May 25, 2012

Is It Possible To Really "See" A Race?

Tomorrow is the Stelvio. 

I'll be watching the race, trying to understand what they are doing, where they are on the climb, and just how hard it must be, but it struck me today that it's very difficult to really "see" the race - the camera shots are too close to get perspective most of the time, the gradients are deeply distorted on TV, and the seemingly endless parade of the peloton rolling along - Liquigas at the front this year - makes for monotonous viewing at times. So we are forced to balance between the minds eye, the camera shot and our best reference to that which we have ridden that might emulate...the closest I can think of is Super-Jamestown outside Boulder.

Here is the Stelvio profile:

and here is a look at Super-Jamestown (albeit a bit less definitive):
From The Slipstream Sports Site
Here is another view of the main climb (up to the green marker):
MapMy Ride Search

The actual climb - from the turn off Hwy 36 - is about 15 miles and averages 4.5% to Jamestown and 8.5% for SuperJames, so it's not nearly as steep on average, but there are sections on Super that approach 15%, and the start elevation is almost about 1500 feet higher in Colorado.  By rise over run simple calculation that puts SuperJames at only 3.5% and the Stelvio at 7.5%! Having ridden SuperJames a bunch when I lived there it was always a BIG challenge - but I'd love to go back and ride it again after 15 years in California where 8-15% grades are far more common (although decidedly shorter!). So that helps with perspective a bit...but then you just look at this to get an idea - this is the Bormio side I think: 

A footnote: I'm trying to give credit to the original images and sites I use by linking to them directly and referencing their site as the caption. I hope this suffices for now as I'm still transitioning into a 'formal' approach to this..

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