It doesn't account for steepness of climbs or endurance, but it's a good, gross, high-level measure of how difficult many riders find each day, assuming that you already have the basic skills to ride long distances at roughly a consistent pace. By comparison, I find any ride with an index over 100 to be quite difficult indeed ... and none of the days of ALC even come close.

How is the climbing calculated? I used Bikely, which is the same tool that reports climbing for the Mountain View and Sunnyvale training rides. MapMyRide usually reports a little less than these numbers, and most Garmin devices seem to report a little more.

For those of you who did my Mountain View rides, here is the difficulty index for those rides:
Ride 1: 43
Ride 2: 42
Ride 3: 40
Ride 4: 36
Ride 5: 32
Ride 6: 41
Ride 7: 44
Ride 8: 29
Ride 9: 26
Ride 10: 23

And this year's SF Day on the Ride was rated 63.

1 comment:

Ajit said...

Great stats Chris. This helps with what to anticipate during the seven days. I thought the Ride 7 would be close to day 1. Seems like day 1 will be tougher, factoring the wind along the coast in addition to the climbs.
- Ajit