Roadyisters – climbing per mile, when does it become hilly?

Home Forum Bike Forum Roadyisters – climbing per mile, when does it become hilly?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 75 total)
  • Roadyisters – climbing per mile, when does it become hilly?
  • IHN
    Member

    I was out last night, did 27 miles and, according to Wahoo, it was 1900ft of ascent. Felt pretty hilly to me, but then I’m not massively fit and a bit tubby.

    The maths says it’s 70ft/mile, does that count as hilly? If not, is there an accepted ft/mile number that counts as hilly?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    100ft/mile is hilly imo

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    i’d call that rolling not hilly.

    jonnyboi
    Member

    What’s that approx 600m of climbing in under 20k? I’d call that a hilly spin

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    What’s that approx 600m of climbing in under 20k? I’d call that a hilly spin

    600m in 43k…

    nbt
    Member

    tomhoward wrote

    What’s that approx 600m of climbing in under 20k? I’d call that a hilly spin

    600m in 43k…

    took me a while to figure that out. Agreed though –  IHN did 600m in 43K which is rolling. 600m in 20k would be quite hilly. My 20k commute has 450m climbing and I’d count that as hilly

    roughly that works out at 20m climbing per kilometer or 2%. that means @tomhoward’s 100ft per mile is a good guide for my money

    IHN
    Member

    Cheers chaps.

    Looking at it, RideWithGPS (that I planned the route on) reckons it’s 1450ft, Wahoo (that I followed/tracked the route on) reckons it’s 1900ft. Hmm… For now I’ll go with what Wahoo says 🙂

    whitestone
    Member

    I suppose it depends where you live as to your perception of hilly.

    A “flat” ride round here (edge of the Dales) would be 1000m in 80km so 12.5m/km – that’s basically in to Skipton, up Wharfedale to Buckden and back. I’ve a training loop that does 1100m in 30km, which is definitely hilly! Which means that somewhere in between is what I would consider as the start of hilly rides – 20m/km or so?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    +1 for 100ft/mile

    I would make concessions for that being a significant portion of the ride. Ie if you ride 10 miles to/from the hills with 300′ of climbing, then do 30 miles with 4000′ ft, I would consider that hilly.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    LOL on this forum… that’s optimistic 🙂

    My reply makes no sense now you edited it !

    daern
    Member

    Obviously, it’s all relative and we don’t live in the alps, but there’s a bit more to it than just a straight “100ft/mile” I would say. The comment made above about the bits in between is probably important.

    e.g. My son and I did a 60 miler last month that took in Kidstones, Askrigg Common, Buttertubs and Fleet Moss – a hilly route by any English measure – yet it only just sneaks in at 100ft/mile because there’s inevitable flatter sections linking up the hills. In fact, short of doing reps on the climbs, I think I’d struggle to plot a circular route that would hit this level. Another local ride with half the distance, but half the climb, wasn’t nearly as tough on the legs, despite coming out at the same “feet/mile” measure

    Personally, it’s the big, sustained climbs that define a hilly vs flat ride and steepness definitely factors in here – I can ride up gentle hills all day, but the big 1 in 4 climbs will really take it out of the legs in a way that an all day “rolling” ride will never do.

    twowheels
    Member

    What’s that approx 600m of climbing in under 20k? I’d call that a hilly spin

    no, 580m in 43km or ~13.5m per km.  I don’t think 13.5m per km is a hilly ride per se.  That’s 1350m in 100km.  It likely includes some significant hills somewhere but around London at least that’s flat out to Kent or Surrey for some hills then riding back.

    My commute feels “flat” at~10m per km.

    The Exmoor Scott Marathon was ~1880m in 63km, i.e. 30m per km.  I call that hilly.

    TransRockies Day 2 2008 was 3813m in 73.7km, i.e. 52m per km.  I call that very hilly.

    100ft per mile is ~1900m in 100km.  That seems a reasonable threshold for a hilly ride overall.  I probably would go for 90ft per mile though.

    Edit: I was so slow writing the reply in between work that everything I’ve said is redundant 🙂

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    My normal rides (which don’t meticulously iron out the route but tend to avoid large climbs in favour of longer distances) tend to come in at 10m/km.

    If you do the Cinglé de Ventoux, that’s 32m/km.

    So, to add to the consensus, 20m/km seems a reasonable ballpark for “quite hilly”.

    Not all hills are the same, of course: altitude gain can be steep or shallow, and can be delivered in one big spoonful or scattered throughout a rolling ride, and everyone responds differently.

    IHN
    Member

    Sorry Weeksy 🙂

    The whole ascent recording thing is so inconsistent. The same ride, on various sources

    RWGPS planned route: 1450ft

    Wahoo recorded route: 1840ft

    RWGPS recorded route (uploaded from Wahoo app): 1900ft

    OS Maps (exported gpx from RWGPS and imported): 1965ft

    Huh?

    zilog6128
    Member

    Just because the ride has a hill does not make the ride hilly.

    100ft/mile is the ISO definition. 😀

    The whole ascent recording thing is so inconsistent.

    Found the same thing when we did a trip across Wales this summer. The estimated climbing from the route-plotting app (Komoot, although I’m guessing they all do this) was significantly lower from (multiple) GPS units with barometric altimeters (which although obviously not 100% accurate I would say offers the most accuracy).

    Best guess is that the data from the route plotting apps is not granular enough so there are many smaller climbs & descents which it doesn’t account for, which all add up over the course of a long ride.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Just because the ride has a hill does not make the ride hilly.

    This, a hilly ride has very few flat bits.  IIRC thats why the Yorkshire grand depart caught a few riders out. While there were no (alp sized) big hills, there were no flat bits or big descents either.

    whitestone
    Member

    @tomhoward – the original description of day one of the 2014 TdF was described as “flat”! I think they changed their minds once they’d gone along it for the riders’ race notes.

    20m/km is the ISO definition.

    FTFY with correct ISO units 😉 🙂

    Not all hills are the same, of course: altitude gain can be steep or shallow, and can be delivered in one big spoonful or scattered throughout a rolling ride, and everyone responds differently.

    +1

    Can “it depends” be an answer?

    Ascent gives a good indicator when your comparing say TDF stages in the mountains Vs the opening week. But I can go for a ride in the chilterns and and get more climbing per km than a ride in the Lake District, Peak, Wales etc. Simply by virtue of the climbs being short, steep and frequent. But then you wouldn’t class the chilterns as more hilly than mountains, as that’s an oxymoron?

    Best guess is that the data from the route plotting apps is not granular enough so there are many smaller climbs & descents which it doesn’t account for, which all add up over the course of a long ride.

    Or the other way around, you ride along a flat road and a barometric altimeter gains hundreds of meters as the weather changes over a few hours, which is why the climb/descent figures never seem to match on a Garmin for a circular ride. Or just fluctuates up and down by a few meters ever so often.

    Premier Icon psling
    Subscriber

    I was out last night, did 27 miles and, according to Wahoo, it was 1900ft of ascent. Felt pretty hilly to me, but then I’m not massively fit and a bit tubby.

    The maths says it’s 70ft/mile, does that count as hilly? If not, is there an accepted ft/mile number that counts as hilly?

    Your maths is wrong IHN  – assuming you started and finsihed in the same place half of that 27 miles would be downhill therefore you did 140ft/mile. That make it feel a bit more ‘pretty hilly’ for you?! (fitter than you thought, eh!)

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I think it becomes hilly when you decide that it’s hilly. There’s always an element of subjectivity depending on where you ride and your personal tolerance of lumpy things. Our friendly local sportive, the Ronde van Chinley, managed to combine 1500m odd of mostly steep backroad climbing, with 50km of distance.

    That felt quite hilly, to me but I suspect that f your daily commute took you, say, over the Hardknott and Wrynose then back again, you’d view the RvC as a gently rolling meander through the foothills.

    whitestone
    Member

    @psling – you’ve got that wrong! The ascent per Km is the same but the gradient might be different so 800m in 40km is 20m/km regardless of whether it’s a loop or a point to point ride. The average gradient would depend on whether start and end points were at the same altitude.

    chilled76
    Member

    I’d agree with Tom Howard,

    I was thinking about 1000ft+ per 10 miles.

    That’s pretty much what the Fred Whitton has (little bit more 12,500ft in 113miles) so about 110ft per mile.

    jonnyboi
    Member

    600m in 43k…

    calculation fail by me there, got my KMs and miles confused.

    if I’m doing hilly training I will aim for 400m per 20k

    oikeith
    Member

    When I look at my own rides or friends rides I will judge using the 100ft per Mile rule of thumb and give Kudos accordingly…

    There’s an Audax guide to hilliness (AAA points) with minimum rates of climbing of 15m/km for a 50km ride down to 11.67 for a 1000km ride

    http://www.aukweb.net/results/aaa/aaavnts/aaaqual/

    Premier Icon orangespyderman
    Subscriber

    My rule of thumb (on a MTB, though) is that more than 20m/km is hilly, less is pretty flat.  I see that many have come to a similar conclusion.  It feels about right to my legs, is easy to remember and fairly easy to calculate mentally.  I live in a country that uses SI units, though 🙂

    For me in local SE road races, more than 1000m climbing in 100km starts to become hilly and hard. Might rarely use the little ring in some of those races but lots of punchy climbs can more sapping than longer steady climbs with long descents to recover.

    Premier Icon psling
    Subscriber

    Ah Bob, I’m working on the basis that if Simon travelled 27 miles and climbed 1900ft then he also descended 1900ft within those 27 miles and, assuming there were no flat bits, and all gradients were equal the real climbing would be 1900ft in 13.5 miles. He used basic maths to divide ascent by miles so using the same maths he could claim 140ft/mile. I was trying to make him feel better!

    Of course, he could have ridden 26 miles at a steady gradient and 1 mile off a cliff which is why your figures are the correct method 😉

    Personally, I find continuous level riding the most tiring. No descents to recover from the climbs, just continuous pedalling with no relief.

    IHN
    Member

    God bless you Psling for pampering my ego 🙂

    There wasn’t a lot of flat, it was basically up or down.

    Link here, if it works

    https://ridewithgps.com/trips/29342466

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    On the road, I tend to think of 10m/ km as rolling and 20m/ km as hilly.

    whitestone
    Member

    @psling – indeed! A couple of years ago I had to go down to near Cambridge for a couple of days for work. Rather than sit in the (very nice) pub all night I went for a bike ride – 75km with 150m of ascent!! I’ve been on hillier Channel crossings 🙂 It was hard work though as there was sod all chance of a rest, you were pedalling all the time whereas on a “hilly” ride you can freewheel the descents and get a breather.

    daern
    Member

    I was thinking about 1000ft+ per 10 miles.

    That’s pretty much what the Fred Whitton has (little bit more 12,500ft in 113miles) so about 110ft per mile.

    Let’s be honest though, that’s one bugger of a ride and yet only just scrapes over the 100ft/mile threshold. Good example of a ride that’s very tough, yet on paper doesn’t actually seem that hilly though (was this the point you were making?)

    Premier Icon glenh
    Subscriber

    I always count 1000m/50KM (~1000ft /10miles) as hilly.

    Probably the ‘hilliest’ I’ve done was about 1800ft /10miles (3 alpine passes).

    Premier Icon glenh
    Subscriber

    whitestone

    I suppose it depends where you live as to your perception of hilly.

    A “flat” ride round here (edge of the Dales) would be 1000m in 80km so 12.5m/km – that’s basically in to Skipton, up Wharfedale to Buckden and back. I’ve a training loop that does 1100m in 30km, which is definitely hilly! Which means that somewhere in between is what I would consider as the start of hilly rides – 20m/km or so?

    I think your definition matches mine – not surprising since it sounds like you live pretty near me too 😀

    Ewan
    Member

    We should all just measure it against stage 16 of the Giro next year….5700m of climbing

    https://static2.giroditalia.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/G19_T16_Ponte_di_Legno_alt_jpg.jpg

    Premier Icon Bez
    Subscriber

    Well, I can recall a ride that had more climbing than that Giro stage… but it was nearly three times the length, so I guess it was Differently Hilly 🙂

    twowheels
    Member

    @ewan 5700m in 226km is “only” 25m per km and it’s on road 🙂

    There’s such a lot of toss spouted in this thread. Fred Whitton is around 100 f/m so to take 100 as the threshold for “quite hilly” is posturing macho bullshit.

    butcher
    Member

    For me 50ft/mile is fast but rolling terrain. 100ft/mile is hilly (and average, where I live). In between is a bit lumpy.

    It does depend on many factors though. A long 3% climb is nothing like succession of 25%ers.

    The climbs around me vary in gradients wildy and are quite unforgiving (which includes the descents). Gentle climbs and fast rolling descents can feel completely different. Or of course you might have 100 miles of pan flat terrain with a 10k climb at the end…

    Anything over 100ft/mile is hard work and quite exceptional. Even a big lakeland ride (i.e. Fred Whitton) is in the 100ft/mile territory.

    fossy
    Member

    100ft a mile.  Got one ride that’s 200ft a mile on road and even more if I take the MTB up the bridleway to the top of the hill.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 75 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.