Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uphill On Foot vs Bike

On, I've compared running times with cycling times up popular peaks in the northeast. It appears that around 17% grade on a hard surface, runners reach parity with cyclists. Runners have the advantage on grades greater than 17%, as the weight of the bicycle becomes a bigger penalty than the efficiency it affords.

Cyclists use Mt Ascutney as a benchmark to gauge time up Mt Washington. Ascutney can be visited anytime to test one's self, unlike Washington. I've shown with a large statistical sample that it takes about 2.25 times longer to climb Mt Washington than Mt Ascutney. The variance is surprisingly small. I've received many comments from Washington cyclists that they were within seconds of their time predicted from Ascutney's performance.

Last year I did my first uphill running race on Mt Ascutney. This year I made it through the Mt Washington foot race lottery.  I've had a bit of a setback with a calf injury the last couple weeks, but I'm still hopeful to participate in the Mt Washington race.

I got to wondering. Can foot race times on Ascutney be used to predict Washington foot race times? If so, what is the ratio? How does it compare with the cycling ratio?

It turns out that all seven top finishers on Ascutney last year also did Mt Washington. I'll spare you a table with boring numbers, but the average of their Washington to Ascutney  ratios came out to be 2.254! Can you believe it? Exactly the same as cycling. Granted, this is small data set, but the variance was pretty small. I wouldn't expect it to shift by much with a larger sample base from multiple years.

Based on my time on Mt Ascutney last year, I should be able to do Mt Washington on foot in about 80 minutes. This is much faster than I would expect. On the bike, I always fall very close to the 2.25 ratio. I had hoped to improve my 35 minute time on Ascutney by a minute or two this year, since I have a year of running under my belt now. Just have to get past this injury and ease into hill training, which can particularly stress the calves.

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