King of the Mountain

So Lance Armstrong is once again ripping up the field in the Tour. There’s something so satisfying when you know that he won’t attack till the mountains, being patient while the sprinters have their day. Then the tour gets to the mountains and he wins the next three stages.

In the paper today, they mentioned that he has the fastest time for the climb up Mt. Ventoux, the moonscape where he gave the stage win to Pantini a couple of years ago. The paper reports that it’s 5280 feet (exactly on mile) up, 13 miles, and he did it in 58 minutes. I’ve done one climb of that magnitude also 5280 feet up from sea level to Hurricane Ridge over 20 miles. I was in good shape at the time, but it took me 2:20, or about 2.3 times as long.

Doing some rough guesses at the math, it looks like Lance was producing an average of 350 watts. Nearly half a horsepower. (power = mass * g* h / time, or 170 lbs/2.2lb/kg * 9.8m/s^2 * 1600m/(58min*60sec)) That’s ignoring wind resistance, which should be a reasonable assumption for 13 mph. Numbers for me? 170 watts.

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