Ten to One

No not the odds on Chris Froome not riding any Grand Tours next year, but a little math I like to keep in mind when I’m out for a training ride.

Living in Nimes I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to terrain to ride on. I’ve got plenty of ‘lumpy’, some real climbs not far away, and pancake flat roads down south in the Camargue. For the record, I hate riding on flats. I think I’m still traumatized from this trip in Australia all those years ago. Whatever the reason, and even though my physique doesn’t scream ‘Romain Bardet’ (thank goodness), I like to climb.

Over the years I’ve latched onto a couple of ‘ratios’ that I use to determine whether my ride has been ‘climby’ or not.

10-1: The first number is meters climbed and the second, kilometers ridden. So, if I do a 60 km ride and climb 600 meters, I consider that lumpy on the low side.

20-1: If I find a route of the same distance, but can manage to squeeze in 1200 meters of climbing, we’re well into ‘climby’ territory.

Everything in between is just great and anything below hurts my bum.

I think this might only work well in Metric, but I’d be interested to know if anyone else out there cares about these things and if so, how do you know when you’re getting the elevation in.


22 thoughts on “Ten to One

  1. I am of the same thought and living where I live in the hilly Caledon area, it at least affords some climbing. My number is always 10-1 as this is always hard to fulfill on a good day. In other words it’s 10 kms traveled for every 100 meters of climbing, it keep’s me honest.

  2. I used to evaluate cyclosportives with that sort of ratio. Of course, I must point out that it’s 100:1.
    60000m distance with 600m climbing

  3. Up here in North of Germany it’s more repeat the same climb x times. More likely to choose your ride by wind direction. In times even one way by train, one way by bike. Especially in winter more than 120 with tailwind is nice for the psych… Or when it’s wet and deep, cyclocross to road is 1:2 or 1:3. 50 km feel like 100 or even 150 km

  4. I’m also a user of the 10:1 ratio. My local rides all come out pretty much bang on 100m of climbing per 10km. No major climbs just continual rolling terrain. I can chuck in a climb here and there for more metres, but it’s hard to get any flatter. Tasmania is lumpy!

  5. lol I do the same thing! My friends look at how many miles we ride while I look at how many feet per mile. It’s flat around here with no mountains. In order to get decent footage I have to search. I’m always looking for detours or “stingers” I can add to the club rides to add just a few more feet. Maybe some day I’ll do some real climbing. I can only dream….

      • Home is San Antonio, Texas. No mountains, but we do live in the hill country. What that means is short 3-7% rollers but if you search, you can find short 20% climbs. If I put them together right I can get 5,000 ft in 60 miles. Those are my favorite rides!

  6. I like that 10km:100m ratio or as as one of your commenters pointed out 100:1. I’ve never looked at it that way before. Doing all turbo training at the moment and I do get some mystery meters during my hour indoors! Thanks for the tip Gerry.

  7. Very interesting Gerry. In 2017 I did 13,125 km with 129,876 meters, which is a 9.89 ratio. My ‘single bike’ ratio is 11.1. And in the Pyrenees the 7 days produced a ratio of 25.9!

  8. There is more: in 2017 I did 56 rides with 0 climbing. We live in a totally flat place. Closest hills are 20 miles away to the east, 50 miles to the west, and over 200 miles to the north and south. The Central Valley is huge! And I did another 30 rides with less that 300 meters.

    • I never thought to check my whole year’s stats, so thanks for the idea! My ratio is nearly 13 for last year, but you know I don’t live in a flat valley like you do. I’m always amazed at the amount of climbing you do over there, actually!

      And yeah, the Pyrenees takes the cake for ‘ratio’ on our tours so far. I wonder how Northern Alps will compare….?

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