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Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Updated! New visuals and sounds (links)

We bikers are nothing if not trendy. We dress in tight shorts and wear multi-colored jerseys that would make Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat jealous. Our carbon fiber bikes sport high-tech, handlebar-mounted electronics to record our every move. And my glasses are Technically Cool according to Rudy Project, their manufacturer. Trendsetters indeed.

The riding is trending up, too. Since my last post on May 29, I've ridden 194 miles and climbed 12,714 feet. Last Saturday was the big day in this latest spurt. I rode 55 miles and climbed 5,200 feet. And on this day, I did something I'd wanted to do for quite a while. Never getting too far from home (the real beauty of riding here), I rode from river level to the bluff-top 8 times: three times up Bliss Road, twice up County OA and -- drum roll, please -- three times up FO.

How do I remember these riding statistics? Well... on a spreadsheet, of course. Engineer!* And if you have all of the data on a spreadsheet, you might as well analyze it. RIght? Right! It's pretty obvious that the amount of climbing you do on a ride affects the pace that you are able to maintain. It does for me, that's for sure. So. I decided to look at my average speed for a ride (miles ridden divided by ride time) in relation to my overall climbing rate (feet climbed divided by miles ridden). There is, in fact, a clear relationship. And here is a chart to prove it:

It's pretty obvious that as the climbing rate goes up, my average speed goes down. The chart shows three sets of data: blue symbols are for the rides in April, red for May and green for June. Now pay attention, because you can learn something here. The lines are called Trendlines and show the average trend of the data. Big climbing rides are those where I climb at 90 to 100 feet per mile which keeps my pace down around 11 mph. As the rides get flatter, I ride faster. The least climbing I've done on a ride so far is 16 feet/mile and I sped along at a blistering (well, it was for me) 16.4 mph. But notice the other trend - where the rides in May were a bit faster than those in April and the three rides in June hint at yet another (though smaller) increase in pace.

So, while the levels are less than stellar, the trends are in the right direction. I can live with that.

* How do you say Engineer! in this context? Well, consider Jack Sparrow (CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow, that is) in the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. In a sword fight with Will Turner, he pulled a sneaky move and subdued young Will who looked at him and said, "You cheated!" Jack cocked his head, smiled, and said "Pirate! And that's how you say Engineer! Click here to hear the brief clip from the movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mr. Engineer, but i feel like i've been [pirate ship talk] "spread eagled" with this trendy data!!! But hey, if statistics float your boat, keep you on the bike, make you smile, then keep at it. How about charting the number of miles you have to ride before finding money on the road? When i ride, as soon as i find money [99% of the time, pennies], i get to quit riding!!