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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ride Your Bike To Work Saturday

5/21/11 #230
42 miles LHT


Weather, Schedules, Obligations have conspired to keep me from riding round-trip to work all week, but I had to go in on Satuday, the weather was great, and I got to do it.

I rode to work on a slightly longer than direct, relatively flat route, 17 miles. It's not flat, but it avoids redundant grade, the railroad term for where you do the work to climb to an altitude, then descend and climb up again.

I was reminded of one of the basic principles of railroad engineering. When building a line between points A and B, one should find the highest point between the two and then make a gradual ascent to that point and a gradual descent from it to minimize the cost of operating the railroad. Any deviation from this ideal is referred to as "redundant grade". The energy lost to wind resistance per unit distance (i.e. the force) grows as the velocity squared; this means you won't get nearly as much distance for your hard-earned energy on a rapid descent as you will on a gradual one.

Crossing the Catskills was all about redundant grade. No railroad engineer in his right mind would try to build a line along US 20 in New York State.

The goal is to avoid the up-and-down; climb/descend once, ride level, then descend/climb once.

When my work was done I rode home taking a circuitous route to enjoy the day, I rode 25 miles in 2h47m. Total distance for the day was 42 miles.

5/21/11 Week 20    this week: 60 miles   [2nd quarter: 500 ]    2011: 816

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