Wow, as I clicked "New Post," I noticed this is blog #100. What a milestone. Haha ;)
So, I'm getting annoyed with all these devices that measure elevation gain. Before I get into it, let me preface this by saying: I don't really care how many feet I climb per se, hard work is hard work; however, I'd like to gauge my routes (running or riding) relative to the races I'm doing. Also, it's nice when someone says "I climbed 6,000 ft today" to be able and put that in perspective of what I do. So if I'm invited on a ride like that, I kind of know what to expect.
That said: Garmin, the iBike and online tools all give me VERY different numbers. I wouldn't care if the difference was only 100-300 ft, but 2,000-3,000 ft of difference is significant. Meanwhile, all the other stats match up: total miles, avg/max mph, etc. On Saturday's ride, we rode ~55 miles on what I consider a hilly route. The Garmin said 5,200 feet of elevation gain, the iBike said 3,200 feet. Entering the route online gives even bigger numbers... like 6,000 ft+ (www.veloroutes.org).
One thing I know about the iBike is this: Apparently, it only adds up what is considers "climbing," not just gradual elevation gains. Don't ask me how it does that, but in that little device it decides what a hill is and will add those feet up, but it doesn't care if you're on a 2% incline for 10 miles--those feet are ignored. Read more on that here if you wish.
But, really, a 2,000 ft difference between Garmin and iBike? I wonder what a PowerTap or SRM or whatever else there is would say??
A lot of people say the Garmins are full of it. Ian said he gained 1,000 feet of elevation on a trainer session in his living room. Classic! Others say the elevation changes as it sits on a desk. I have a Garmin Forerunner 405, and if it's been overestimating, then at least it makes me feel like a champ for climbing that much! :)
What are you guys using? And how much do you trust your device?? Do you compare stats with your training partners? I want a comment from James on this topic, because he seems to be the most dialed-in blogger out there! :)
AND: What device are race directors using to tell us the elevation gain in Ironmans, 70.3s, running races, etc? How accurate are their devices? Like I said in the beginning... really, all I want to know is if the training routes I ride/run are the best for my races this year. If they're "weak" then I'm ready and willing to step it up!!!
Switching gears a little... what about POWER?
Ah, power = work/time, also, = force x velocity. Basically, how fast can you get your @$$ (and its mass) to cover X miles? Spin faster, apply more torque!
I'm using the iBike, and I'm sure it's not a "perfect" device (is there such a thing?), but it was a lot cheaper and at least gives me something to work with power-wise as I set out to become a better cyclist. One thing I was told: even if the watts aren't exactly right on, the iBike is consistent--and that's important in measuring progress (or the bad days, ugh).
I know guys are animals and can drop some big watts. But I want to know more about women aka my competition! (All in good fun, of course.)
SOOOO MY QUESTION TO THE LADIES: I'm curious what sort of watts women around my age and/or ability level get on their rides. If you're a girl and wouldn't mind telling me some of the watts you're putting out, I'd appreciate it. (Send me private emails or FB messages if you wish.) Maggs, I saw on your blog that you have a PowerTap... talk to me pleeeease!
I read that for women, holding 3 watts per kg body weight is considered good. For me that's 180 watts (I weigh 60 kg).
I also read an old Triathlete Mag article where Linsey Corbin is said to hold 265 watts in a 40k TT and 210 watts over 112 miles. And she weighs like 120 lbs (~54 kg). Daaaamn, that's good! Same article: Tyler Stewart held 228 during ironman Florida 2007. Wow. I won't even get into the watts that the best guys are putting out.
As far as my watts so far--I don't really want to tell you guys my numbers just yet because it seems like I need to work on increasing my power :) But that's going off what the iBike says; I wonder how accurate it is? Would a PowerTap or SRM tell me something different? Too bad I don't have the money to do that experiment!
Last but not least: I know it's not "all about the numbers." But I believe this sort of data will help someone become a better athlete, and I'm trying to become better educated on these things so I can help myself and OTHERS. In the end, it's all about implementing the right training if you want to become a better athlete. Intensities, the routes on which you train, volume, rest, frequency, etc, etc, etc.