Tag Archives: raam

Paris-Brest-Paris southern style data analysis

One of the lessons that I learned the hard way during RAAM is that it really doesn’t matter how much power you can put out on the bike. It doesn’t matter how long you can sustain a Zone 5 heartrate. It doesn’t even matter a great deal how fast you ride your bike. The only questions that matter are how long can you stay on the bike and how short can you make your stops? So the first data I wanted to look at from my 756 mile ride to Clemson and back over the weekend is my stoppage time. Here’s a quick summary of stats:

Total distance 755.8 miles (1/4 of RAAM)
Total climbing 57,834 feet (Over 1/3rd of RAAM)
Elapsed time 70h, 37min (2 days 22h, 37 min) 10.7 mph
Moving time 52h, 01min (2 days 4h, 1 min) 14.5 mph
Total stoppage 18h, 36 min
Total stoppage not including hotel 9h, 9 min

Annotated view of my stops on the way to Clemson.  Click to enlarge and see detail.Annotated view of my stops on the way to Clemson. Click to enlarge and see detail.

Stops on the way to Clemson:

Stop Distance Stoppage Elapsed Time Time of Day
Shocco Springs (clothes) 57.8 0:08:28 3:36:00 3/25/16 22:09
Cheaha Tower (photos) 84.6 0:03:42 5:46:30 3/26/16 0:19
Cheaha Vending Machine (clothes) 85.9 0:13:23 6:02:00 3/26/16 0:35
Dallas Gas Station (food) 170.8 0:10:11 11:27:48 3/26/16 6:00
Kennesaw Columns (clothes) 188.4 0:02:53 12:42:53 3/26/16 7:15
Canton Rd Gas Station (food) 196.8 0:03:54 13:17:14 3/26/16 7:50
Dahlonega Dunkin Donuts (food) 252.7 0:38:54 17:01:26 3/26/16 11:34
Brasstown Bald (clothes) 292.7 0:11:10 21:30:43 3/26/16 16:03
US76-bottom of first climb (clothes) 305.9 0:03:39 22:52:30 3/26/16 17:25
US76-top of last climb (clothes) 317.5 0:03:32 23:53:02 3/26/16 18:26
Clayton Waffle House (food) 328.6 0:52:04 24:41:25 3/26/16 19:14
Clemson Holiday Inn Express (sleep) 377.8 29:14:04 3/26/16 23:47
Summary – 11 stops, Average distance between stops: 34.3 miles, Average time between stops: 2 hr, 40 min, Average stop duration: 17min, 44sec. Notes: it rained a bit in North Georgia, but it was dry for all of Alabama and South Carolina and most of Georgia. There was still some pretty big temperature swings, hence all the clothing stops – especially Brasstown Bald and US-76 where it went from hot and dry to raining and cold twice in short succession.

Annotated view of my stops on the way back home from Clemson.  Click to enlarge and see detail.Annotated view of my stops on the way back home from Clemson. Click to enlarge and see detail.

Stops on the way back home to Alabama:

Stop Distance Stoppage Elapsed Time Time of Day
Gravel road currahee (clothing) 51.3 0:03:34 3:22:14 3/27/16 12:35
Dunagan Chapel (rain-clothing) 83.7 0:05:26 5:36:25 3/27/16 14:49
Rabittown Café (food) 88 0:18:28 6:01:03 3/27/16 15:14
Old Alabama Rd (clothing) 135 0:02:37 9:22:00 3/27/16 18:35
Vinings Starbucks (food) 154.4 1:27:12 10:44:15 3/27/16 19:57
Silver Comet (clothing) 160.6 0:04:43 12:36:10 3/27/16 21:49
Cedartown Waffle House (food) 209.9 0:38:49 15:56:52 3/28/16 1:09
Alabama State Line (photos) 220.5 0:04:30 17:20:24 3/28/16 2:33
Chief Ladiga (rain-clothing) 229.4 0:02:37 17:54:50 3/28/16 3:07
Chief Ladiga trail tree down (obstacle) 230.7 0:04:54 18:02:12 3/28/16 3:15
Fort McCllelan (charging-lights) 258 0:03:25 20:07:59 3/28/16 5:20
Fort McCllelan (charging-lights again) 259.7 0:03:25 20:22:16 3/28/16 5:35
Oxford McDonalds (food) 264.4 1:05:29 20:43:56 3/28/16 5:56
Hanging Rock Rd (clothing) 296.8 0:02:21 24:30:59 3/28/16 9:43
Talladega Walmart and McDonalds (charging) 311 0:41:46 25:38:00 3/28/16 10:51
US231 Kelly Creek (charging) 334 0:01:43 27:50:33 3/28/16 13:03
Chelsea Chevron (food/charging) 350.3 0:22:56 29:02:57 3/28/16 14:15
Double Oak Cliffs (photos) 361.2 0:02:20 30:27:43 3/28/16 15:40
280 Starbucks (food) 367.5 0:07:24 30:56:52 3/28/16 16:09
Home 378 31:57:19 3/28/16 17:10
Summary – 19 stops, Average distance between stops: 19.9 miles, Average time between stops: 1 hr, 41 min, Average stop duration: 18min, 42sec. Notes: it rained quite a bit in Georgia and Alabama so I had to stop a bunch for clothing, covering Garmins, etc… Also, I had some major charging / battery problems pretty much the whole ride so any stop labeled “charging” is a stop I didn’t want to make, but was forced to make in order to plug devices into wall outlets. Also, the Vinings Starbucks stop and the Cedartown Waffle House stop were both longer than I wanted to stop but I had to wait for devices to charge.

Annotated stops round trip including my 9.5 hour stop at the Holiday Inn Express in Clemson. Click to enlarge and see detail.Annotated stops round trip including my 9.5 hour stop at the Holiday Inn Express in Clemson. Click to enlarge and see detail.

In RAAM, of course, sleep stops also count against your time. So including my sleep stop in Clemson, here is the overall stop data.

# stops: 31
avg stop duration: 36 minutes
dist b/t stops: 24.4 miles
time b/t stops: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Even my stop in Clemson was longer than I wanted it to be. I only slept for 7 hours, but I was stopped for 2.5 hours longer than that mainly so I could charge lights, di2, and garmins before leaving since I had only charged my powerbanks overnight. So it’s a little unfair to compare to RAAM, but in RAAM I only averaged 17.6 miles between stops so 24.4 miles is quite an improvement and would have been even better if I hadn’t had the extra stops on the second day trying to keep my devices charged. There was also another major improvement for this ride: cadence!

Cycling Data
This was quite the adventure with tons of climbing. I was really wanting to do a side-by-side comparison of Cheaha, Brasstown, and Sassafras on the same ride — but that will have to wait until next time!

Total distance 755.8 miles (25% of RAAM)
Total climbing 57,834 feet (36% af RAAM)
Overall average speed (elapsed) 10.7 mph
Overall average speed (moving) 14.5 mph
Overall power average 143 watts
Overall heartrate average 109 bpm
Overall cadence average 74 rpm
Day Power HR RPM MPH Climbing Distance
Day 1 159 w 116 75 14.57 33,717 ft 377.8 mi
Day 2 127 w 102 74 14.55 24,117 ft 378.0 mi

Shifting Data
It was easy to see the impact of having a 32 tooth rear cassette on my overall shifting data – mainly, my average cadence went up quite a bit compared to RAAM. Also, I was consciously trying to spin an easier gear all the time to help avoid smashing the bottoms of my feet by mashing too big of a gear. One of the ways that I would do that is when I got to the bottom of a hill I would shift into easier and easier gears while still in the big chainring so that there would be a bigger jump when I switched down to the low chainring. I would still switch to the small chainring at what I perceived was my “normal” time so that meant I would be spinning a really high cadence into the bottom of the hill. Then I would move up into easier gears as necessary. Because of this, there was a lot 53×18, 39×18 transitions on day 1 and 53×20, 39×20 transitions on day 2. This really helped as my feet were pretty much shot by 1/4 of the way through RAAM. This ride, which was also 1/4 of RAAM saw my feet get not nearly as sore as RAAM – and that is even with a 1.2 mile hike up/down on Brasstown in my speedplay shoes, which killed my feet at the time. But because of spinning the easier gears, my feet were able to recover some and felt better by the end of the ride. Shift data and shift map below!

Annotated shift data for the complete 756 mile ride. Note the high percentage of time in the 53x20, 39x20, 53x18, and 39x18.

Shift map for my ride from Hoover to Clemson via Cheaha and Brasstown. Click to see an interactive version.Shift map for my ride from Hoover to Clemson via Cheaha and Brasstown. Click to see an interactive version.

Shift map for my ride back home from Clemson via Cheaha. Click for an interactive version.Shift map for my ride back home from Clemson via Cheaha. Click for an interactive version.

Everesting Mount Cheaha

Final stats #everesting #cheahagranfondoultra #festive500

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

Training for next year’s Race Across America is giong really well. One of my training techniques is to do “adversity” rides, where it’s not just the distance, but also the unknowns on the ride that add in a bit of mental training to the physical effort. So when a huge storm system came through the southeast on the night I had chosen, I toyed with the idea of going anyway and doing the whole ride in the storms and rain starting at midnight on December 24th so I could be finished and back to Birmingham early in the afternoon in time for Christmas Eve with the family.

The evening of the 23rd rolled around, and the weather was looking too crazy and the idea of riding in a thunderstorm on top of mount cheaha was beyond what I was willing to do – so I bailed and decided to wait until Christmas day starting in the early afternoon and hopefully finishing sometime in the middle of the night. This meant, however, that immediately after finishing the ride we would be getting in the car and driving 18 hours to northwestern Wisconsin to spend the rest of our winter vacation with Kristine’s family.

After brunch, I headed out to drive over to Mount Cheaha – about an hour and a half away. I hate driving to ride or race my bike, but sometimes it is necessary just so you can take all your stuff and supplies for the ride or race. Many times, though, it’s a matter of deciding to ride hundreds of miles. I found a cool parking area right near the start of the segment that I was going to everest –

Strava segment for my everesting of mount cheaha - "Cheaha from 281 low pt on Adams Gap side"Strava segment for my everesting of mount cheaha – “Cheaha from 281 low pt on Adams Gap side”

This segment is an interesting one that I made a few years ago – it’s the lowest spot on AL-281 on the west side of the mountain so it gives you the most vertical diff up to the lookout tower at the top (Alabama’s highest point at 2,407′). That low spot, however, is located in the middle of several steep rollers. So even though the vertical diff is about 1300′, you get even more climbing than that both on the way up and the way back down. I knew that this would make it easier to reach the everesting elevation, but I was surprised that it was over 2 full laps sooner than everesting based on the vertical diff alone. I wanted to everest it that way as well, so I did the required 23 laps.

This is probably the “best” climb in Alabama to everest. It may not be the fastest, steepest, etc… but it is the perfect grade for some fast climbing, yet not too steep to exhaust you quickly. Also, the descent is still plenty steep in spots to give you lots of free speed on the way back down. On top of that, the rollers at the bottom are fun and add to the climbing as I mentioned previously.

But perhaps what makes this climb the “best” is how scenic it is. During the day, the views are amazing as the climb rises quickly out of the valley with a good view looking far below. You really get the sense of climbing high in the mountains. Most everesting attempts end up involving some sort of night riding. The lower part of this climb is so open that moonlight really lights up the climb (and descent). I did several descents with no lights towards the bottom using just the moonlight … in addition to having a shadow from the moon, I could clearly see the outline of the road and the pavement was so perfectly smooth that there was no danger of hitting any debris. This was not the case higher up the mountain which goes through a heavily wooded section. After the storms a couple days ago, there was lots of branches and debris on the road. I found a good line though and cleared it out by riding it over and over again. By the end of the ride I was not worried about hitting anything at the top either. I used my light on its medium setting for this part of the descent, which twists gently (no brakes) several times, and is much darker because of the tree cover.

Well, I’m running out of time here, so I’ll leave with a collection of all the pictures I instagrammed. Previously, I had posted pictures at the 1000 meter elevation marks all the way up to the summit of everest. This time in honor of the work that Nuevas Esperanzas is doing in Nicaragua, I wanted to start out in Nicaragua, then Central America, and finally South America before running out of elevation and having to head over to Asia … but this time I picked K2 all the way up to its summit before finally switching over to Everest for the final summit picture.

These are the first few from Nicaragau:

To see the rest of the pics, click the collage below to go to my instagram account kartoone76

instagramcollage