Elevations

With the actual route being released. Has anybody figured out the actual elevations in feet instead of kilometers?
Just curious, if my figures are correct it appears that our first climb, 5 miles in is around 800 feet.

21 Replies

David, March 18, 2019 at 11:45 am

In actual/absolute elevation at the top of the first ridge is around 1200 feet. The relative climb is only around 200ft or 250ft if you start measuring further back.

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DenBiker, March 18, 2019 at 1:31 pm

That first climb is right at 200 ft. The climb profile is somewhat misleading. They used “K” to mean 1000 so 1.0k is 1000 feet 1.1 1100 feet etc. Just remember that K DOES NOT mean kilometers – at least this time it doesn’t.

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Mark Chronister, March 18, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Thank you DenBiker that clarified things for me. I was thinking kilometers.

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DenBiker, March 18, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Not sure why they chose to use K this year. Maybe they just got tired of typing 000s. Frankly it was less confusing when they used 900, 1000, 1100, 1200 etc.

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KenH, March 18, 2019 at 3:05 pm

“k” always means 1000 unless you are talking to a computer scientist, then it means 1024! The abbreviation for kilometer is km as in “k” for 1000 plus “m” for meter. Anyone who uses “k” for kilometer is the one causing confusion. You will see k used in place of kOhms on electronics forums because Ohms is too much to type and no one can remember how to key in the Ω symbol. But it is a form of laziness that becomes infectious and leads eventually to people typing k for km even though the m is neither much trouble nor hard to find.

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Larry Klaaren, March 18, 2019 at 5:50 pm

“k” always means 1000 unless you are talking to a computer scientist, then it means 1024! The abbreviation for kilometer is km as in “k” for 1000 plus “m” for meter. Anyone who uses “k” for kilometer is the one causing confusion

It is confusing, but in running K is almost always used for kilometer as in 10K runs. I have seen this in the description of recreational bike rides also, as in a choice of 100 mile or 100 K routes.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Larry Klaaren.

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hnschipper, March 18, 2019 at 7:20 pm

“k” always means 1000 unless you are talking to a computer scientist, then it means 1024! The abbreviation for kilometer is km as in “k” for 1000 plus “m” for meter. Anyone who uses “k” for kilometer is the one causing confusion

It is confusing, but in running K is almost always used for kilometer as in 10K runs. I have seen this in the description of recreational bike rides also, as in a choice of 100 mile or 100 K routes.

Yep. In the ultrarunning community, races are always designated k or m (kilometers or miles). I’ve never seen an ultramarathon here in the US with the km designation.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by hnschipper.

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KenH, March 19, 2019 at 8:08 am

I am not disputing what you two are saying about the running community but it is THEY, not the people who use the term correctly who are causing the confusion. In a given context it is ok to use k in this fashion but if you do not keep it straight that k actually stands for kilo, a modifier that means 1000 and which can be used with any numeric quantity (and was for decades before the running community was even a thing), then you will be confused every time you switch contexts. Blame the runners, not the rest of us!

The first clue should have been that the elevations go up to close to 1.6k which would be a mile if 1.6km had been meant. Omaha/Council Bluffs is not the mile high city, Denver is! The second clue was that the chart talks about feet of climb. The contextual clues were there….

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DenBiker, March 19, 2019 at 8:41 am

On to something else– At first glance the elevation profile today makes Tuesday’s ride look flat. It is not! The scale used in the profile is not the same as on Sunday’s and Monday’s ride. What appear to be relatively small bumps on Tuesday’s route are actually real honest to goodness hills. Don’t be fooled – there are some decent climbs on Tuesday.

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Brian Wallenburg, March 21, 2019 at 8:50 am

I love hills! It’s a great way to spread the riders out. Nothing worse than trying to ride through a clump of riders 5 or 6 wide, all going the same speed.

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Don Eldredge, March 22, 2019 at 5:35 pm

I’m a first time RAGBRAI rider and very excited for the ride but somewhat concerned. I am from Florida and it is REALLY FLAT here. I’m seeing 2000+ foot of elevation change in 60ish miles and that seems like a lot! Just did a training ride today 60 miles and had 490 ft elevation change. I am assuming there are some long climbs… but are they steep? I understand that eating pie helps you climb better. If I start eating lots of pie will I be ok in the hills? (Lol)

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David, March 22, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Don, that is similar to the flatter rides I found on the eastern shore of Maryland. Ragbrai isn’t crazy hilly this year but it will be far hillier than that. You won’t have any long climbs like mountains but there are a lot of rollers and some 1-2 mile climbs with up to 250ft of gain. Remember it is a ride, not a race. There will be plenty of people slower than you. If you are already doing 60-mile training rides then you are far ahead of most, even if they were flat miles.

One thing people tend to struggle with on rollers is getting their shifting right. You can save a lot of energy maintaining your momentum and cadence. Just remember to be safe and consider the riders around you.

Not all is lost training in flats. Shift into a high gear, stay seated and push hard for 1/2 to a mile. Preferably into a headwind. Then shift down and recover for a similar distance, then go again. Remember to stay seated when climbing hills, it is more efficient. If you need to stand to make it up the hill then shift into a lower gear if possible.

In my observation, people don’t actually struggle on the hills as much as they expect. It is the attrition from being on their bike so many hours and days, the miles, heat, humidity, sun, and wind. You can get your body acclimated to that riding on flats. So enjoy your training and you will love ragbrai as well.

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Don Eldredge, March 23, 2019 at 11:50 am

David,
Many thanks for all the good advise and encouragement. I know my wife (she’s stronger than me) and I will have a great time.

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Jeff Hansen, March 24, 2019 at 11:28 am

Don
I know what you mean by the wife being strong than you that is me. My wife will be at the top of the hill and I am about only half way up the hill.

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Charlie S, March 26, 2019 at 10:05 am

In my observation, people don’t actually struggle on the hills as much as they expect. It is the attrition from being on their bike so many hours and days, the miles, heat, humidity, sun, and wind. You can get your body acclimated to that riding on flats. So enjoy your training and you will love ragbrai as well.

I agree with this, but since I’ve only ridden RAGBRAI twice, take this thumbs-up for what it’s worth. If you are used to spending the day on your bike, in less than perfect weather, the hills, at least over the past couple of rides, are not terribly daunting.

RAGBRAI is really a series of fairly short rides of 20 or so miles. Like it or not (and I like this feature of RAGBRAI), you are almost certainly going to have to walk you bike through most of the pass-through towns. This is often a welcome break, and nearly always a pleasant one. I also make it a point to stop at each Iowa Craft Brewing tent and have a local cold one in the shade. Again, another pleasant rest stop.

The usual advice to get about 1,000 miles in before RAGBRAI is, in my limited experience, pretty sound and one of the keys to having a good time. Don’t sweat the hills.

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