The topography of a hilly commute

December 7, 2011 at 9:06 am 4 comments

If you have ever wondered what it is like to ride on one of my commutes through Birmingham, I’ve included a map and video from my commute yesterday. I discovered that Google Earth Pro (the trial version) lets you record a 3D flyover movie of an imported GPS route. Enjoy my 1 hour 45 minute commute home condensed into a 17 minute video. Or check out the 3D annotated topocreator map below the video. You really get a sense of all the rolling hills in Mountain Brook from minute 5 until minute 12 in the video. The only Cat 3 climb on the route is at the beginning climbing Old Hwy 31 to Hwy 31 to Vestavia Dr. When the arrow is moving fast, that means I was going downhill fast. When the arrow is moving slow, that means I was climbing slowly.

3D annotated commute route home from work. This view is looking southwest.

Entry filed under: Training. Tags: , .

Thankful for mostly traffic free roads Strava KOM shootout

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rick Schultz  |  December 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I recently found your blog and love all the content. Climbing is my favorite thing , 6Gap is my main event every year, and your posts are inspiring. Please keep posting !

    • 2. kartoone  |  December 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks Rick! I really enjoy writing up about all my adventures on my bike so hopefully there will be plenty more to come. Six Gap is a really great event – the topography there is really different than here in Birmingham, but I enjoy both types of climbing (the long ones like Six Gap and the short ones like we have here in Birmingham).

  • 3. Mark Liversedge  |  December 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

    You can create flyovers with normal Google Earth (v5.2 or higher anyway). If you export your ride to KML in GoldenCheetah you can view that in GE and flyover .. you can also show a graph at the bottom of the screen that has power, speed etc.

    I posted a screenie on my blog last year about that:

    • 4. kartoone  |  December 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Wow, that is really cool about the export option for Golden Cheetah so that it overlays the data from the ride onto Google Earth. I knew that the regular version of Google Earth can be used to view the flyover, but in order to save it to a movie file to upload to youtube I was having to use screen capture software that wasn’t working well. The nice thing about Google Earth Pro is that it has a Movie Maker mode that allows you to automatically export the flyover to a video. I’m not sure it’s worth the $400, though.


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Awesome preride with Kyle. North trailhead entrance Kyle I'm at the north trailhead ;-)

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Brian Toone

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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