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How fast do you climb?

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View Poll Results: What is your VAM?
Greater than 1067
7
10.00%
915 to 1066
11
15.71%
763 to 914
16
22.86%
610 to 762
20
28.57%
457 to 609
7
10.00%
305 to 456
1
1.43%
Other
8
11.43%
Voters: 70. You may not vote on this poll

How fast do you climb?

Old 01-22-19, 06:33 AM
  #76  
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I'm assuming the VAM poll is in meters not feet? Please clarify as my Garmin is set to feet. Is everyone responding to this quoting meters? Thanks
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Old 01-22-19, 07:13 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Ald1 View Post
I'm assuming the VAM poll is in meters not feet? Please clarify as my Garmin is set to feet. Is everyone responding to this quoting meters? Thanks
VAM is in meters.
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Old 01-22-19, 01:03 PM
  #78  
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The purpose of VAM is to estimate how fast a rider will climb an unknown hill, based on information from a well-known hill.
So pro riders can tell how much time they'll gain or lose over a competitor on a climb for instance.
And it's not valid for climbs less than 6% or so, because it assumes essentially all the power is going into elevation rather than wind and rolling resistance.
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Old 01-22-19, 08:19 PM
  #79  
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An oldie but goodie. Depends on the bike and the ride.

Tandem this past Sunday, 460. On long climbs last summer, shorter rides of only ~70 miles, with my single, ~840. Very long event rides, more like 500.
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Old 02-05-19, 02:07 PM
  #80  
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Best ever was getting a 1-hr T-shirt for the Mt. Diablo Challenge. That was 992 VAM. That was my best climbing shape ever. (All it took was 8 weeks of intervals and no desserts, no fried foods, no candy, no soda, no nothin' fun to eat)

That was a few years ago. Recently I did the North Side at a much more relaxed pace: 628.
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Old 02-05-19, 09:02 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
900-1000 on 40 min hills, a little over 1100 on 10 min hills.
Demonstrates what a useless unit of measurement this is. I do about 580 meters in 50 minutes. Pretty sure I can do better on a shorter hill.
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Old 02-05-19, 11:30 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
Demonstrates what a useless unit of measurement this is. I do about 580 meters in 50 minutes. Pretty sure I can do better on a shorter hill.
Why is it a useless measurement? It correlates very well to your power/weight ratio.
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Old 02-06-19, 12:38 AM
  #83  
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Best single effort on an HC climb, 696VAM (998M of gain in 16.4km.) I can manage high 800s / low 900s on Cat 2 and 3. I can't dig a decent number out of Veloviewer for a Cat 1, as it has an errored starting elevation on my top segment (so it thinks I climbed from sea level, and gives me a 1,440VAM) Overall, day in and day out, typical pacing will put me 625-650VAM.

To decide the category of a climb Strava multiplies the length of the climb (in meters) with the grade of the climb. If that number is greater than 8000 then it is a categorized climb.
  • Cat 4 > 8000
  • Cat 3 > 16000
  • Cat 2 > 32000
  • Cat 1 > 48000
  • HC (Hors Categorie) > 64000
If it takes 10 minutes, it's probably not an actual climb. Or you have a VAM of like 2,000.
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Old 02-06-19, 07:37 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Why is it a useless measurement? It correlates very well to your power/weight ratio.
well, the reason why i see it as useless is because of the wide open interpretation, at least that is how i read the thread opener. the units are meters per hour. i can always ride a steep short hill and use maximum power. compare that with an equally steep but much longer hill i highly doubt my mph will be the same. my local favorite is about 8 miles long. i ride this all the time, i am faster at the bottom than at the top and the grade does not vary by too much. i'm pretty sure that if i did the calculations my mph would steadily decline as i went up that hill, i simply get tired the longer i ride.

if the measurement were described as something like "VAM is a measurement of meters per hour taken under the following conditions: x% average grade with a variance of +/- y% ridden for a total of z minutes" then i would find VAM a useful measurement. this puts everyone on the same page, kind of like my car can go from 0 to 60 in xyz seconds.

i drive an older model CRV by the way, probably in the 15 second range on a good day, down hill.

-scott

i might want to add the riders current elevation. i live in reno NV. not much air up here compared to our friends in FL.
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Old 02-06-19, 08:20 AM
  #85  
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It's absolutely relevant, as Strava won't show a VAM unless the climb is categorized. So if the segment is very short, it's going to be very steep. As a score of 8,000 is the minimum for a Cat 4, if it's 1,000m long, it has to average over 8%. I've averaged ~1,200VAM on climbs like that, but the entire Cat 1 or HC effort is usually around 700VAM.

I'm usually below the halfway point on the leaderboards on big climbs, in the neighborhood of 1,400/2,500 or 1,600/2,700. Until I sort by weight, anyway. Then it's like 200/500 or even 40/170. It's not lost on me that the 200-224 category makes up less than 10% of efforts on local HC climbs.
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Old 02-06-19, 09:21 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
well, the reason why i see it as useless is because of the wide open interpretation, at least that is how i read the thread opener. the units are meters per hour. i can always ride a steep short hill and use maximum power. compare that with an equally steep but much longer hill i highly doubt my mph will be the same. my local favorite is about 8 miles long.
Similar to power/weight VAM will vary with duration. It's typically used to measure ascent on longer climbs. It's a good metric to compare your performance with others on similar climbs as well as your own performance over time on similar climbs.
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Old 02-06-19, 11:53 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
Demonstrates what a useless unit of measurement this is.
It is not useless; it is mis-used.
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Old 02-06-19, 12:35 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Best ever was getting a 1-hr T-shirt for the Mt. Diablo Challenge. That was 992 VAM. That was my best climbing shape ever. (All it took was 8 weeks of intervals and no desserts, no fried foods, no candy, no soda, no nothin' fun to eat)

That was a few years ago. Recently I did the North Side at a much more relaxed pace: 628.
I like the 992 for the Diablo Challenge a lot. I have ridden the south side and as I remember it is climbing from the start. I have raced the north side a couple of times as a 10K ITT and therefore not all the way to the top. The north starts out flat to rolling and then pitches up. A couple of races have used TT bikes with a disc / fast front wheel to do the 10k due to the flatter start. So I would suspect a lower VAM for that climb. I do not recall my VAM from the north side.
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Old 02-06-19, 01:19 PM
  #89  
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VAM may not be relevant to our area since our longest "climbs" are maybe 2 miles long at most, averaging only 1%-2% with undulating brief peaks near low double digits. But the Elevate extension for Strava adds some info that helps confirm I'm making some progress.

I try not to obsess over the data or think about it during a ride, so I don't bias my rides with extra effort to "prove" I'm getting stronger when I'm actually just redlining at an effort I couldn't sustain for more than a minute. But after some recent bike tweaks -- sealed bearing pulleys to replace the draggy old sintered bushing bearing pulleys; raising the seat post/saddle a bit to encourage myself to spin rather than mash -- Elevate's data, including VAM, shows some improvement -- from 690 to 720.

But I'd need to find some real sustained climbs that last longer than a couplafew minutes. Best I can do locally is repeats. The brief eased effort between climbs is like interval training, which doesn't really test how I'd do on a sustained climb. I already know I can recovery fairly well with 30-60 seconds of recovery between efforts.
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Old 02-06-19, 06:04 PM
  #90  
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I'm proud to say that I have always been fast enough up every hill to arrive at the top at the same time as my bike.

...OK. I'll admit that it always beats me by about a wheel length.

As for VAM, I never knew what it was before I saw this thread. Looking at my Strava logs for the last year it's all over the board; averaging around 1500 for 3-minute climbs, 600 to 750 for twenty-minute climbs, and around 350 for most MTB climbs. I'm not sure it's a very valuable metric to me except if I were foolish enough to go back into my Strava records for several years to see my loss of strength as I creep towards my Seventies, and I think I'd rather not know that!
Brent

Last edited by obrentharris; 02-06-19 at 06:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-07-19, 12:03 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post


I like the 992 for the Diablo Challenge a lot. I have ridden the south side and as I remember it is climbing from the start. I have raced the north side a couple of times as a 10K ITT and therefore not all the way to the top. The north starts out flat to rolling and then pitches up. A couple of races have used TT bikes with a disc / fast front wheel to do the 10k due to the flatter start. So I would suspect a lower VAM for that climb. I do not recall my VAM from the north side.
North Gate has an easy start, South Gate has an easy middle. Not for argument, but just because it's interesting:

Nathan English: NG to Junction - 24m56s, VAM=1339
Nathan English: SG to Junction - 20m01s, VAM=1288
Nathan English: NG to Summit - 46m24s, VAM=1375
Nathan English: SG to Summit - 41m24s, VAM=1366
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Old 02-07-19, 02:38 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
North Gate has an easy start, South Gate has an easy middle. Not for argument, but just because it's interesting:

Nathan English: NG to Junction - 24m56s, VAM=1339
Nathan English: SG to Junction - 20m01s, VAM=1288
Nathan English: NG to Summit - 46m24s, VAM=1375
Nathan English: SG to Summit - 41m24s, VAM=1366
When I went back and analyzed it, I think the only way I was able to break an hour was because I was hanging on to a fast group that stayed on the gas through the flat part at Rock City.

Also, my first year of racing I was in the Cat 5 race with Nate English at Cherry Pie in Napa. He lapped the field and went from Cat 5 to Cat 1 in a single season, then signed a pro contract the next season. I was still a Cat 5.
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Old 02-07-19, 04:25 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
North Gate has an easy start, South Gate has an easy middle. Not for argument, but just because it's interesting:

Nathan English: NG to Junction - 24m56s, VAM=1339
Nathan English: SG to Junction - 20m01s, VAM=1288
Nathan English: NG to Summit - 46m24s, VAM=1375
Nathan English: SG to Summit - 41m24s, VAM=1366
The other icon that raced Diablo was Ned Overend who was a 55+ guy seemed to recall that he beat English one time but I may be wrong.

Last edited by Hermes; 02-07-19 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 02-07-19, 04:28 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
When I went back and analyzed it, I think the only way I was able to break an hour was because I was hanging on to a fast group that stayed on the gas through the flat part at Rock City.

Also, my first year of racing I was in the Cat 5 race with Nate English at Cherry Pie in Napa. He lapped the field and went from Cat 5 to Cat 1 in a single season, then signed a pro contract the next season. I was still a Cat 5.
And the world tour pros are knocking out 1600 VAM on climbs. Although, one of our 55+ guys had a faster time that the Tour of California pros at Patterson Pass. In fairness, they had been racing for awhile and that climb may not have been decisive that day at that moment.
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Old 02-07-19, 05:19 PM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
The other icon that raced Diablo was Ned Overland Overend who was a 55+ guy seemed to recall that he beat English one time but I may be wrong.
And I blogged it! Nate beat Ned by 1.5 seconds in 2010.

https://diabloscott.blogspot.com/201...ime-trial.html

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Old 05-20-19, 04:53 AM
  #96  
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Well, Hermes provides realistic advice, it is possible to improve your VAM. I reviewed my Garmin and Strava data from this month I have the following results. Keep in mind this is on a 26 lb flatbar fully rigid touring bike.

I have three different climbs this month with >1000 VAM numbers. For example: 290 ft climb over 0.29 miles, a 18% grade taken at 6.0mph for a 1167 VAM.

The Strava data can be found here: https://www.strava.com/activities/2363955957

My VAM as posted by Strava is usually in the 500-600 range, I'm a little suspicious of a result better than this.

I have an event in June that features several difficult climbs. I'll be using a Ridley Helium SLX with a 46 & 30 Absolute Black chainring set. I'll check back after this event.

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Old 05-21-19, 02:27 PM
  #97  
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My climbing style strongly resembles peanut butter flowing uphill.

When I look at my numbers...I don't look at my numbers.
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Old 05-22-19, 02:05 PM
  #98  
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just fast enough not to fall over. sorry, couldn't resist
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