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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I only recently discovered ridewithgps.com and I’ve enjoyed finding out the various elevation gains on my regular routes.

I’ve considered most of my area to be fairly flat. There are definitely some hills but nothing like mountainous terrain. I live in northeast Massachusetts.

I’m curious how my rides compare with the hilliness in other areas. I recently rode one of my hillier routes. It was 39.75 miles with 2226 feet of elevation gain. Would this be considered a mid-range ride for hills? What are some typical elevation gains for your 40 mile routes in various places around the world? I’m interested to compare.
 

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I don't think there is a typical elevation gain. I did a ride yesterday. 50 miles and 1300 feet. Flat ride for the most part, but I have done 1700 feet in 32 miles by going a different route right out my house. I choose which ride I want and do it. If I had big mtns near me I would probably climb more, but you can only ride what you have.
 

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I don't think comparisons are very meaningful. Some people live and ride in real mountains, some in pretty hilly places, some in places where there are hills nearby but you can choose flatter routes if you like (that last is me, here in central Connecticut, and I tend to choose the hilly routes).

You do moderately hilly rides, it sounds like. I'd guess that most of that 2000 feet of climbing on your route is short rollers, occasionally steep for a bit. That's "sort of hilly," I guess. What are the highest and lowest elevations on the route? What's the elevation gain on the single longest climb?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think comparisons are very meaningful. Some people live and ride in real mountains, some in pretty hilly places, some in places where there are hills nearby but you can choose flatter routes if you like (that last is me, here in central Connecticut, and I tend to choose the hilly routes).

You do moderately hilly rides, it sounds like. I'd guess that most of that 2000 feet of climbing on your route is short rollers, occasionally steep for a bit. That's "sort of hilly," I guess. What are the highest and lowest elevations on the route? What's the elevation gain on the single longest climb?
Here is the profile of the ride:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
if the climbing altitude is 1% of the ride length there are hills. 2% it's really hilly. 3+% it's basically up and down mountains.
So I would have needed to climb 4000 feet on this ride just to make the first category? I think that definition underestimates the hills by a little.
 

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So I would have needed to climb 4000 feet on this ride just to make the first category? I think that definition underestimates the hills by a little.
while i hadn't heard his categorization before, i read it that you would need to be using the same unit of measure, so 40 miles is around 210,000 feet, so 2k feet of climbing is in the 1% ballpark....
 

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So I would have needed to climb 4000 feet on this ride just to make the first category? I think that definition underestimates the hills by a little.
No, you did a of 39.75 miles with 2200+ feet of climbing. going by what den gave you; 10% of 39.75 miles is 3.975 miles. 1% is 0.3975 miles. Multiply by 5280 to get feet, comes out to 2098 feet. Basically 2100 feet of vertical. It's only 2 feet so why quibble. You are already in the first category.

Or 2226/5280 = 0.42159 mi. Slightly more than 1%
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
while i hadn't heard his categorization before, i read it that you would need to be using the same unit of measure, so 40 miles is around 210,000 feet, so 2k feet of climbing is in the 1% ballpark....
No, you did a of 39.75 miles with 2200+ feet of climbing. going by what den gave you; 10% of 39.75 miles is 3.975 miles. 1% is 0.3975 miles. Multiply by 5280 to get feet, comes out to 2098 feet. Basically 2100 feet of vertical. It's only 2 feet so why quibble. You are already in the first category.

Or 2226/5280 = 0.42159 mi. Slightly more than 1%
Ah, okay, that makes sense. I should have thought to convert to the same unit of measurement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I live in East Bay Area and climb on average 140ft per mile.
That would be 2.65 percent on Den's scale if I'm calculating correctly, between categories 2 & 3. That's hilly!

Do you find you can go all out on the descents or are the streets too much in the city? I would find it tough to climb that much and not get a reward on the way down.
 

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I live in East Bay Area and climb on average 140ft per mile.
Feet per mile is what I typically see used, with 100 ft./mi. rides considered hilly. My local rides in rolling hills of central NJ are usually about 75 ft./mile. Then there is climbing rate, remembered as VAM (vertical ascent in meters per hour). VAM is typically calculated for at least a mile or two continual ascent with a gradient of about 8%, and so eliminates comparable calculations for a lot of areas of the country. See Climbing

Getting a good read on your VAM is fun, and allows better appreciation of what the pros do.
 

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I live in East Bay Area and climb on average 140ft per mile.
That's pretty hilly. I typically don't even get that on all my MTB rides in the Sac/Auburn area.
For me less than 50'/mile is pretty flat, 50-75'/mile is moderate, 75-125'/mi is a climbing ride, 150'/mi is damn tough, and I'm not sure if even have a ride at 200'/mi.
 

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That would be 2.65 percent on Den's scale if I'm calculating correctly, between categories 2 & 3. That's hilly!
Actually, it's double that if you're ending the ride where you started. If you climbed 140 feet during that mile, that means you also came down the 140 feet. So you actually climbed that 140 feet in half a mile, so it's 5.3%
 

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Elevation gain is a handy stat, but doesn't tell you how the elevation gain is distributed over the mileage. An extreme example is riding for miles up a very gentle incline which seems flat, but you notice maybe you need to shift to an easier cog than riding it in the opposite direction (like my commute home from school). That will give you the same elevation gain as miles of flat plain, followed by a 200-300 meter high 10% wall (we have both situations near my home). To me the second is more difficult, but I'm not a power meter user- just perceived effort.
 
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