Friday, October 19, 2012

friday ramblings: ride differences

I have access to lots of different types of trails, but rarely think about them. I don't often actually look at my GPS. I just push record, push stop, say "oh, 9 miles" and that's it. I don't want to worry and stress about it, I'm more the type to "feel" how my horse is going.

But my recent ride made me look, just for fun, so I mapped out an elevation chart and stats:

Auburn to Cool: 14.8 miles, 2:40 moving time, 5.5 mph, elevation gain 2,545 feet

Granite Bay: 9.6 miles, 1:52 moving time, 5.1 mph, elevation gain 899 feet

Skillman: 19.3 miles, 4:08 moving time, 4.7 mph, elevation gain 2,600

Lake by moonlight: 6.6 miles, 1:45 moving time, 3.8 mph, elevation gain 439

From looking at these tracks I quantify what I already knew, like why my time to Granite Bay is usually slow (all those little up and down and up and down where we have to slow). And Auburn to Cool is hard, lots of down, lots of up. Skillman is nice because it is up, then level, up then level. And the lake is great, nice and level the whole way once you're out of the forest.

It is fun to look at this, though I don't take the time to compare ride to ride. There are too many variables, like did I go with a friend where we chatted a lot, was the lake by moonlight or during the day, was it extra hot that day? I could see how this could be interesting for doing the same track over and over, but I rarely do that and am not that organized. For endurance rides you've done before it would be interesting to compare one year to the next, though again the variables are hard to control for. My average speed, even when moving pretty fast on these trails, is "slow" for endurance. These technical trails don't lend themselves to (safely, for me) much more speed.

If I was to really worry about this, I would not have fun. Like I said a few posts ago, there is training and fun, and sometimes it is both. Some people get very interested (or worried) about their progress. Some, like me, just don't worry so much. So why track with GPS anyway? Because the geek in me thinks it's fun to see elevation on a ride, or how many miles we're doing, or how the ride that seemed like eternity was only 12 miles. For me it's not to reach a certain goal, but just in general. I've never set out to say "We're doing XX miles this week." I know that works for some people, but I have a love/hate relationship with deadlines, lists and goals, (mostly hate, though long-term goals I'm OK with).

As an interesting exercise and avoiding actual work on a Friday, this was an excellent project...


  1. I love break downs like this. Very cool!

    1. thanks! I like to see what other riders do on rides, so I figured I'd contribute!