I'm 'Doomed'

Nothing that a little surgery can't fix. ... Actually, this is a giant woodcarving hewn from a tree with a very unusual growth along the path in the park known as Divoka Sarka.

I faced down the dreaded Hill of Doom (HoD) last night (July 25), and while I succeeded in my summit attempt, I was made to pay the price.

I probably shouldn't have tried. I'm still trying to get rid of some lingering bronchitis, and the HoD wreaks havoc on my lungs even when I'm feeling good. Last night, I got to the top and my throat was raw and throbbing. I felt really bad.

To make matters worse, I was struck a few minutes later by some sort of allergy attack (at least I hope that's what it was). I began sneezing and my eyes started to get watery and my nose started itching. Combined with my raw throat, I was a wreck for the rest of the evening.

I'm not feeling tip-top the day after, either.

For my exact route, click here. It's also possible to click the KML button above the route to create a file that you can import into Google Earth for a 3-D flyover. It's very, very cool.

On the plus side, I used my Garmin Edge 305 GPS device to take note of the elevation at the bottom of the HoD (236 meters), and then again at the top (314 meters). I also recorded the length of the ascent (820 meters). So I should be able to calculate the gradient of the HoD, one of the goals of getting the Garmin in the first place.

I was reading on another cycling website that to determine gradient, I should calculate height gained divided by distance traveled times 100. That would give the Hill of Doom a gradient of 9.5% (78 meters divided by 820 meters times 100), if my math is correct.

(There's also a tabulation for Total Ascent on the Garmin, which gave me 49 meters at the bottom and 122 meters at the top, or 73 meters, I believe, compared with the 78 meters comparing elevation at the top and the bottom. I'm not sure which one to go with, so I'll go with elevation, which makes it slightly steeper -- 8.9% compared with 9.5%.)

I did have some problems with the heart monitor on the Garmin during my ride. I was interested in seeing my heart rate as I climbed the HoD. The monitor wraps around your chest and communicates wirelessly with the Garmin. It simply stopped working after a few minutes on the bike and then seemed to kick back in again.

If the reading was correct, my heart rate was 180 beats per minute on the toughest part of the hill. It stopped working at the top of the hill, though, and then kicked back in showing my heart pumping at 240 bpm, which I am assuming was an error.

I guess I'll call the company. Or maybe I should call the hospital!

Distance: 21 kilometers
Average speed: 16.9 kph
Maximum speed: 36.1 kph
Time on the bike: 1.13.09
Distance ridden in 2007: 1,187.5 kilometers

La La La

Last week, I met my friend Carlo for a drink in Prague. That's him below.

Carlo's a cyclist, mathematician, cook, and piano player. He lives in Australia but is moving to Prague in January. He had read this blog and had sent me an e-mail and we struck up a conversation about bike routes and mapping services, like bikely.com.

Carlo is the first person I've met in person through this blog. I've been corresponding with many others, either through the published posts or in individual e-mails. It's been an unexpected -- and pleasurable -- part of my blogging experience.

Carlo is also a fellow blogger. I highly recommend his enigmatic blog, which isn't limited to cycling. I especially like his latest post about the functionality of everyday things.

Considering he's a mathematician, I may need his help with the equation I've found to figure out the relative gradient of Prague's many hills.


Daisy, Emma, and I are leaving soon for two weeks of holiday in one of our favorite spots in all the world -- the village of Brela on the Adriatic coast in Croatia. It will be our fourth year in Brela, which remains unspoiled, quiet, and charming.

It's just north of Makarska, or about one hour by car south of Split. I hate to even mention Brela for fear of ruining it. Kind of like a restaurant critic not wanting to write about his favorite unknown eatery.

The water is swimming-pool clear, the food fresh and delicious and cheap, and the beer's not bad, either. The wine is even better. The people are friendly, and the scenery is stunning.

It must be what the French Riviera felt like back in the 1920s or so, before the big hotels sprang up and hordes of tourists spoiled everything.

I'll get back on my bike, and back to the blog, as soon as I return.

Even Prague is starting to pay attention to the needs of cyclists.

I passed this gas station on my way home. Petrol is around 31 Czech crowns per liter here, or $1.52. There are about 4.5 liters in a gallon. That comes out to be about $6.84 per gallon. A good reason to ride your bike.


It's funny how we meet each other. I got your blog from Adventure Cycling magazine.

Don't fret too much about the math. After all, once you find the answers you will probably never use them.

Enjoy your holiday.
Tyler said…
there are a couple of ways to calculate your ideal heart rate training zones. a general rule for the deconditioned is to subract your age from the figure 220 the result being the estimated max heart rate for you. another way is to perform a max heart rate test then you'll know the true figure for you. however, a max heart rate test is potentially high risk, so I wouldn't advise you to do this. so i won't explain how to. once you know your max heart rate, you split it into 5 levels. level 1 being 50-60%, level 2 60-70% etc. then you move into a different discussion according to your training aim. if you want to know more let me know. Tyler
Coach said…
The Garmin Edge 305 calculates gradient for you, so no need to bother with the manual calculation. Also, if the HRM stopped working and then started again but displayed 240BPM, then this was most likely caused by a bad connection between the strap and your chest. Used to happen with my Timex HRM, but not with my Edge 305, because, after much experimentation with various semi-liquids, I find a pea-sized dab of KY jelly under the strap contact point gives a good contact 100% of the time.
Grant said…
Thanks, Coach! Is it possible for the Garmin to calculate gradient for individual hills, though, without me doing all the math, as I did? If so, how can I do that? I just want to know how steep a hill was that I just climbed! All the best, and thanks for reading!

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