Welch Creek Delight

September 15, 2007 7:54 pm

In our bike club, ACTC, we have 99 different hills we climb that we call billygoats. One of those is Welch Creek, wich some club members think is the most difficult of the 99. On today’s ride I had a chance to do the climb for the first time on my new bike with only a double crankset.

I wanted to get some data on the climb because I am on a committee that is looking at how we rank the billygoats. Welch Creek is rated as a 6, the highest rating we give to a hill climb. This chart shows the profile of the altitude and my heart rate for the climb. I took a split at the official start of the billygoat (1), bottom of the real climb (2), at the bottom of the steepest section (3), at the top of the steepest section (4) and at the top of the climb (5). The splits can be seen on the distance axis. I think I picked the right spot for the steepest section after I look at the heart rate curve and see that is where I took my heart rate the highest during the climb. Click the graph to enlarge.

Welch Creek HR Curve

If I look at the splits in my Polar heart rate monitor software, I see the grade for the steepest section is 15.6% over a distance of about 0.35 miles.

Welch Creek Split Grade

Welch Creek Split Distance

I am not sure how accurate this measurement is but it is pretty good. The grade of 15.6 compares closely with the grade I measured in a similar manner on Armsby over 0.4 miles. They felt roughly the same, with Armsby being a bit more difficult.

So is Welch Creek the toughest climb? I would not say so. Since I have used the new bike with the double crankset, the hardest time I had making the climb was going up the On Orbit section on Bohlman I did on July 19th. Since that was awhile ago, my conditioning may be better or worse so it is hard to compare. I dug out the data for the climb. For the On Orbit section I get a grade of 15.9% over 0.3 miles. So for the tough climbs Armsby, Welch Creek and On Orbit are all about the same grade over about a third of a mile. Unless I had a better way of measuring the grade or power output, I will have to settle for with the fact that they are all tough climbs.

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