I’ve Lost My Engineering Skillz!

I’ve apparently completely forgotten how to be an Engineer. In my last post about climbing Haleakela I screwed up the Drag calculation.

The advisor for the Purdue cycling club is a Professor in Physics and happened to stumble accross my blog about calculating power and pointed out the error I made.
I stated earlier that Drag has a square relation to velocity. This is still true, what I forgot to factor is that Drag is a measure of Force and not Power. This is easily solved as one of the methods of calculating power is by multiplying Force and Velocity.
This means that the Drag component of my power requirements do not have a square relation to velocity, but a cubed relationship.
Power(from Drag) ~ velocity^3
Earlier I stated that my Drag would have been 64% of Ryder’s, but with this new relationship it would actually be 50.9%. This further means that my portion of Power to counteract drag would have only been 12.3% of my overall output.
New average Wattage:
224.6 Watts
Thanks Prof. Hirsch

Maui Pt. 2

The volcano of Haleakala, at 10,000 ft and 36 miles it’s one long ass climb. I’ll just keep it short. In a nut shell: there was a lot of mind numbingly long climbing.

You almost have to start the climb early in the morning. The Trade Winds (whatever those are) are blowing a ton of warm air over the island this time of year, which means in the morning all the mountains start pretty clear, but by mid day they act as a conducting rod for clouds and rainfall. So unless you want to be swimming down the descent you have to start early. My parents dropped me off in the morning and were going to pick me up midway down to head back to the hotel. They also meet me at the top to see the Volcanic crater.
Once I got above 9000 ft people driving by would start slowing down and yelling out their car windows. One Asian tour bus pulled a long side and was taking a bunch of pictures.
So here are a bunch of pictures, and then I’ll geek out.
Long way to go from here

This is just about the hardest part of the climb, there are a gazillion switchbacks (Actually 23) before you even enter the park. And while most of the 36 miles is a manageable 5% or so, this few miles is like 7%.

Alright time go geek out.
A lot of people have power meters on their bicycles to measure how much power their putting through the pedals in order to measure their training. In leu of that I’m going to be doing some dimensional analysis to derive out my average wattage for the climb. Here is the Garmin info (unfortunately I forgot to turn on the stupid thing until I stopped for the first time)
More specifically here’s the info from the climb specifically (All in all I think it took me about 3 hours and 15 minutes with stops):

So first I’ll calculate the amount of watt’s I was putting out assuming a 3:15:00 climb of 10,000.
Given values are:
Weight: 150 lbs + 20 lbs (bike+water) = 77.1 kg
Height: 10,000 ft = 3048 m
Power is simply the amount of Work done/time
Work in this case will be calculated amount of Potential Energy change over the ride in Joules.
(Delta) U = mass * g * (delta) h
2305 (kJ) = 77.1(kg) * 9.81(m/s^2) * 3048 (m)
Then Power (neglecting any wind or bike+road resistance, and slowing down) is:
Power = (Delta)U / time (s)
197.0 (W) = 2,305,400 (J) / 11,700 (s)
Now it’s time to really stretch out some assumptions.
By comparison when Ryder Hesjedal did his Haleakela ride he finished in 2:32:51.
His power meter recorded an average 349 Watts. He is slightly heaver (160 lbs) but was using a nice Felt which probably weight 16 lbs, for a total weight of 176 lbs (79.8 kg).
Using the same dimensional analysis I used on my ascent his power output that went directly to climbing would be:
260 Watts
Meaning on average only 74.5% of his total energy output went to climbing the mountain, the rest was sucked up by wind and road resistance.
To calibrate my wattage I’ll neglect rolling resistance, since it’s usually pretty tiny, and focus on wind resistance. Drag has a squared relationship to velocity, D~v^2.
Ryder’s average ascent speed was 13.9 mph, while mine was about 11.1 mph.
This means that based on the square relation of air velocity alone my drag should be about 64% of Ryder’s, meaning that I used more like 16.3 % of my total energy to fight the wind and 84.7% to climb.
That would bump me up to 235.4 Watts for the climb
But that is not all, I am a lot smaller than him 5’10” to 6’2″. Which means he had a bigger sail. Form drag, or the amount of drag generated by an objects shape or size is a direct relationship to Drag. So assuming height is a good indicator of sail like ness, I have probably 94.6% the drag coefficient he does, further lowering my portion of Drag to 15.4% of my total power output
Bringing me back down a tick.
Final Estimated Wattage (using a hole mess of assumptions, which is how most Rockets are really built):
232.86 Watts
Not bad for a vacation ride

Sandwich Islands

Just back from Hawaii and the beautiful island of Maui. Spent most of the time on the beach working on my tan, swimming with sea turtles (and in one case a reef Shark, which freaked me out after watching an entire week of Shark Week).

I also managed to find a way to work some bicycling on the island. I got set up with West Maui cycles to rent a bike for a few days of our trip. The guys at the shop were pretty lame, not talkative and in pretty sour moods. I mean you live on an island paradise with perfect weather year round and work at a bike shop…what else could you really want from life. Not only that, but when I asked them to swap out stems (since customers weren’t allowed to touch bikes and tools at the same time), it only took them half an hour to figure out how to re-assemble the headset with a stem that had a shorter stack height (hint: add one more spacer)
Anyway the rental bike was a Cannondale Super Six with Ultegra and the whole BB30 thing going. Needless to say that bike was absolutely sick, light, and super stiff.
So Maui, the island, is composed of of two dormant volcanic mountains, with an isthmus connecting the two.

I didn’t know what the hell an isthmus was either….apparently its some flat land connecting to larger land masses, like volcanoes.
Anyway my first big ride of the island adventure was around the mountain on West Maui, which was about 60 miles. I thought, no biggie, I’m a Cat. 1, I can get it done in like 3 hours.
I was oh so wrong, I started from our Hotel in Kaanapali and went north. The first 5 miles were deceptively flat, then boom a 300 ft climb, which is big when things come to the Midwest.
The road continued rolling along up to the rocky northern of the island coast of west Maui. Once on the north side the coast line became jagged cliffs. This meant that when the road came to each bay, it would descend into the bay, then climb back out…at something like 12% for a mile. After a brief respite the road would dip into another bay.

The road in the distance in the picture above was the doosie of the day at well over 17% for like a mile, ugh.

I was still in pretty good spirits, and my nose was not yet sun burnt. Then I noticed a sign: State Highway Ends. The road was generally alright after the sign, a little more rough but nothing too bad. The road then took another right hander down into a bay containing the extraordinarily remote town of Old Kahakuloa. At this point about 1.5 lanes of the two lane road disappeared, leaving something of a bike path that was barely wide enough for a single car.

This was also the beginning of the largest climb on the ride, a brutal 1000 ft climb that stair stepped over the course of 5 miles.

As I crested the climb, the fruits of the 1000 ft climb became apparent. The first was the reintroduction of state highway and butter smooth pavement descent, the second was a great view of Kahului (the large town of Maui) and the mountain of Haleakela.

I was pretty smoked by this point. But after the descent I was treated to some of the characteristic Trade Winds that came out of the north and pushed me back at 40 mph most of the way back.

This was a very very Epic ride, nearly as epic as the ride up Haleakela: which requires a blog post for itself, later.

Elk Grove: Best Race in Elk Grove

Elk Grove, home of the most ridiculously large prize list is a staple of every Mid-West racers calender. I agree with most that the course MIGHT be improved, but you cant deny first the large prize list, lack of Pro’s in the 1/2 category, and great involvement from the people in the Village of Elk Grove.

This race doesn’t suit me particularly well, I’m not one for a lot of accelerations (180 degree turns) or bumping and grinding. That being said my personal races went a lot better than the last years where I missed the break on the first day an finished in the last money spot, and didn’t even place on the second day.
On Saturday Panther was doing a great job of leading out, but I got boxed off the lead out train which disrupted some of the teams plans.
Sunday went a little better. It was difficult to get organized in such a hectic race, but Paul, Ryan and I got together on the last lap and kept it together. But our position out of the last corner didn’t improve much and we finished 6th, 7th, and 8th. At least we had some team unity going across the finish.
Anyway it’s wise to put mediocre performances behind you and move on to the next big thing. Which is the Charlotte Criterium this Saturday. With it’s 1.1 ranking on the NRC calender and $50,000 in prize money for the Pro’s it shouldn’t be too difficult. The winner of the race gets $12,500, so I’ll probably be throwing some 22’s on my Mazda after this weekend is over.

Presbyterian Hospital Criterium from Michael Desmond on Vimeo.

Probably more exciting than me winning $12,000 this weekend, most likely, is the fact that at the end of August I’m going to Hawaii with my family. Specifically to the island of Maui for some serious beach time, swimming, luau-ing, pineapple eating, and riding up the longest climb in the world (I think?) Mt. Haleakala.

The climb starts off in the town of Paia and climbs up over 10,000 feet over 36 miles. There is a yearly race up to the summit Cycle to the Sun which costs a whopping $200! They don’t even let you ride down either while the race is going on. Lame
Or I can just pay $50 and ride down the mountain on a Cruiser bike in a full face helmet. They say there’s a good chance for broken bone, facial injury, or death? Sounds like my kind of ride