My mother-in-law is visiting right now, and she asked if I’ve been using the Garmin Edge 205 she sent me for Christmas. I told her I don’t fully understand all the things it can do, because I mostly use it just to put squiggly lines on Google Earth photos so that I can see where I've ridden.
This image of Potter Valley Road is a good example. The road is very popular with local cyclists who climb it—often several times in a single session—for springtime workouts. I’ve been riding it quite a bit this year, so one night a couple of weeks ago, I reset the 205 at the bottom of the hill and then stopped it at the end of the pavement so I could get all the pertinent numbers on the climb.
I can gasp my way up this climb in a little less than 14 minutes (way slower than the people who actually race up it). It is 1.89 miles from the bottom to the top, which involves 621 feet of elevation gain. The grades run as steep as 11 percent. I know this because I was dumb enough to include that information among the fields of data displayed on the screen.
I’m still not sure if there is any good reason to know, at the moment one is grinding up an 11-percent grade, that the hill is actually that steep. It can sort of make a person want to head-butt his bike computer with his helmet. I don’t dare try this, of course, because in my oxygen-deprived state I’d be more likely to slam into my stem and suffer disfiguring facial trauma.
But it sure makes a neat squiggly line on the satellite photo, though, doesn’t it?