A few years back a gal on the forum was concerned with how steep the hills would be that year. I couldn’t tell her very well at that time, but I have recently found a tool that helps. It’s called “Ride with GPS at http://www.ridewithgps.com. This program can be used to plot a course. This will show distance, feet of climb and an elevation chart. I have been using this for a while, but just found a button on the bottom left that says grade. Clicking this shows the grade at any point of the ride. I was really excited at first, but then realized that it is not as accurate as I had thought. For example I have just done a 125 mile ride in California that showed a hill with an 8% grade for about half a mile. When I got there my Garmin said it was 10% for nearly a mile. On another ride, Ride with GPS said there was a 3% grade where it was actually flat. So, it would be best to test it on a ride you know.
I have plotted the days of Ragbrai 2018 and thought I would give you highlights of what I found. There are certainly more hills than I mention, but these are the steepest of the day. This is what I got from Ride with GPS, so with my example in mind I believe they are a little steeper.
Day 1 6.3 at mile 13, and another at mile 37.
Day 2 3.9 at mile 2
Day 3 5.0 at mile 35, and 6.9 at mile 44
Day 4 3.7 at mile 53, and the same at mile 57
Day 5 3.6 at mile 25, 4.2 at mile 60, and 4.0 at mile 102 Obviously with the Karras loop
Day 6 3.6 at mile 5, and at mile 37
Day 7 4.0 at mile 48, and 4.9 at mile 56
Many of you will scoff at a 3.6% grade. I point these out because if they are proportionally as accurate as my example, then a 3.6 would really be 4.5%. A four percent grade is about where I have to start working on my recumbent. In any case, these are the steepest of the day. Doesn’t look anything like the hill in Ottumwa. Certainly no Potter’s Hill this year.
Of course we can’t forget about what the weather will do to us! May the tailwinds be with you!