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2013-08-28 9:02 AM

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Subject: Elevation/Climbing Feet

Recently there have been a lot of threads mentioning the advertised climbing feet versus the actual climbing feet.  This includes IM Canada/Whistler, IM Lake Tahoe, etc.  The consensus seems to be that MapMyRide (MMR) under reports climbing feet and maybe Ride with GPS is better or some such. 

From a training perspective, does it matter?  If we know that IMC's elevation was calculated with MMR and then we map out a training ride near home using that tool, wouldn't the it be the same climbing feet as the target race?  In other words, is the algorithm the same regardless?  Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?

If that is the case, it would be really helpful if Race Directors would note what tool they used to calculate the elevation that the advertise.



2013-08-28 12:00 PM
in reply to: jmkizer

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
What is the actual issue with the altitude errors? Whenever I look at things like mapmyride, the issues I see are because of the elevation data being wrong, for example they are picking up the elevation off the road a bit instead of the road, which was cut into the side of the mountain. I often see elevation profiles that ignore the fact that the path or road goes through a tunnel. If that's the reason why they are wrong, then you probably won't have any consistency of error on a platform. My mapmyride might be off 10% while yours is dead on.
2013-08-28 12:22 PM
in reply to: jmkizer

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by jmkizer

Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?




You would think so. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.
2013-08-28 12:27 PM
in reply to: bufordt

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet

Originally posted by bufordt What is the actual issue with the altitude errors? Whenever I look at things like mapmyride, the issues I see are because of the elevation data being wrong, for example they are picking up the elevation off the road a bit instead of the road, which was cut into the side of the mountain. I often see elevation profiles that ignore the fact that the path or road goes through a tunnel. If that's the reason why they are wrong, then you probably won't have any consistency of error on a platform. My mapmyride might be off 10% while yours is dead on.

I'll use my training for Vineman last year as an example.  MMR gives it something like 3300 climbing feet and the race info says closer to 4000 climbing feet but I live in North Carolina, not California, so I could not ride the course in advance.  I wanted to make sure that I was training on similar routes to the race route though.

People training for Whistler and Lake Tahoe have expressed similar concerns.

2013-08-28 12:28 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by JohnnyKay

Originally posted by jmkizer

Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?




You would think so. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

exactly. you would need to simulate the same vertical speed you hope to get on the race course or find hills of the same grade.
2013-08-28 12:31 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by JohnnyKay
Originally posted by jmkizer

Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?

You would think so. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

Follow up question -- what is most accurate?  I would think that the Garmin devcess with a barometer are at the top of the list followed by what?  Garmin watches without barometer (310xt, etc.)?  Ride with GPSGoogle maps cue sheetsMap My Ride?  Where does Strava's interpretation of Garmin's data fall in this spectrum?



2013-08-28 12:37 PM
in reply to: jmkizer

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by jmkizer

Originally posted by JohnnyKay
Originally posted by jmkizer

Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?

You would think so. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

Follow up question -- what is most accurate?  I would think that the Garmin devcess with a barometer are at the top of the list followed by what?  Garmin watches without barometer (310xt, etc.)?  Ride with GPSGoogle maps cue sheetsMap My Ride?  Where does Strava's interpretation of Garmin's data fall in this spectrum?




Define 'accurate'. It's relatively easy to measure the total climb of a steady grade and I would think most of those would work reasonably well. But start throwing in grade changes, dips, plateaus, descents, etc. and now it's not even clear what you should measure when you say 'climbing'. Therefore, it's difficult to pinpoint 'accuracy'. I think that's the main issue.
2013-08-28 3:12 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by JohnnyKay
Originally posted by jmkizer
Originally posted by JohnnyKay
Originally posted by jmkizer

Wouldn't 3500 MMR climbing feet in North Carolina be the same as 3500 climbing feet in California and the same as 3500 climbing feet in Georgia?

You would think so. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

Follow up question -- what is most accurate?  I would think that the Garmin devcess with a barometer are at the top of the list followed by what?  Garmin watches without barometer (310xt, etc.)?  Ride with GPSGoogle maps cue sheetsMap My Ride?  Where does Strava's interpretation of Garmin's data fall in this spectrum?

Define 'accurate'. It's relatively easy to measure the total climb of a steady grade and I would think most of those would work reasonably well. But start throwing in grade changes, dips, plateaus, descents, etc. and now it's not even clear what you should measure when you say 'climbing'. Therefore, it's difficult to pinpoint 'accuracy'. I think that's the main issue.

Accurate in terms of comparing the routes to one another.

2013-08-28 3:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet

I don't think you can compare how close two courses are to each other just by looking at total elevation gain.  Even if the measurement for both courses are dead on accurate.

It matters more "how" the elevation is gained.  Rollers, short steep hills, long steady climbs, etc.  There are some courses where you can gain a lot of total elevation and never get out of the big ring because it's just constantly rolling.  Then there are some courses that have these steep and short hills and the rest of the course is pancake flat...so the total elevation doesn't seem like that much.



Edited by Jason N 2013-08-28 3:28 PM
2013-08-28 3:49 PM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Elevation/Climbing Feet
Originally posted by Jason N

I don't think you can compare how close two courses are to each other just by looking at total elevation gain.  Even if the measurement for both courses are dead on accurate.

It matters more "how" the elevation is gained.  Rollers, short steep hills, long steady climbs, etc.  There are some courses where you can gain a lot of total elevation and never get out of the big ring because it's just constantly rolling.  Then there are some courses that have these steep and short hills and the rest of the course is pancake flat...so the total elevation doesn't seem like that much.

Gotcha.  So if you are fairly confident that the terrain is relatively similar as well as the total elevation...

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