How much vertical did you ride this week? That’s it, huh? Pffft. Over the last month and a half, from March 15 to April 30, Brian Toone rode 468,661 vertical feet. Read that again: Brian Toone rode 468,661 vert over 3,084 miles in 47 days, averaging 9,971 vertical feet a day, and in doing so won the Specialized/Strava spring classics challenge, in which the big red S partnered with the online fitness website to encourage people to ride the same vertical as in the five spring classics. Toone not only achieved that amount, he lapped it four and a half times.
Toone is a professor of computer science at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, who commutes to work every day and races Cat 1 on weekends.
“The best part of the climbing competition is that it challenged me to find the hilliest, craziest climbs and descents in Birmingham,” he said. “In order to maximize the number of feet climbed on a ride, I had to focus on minimizing the amount of time descending. That made for some really fast descents. I would be disappointed in a ride if I didn’t hit 50mph at some point. With the steep hills in and around Birmingham, that was pretty easy to do.
“On the last day of the competition, I rode 125 miles and climbed over 24,000 feet to make sure that my closest competitor, Jeremy Philippe from the French Alpes, didn’t catch me on the last day.”
Um, yeah, 24,000 feet. Something to think about when you throw a leg over the saddle this weekend.
Read more about Toone’s Strava experience at his blog, Toone Cycling. Photo by Kristine Toone