Saturday, June 16, 2007

16 June: Kentville/ Canaan/ Gaspereau Valley/ Grand Pre/ Windsor via the dikes/ Kentville via back roads

This was a fun ride in variable but cool weather despite the forecast of clear mid-20's. The cloud cover was my fault: after sun-burning my nose last Saturday I bought some sun-block for the first time in my life-- put some on before leaving home too. Murphy's Law then took over.

The Gaspereau River road is always a great place to ride (except when bridges are being replaced, per all last summer!) and despite skinny road tires I really enjoyed the leisurely and trafficless amble along the dirt (and in some places gravelly) dike road (just don't ask me to take my shiny road bike there when it's wet and muddy). Although it was a major shock to the system to encounter other cyclists...

My data for this ride falls short by about 15 or so km because I decided to head for home from Woofville while I still had the energy and to make sure I didn't get caught on the road by dusk. (and actually the first 1 or 2km leading to the foot of the hill were a different route from the rest of you) I had biked in from Mt Uniacke and didn't make the start line in time (nor did I expect to get even as close as I did).

Some statistics of the ride:

-distance 32.4km to the point where I broke off to head for home (Windsor) while most of the rest returned to Kentville.

-average speed minimum 15.5 (not counting stops!); I was riding sweeper for most of the ride (recovering from the ride in) so everyone else was faster

-Maximum: 45.7kph but I'm sure many were faster at some point during the descent to the Gaspereau

-Total riding time 2hours 16minutes, less for most

-Total time stopped 2hours 01minutes, more for most (lunch: 1h 20min)

-Time climbing 51min = 37% = 9.73km; Total Ascent 277m (207m of that in the first 9km (1h including stops)). The hill just before lunch from the Gaspereau to Grand Pre was only 34m over 1km (5min)

-Steepest section 300m (2min 30 sec) at 9% (which included 100m at 10%). The major section of the climb to Canaan, 2.3km (15min 30sec) between the two stops at intersections, ascended 90m at an average gradient of 3.9% although .5km towards the end of that was essentially flat; the initial part, the first 500m (4min 30sec) which included the steepest section, had an average gradient of 7.6%. (times are for the tail-end; the eagles and jackrabbits were faster of course. I was ridiculously happy to hang at the back and take it easy during the climb)

-number of slopes (what the computer considers significant ascents):2.

-Time descending 33min = 25% = 12.23km

-One might still be forgiven for assuming the Total Descent would be the same as the Total Ascent, but again no!, the computer says it was 295m... Might have something to do with the dike road being logged at +6m whereas in fact it is below sea level. (Altitude comes from a barometric altimeter, and changes in air pressure due to weather systems and localized anomalies cause the inaccuracies.)

-Minumum altitude 5m, maximum 199m, average 54m. During the ride the actual altitude that showed on the display unit was 207m at the top of the hill, but the software allows me to do a rough altitude correction post-ride by setting the "end" altitude to be the same as at the "start". But there are still errors inherent in any barometric altimeter over a period of hours and/or a long distance.

-I burned off about 834 kcalories, with 14,506 heartbeats but both those numbers will vary widely from one rider to another.

And now the graphs. I have left the speed curve on most of them, in case anyone may find that of interest. You will also see little "xxxbpm" notes along the blue line at the bottom; these are my average heart rate for each segment. I could delete them from the graphs but it is a timeconsuming job.

The whole route



The climb up from Kentville to about Canaan


The descent to the Gaspereau River



Along the Gaspereau River road to Walbrook and then the climb to Grand Pre for lunch

After lunch, a nice long rest and good eats, the dike road to Woofville


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A comment on feeding during longer rides; someone commented that there is the same energy in an Eatmore bar as in a Powerbar... There are 2 differences, first that the Powerbar
contains a lot in addition to just the energy (trace nutrients, electrolytes, etc) and also the energy is released over a period of about an hour (different forms of sugar) whereas your basic candy or chocolate bar gives you a large energy dump essentially all at once which leads to a sugar rush but also a sugar collapse in not too long (medical professionals may disagree with my terminology but the effect is there all the same). Anyways I find that, for all that they are not exactly tasty eating, the Powerbars are pretty effective, but one has to remember to take them with several ounces of water, as specified on the packaging, to obtain the optimum effect. Also there are several different formulations of Powerbar for everything from diets to I don't know what. We need the "Sport Energy Bar" type. I find the vanilla flavour tastes best, but it turns to a lump of glue after a few hours in a back pocket on a warm day. The chocolate flavour gets soft but can still be eaten without a major fight with the package. There are a couple of flavours with caffeine which I'd like to try but Powerbar Canada doesn't distribute those, for crying out loud!
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How I spent my day... arising at the (for me) ridiculous hour of 7 while the dog looked at me askance, raising only one eyebrow to do it. Set off at 8am in mizzling and cold weather, eventually picking up a ray of sunshine in front of John Webb's place, only to lose it on the Bog Road in Falmouth. Also found a nice tailwind which got me to Woofville at the rather unexpected hour of 10, and to Kentville in time to find the club at the bottom of the hill. Biking home after the ride was right into the teeth of the same 20kph wind that had been behind me in the morning, so the return was harder and slower. Those who looked closely at the elevation/distance curve will note that a section is not a mirror image, out vs home. Yep, I stuck to the coast road between Avonport and Hantsport rather than face the hill between them on Hwy 1. The coast road actually involves more ascending and a couple of additional km but the climbing is broken into more manageable bits. Got rained on twice going back, and a few spots of mizzle, but also had sunshine in front of John's place again! When I got home the first thing I had to do was trade the road bike for the mountain bike and take the dog for a few km walk (he walks, I ride).

It took 6 water bottles (5 with an endurance energy drink, 1 of just water to wash down Power Bars), 3 bananas, 2 power bars, and one large but light lunch to get through the day (plus some breakfast of course).
Expended 4700 calories, but this is probably not a good way to lose weight because once I got home I spent the next 3 hours putting things in my mouth! (things other than my foot, that is (a nice change, some might say))

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