If you haven’t watched “Ride The Divide”, you should. It’s a documentary about the Tour Divide, a race following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, USA. The world record has recently been set to 16 days and a couple of hours, by Ollie Whalley. A time which sounds, to me, completely insane. We’re talking almost 300 kilometers (about 190 miles) each day, EVERY DAY. For over two weeks! Unearthly. I would be extremely surprised if this route would take me less than an ambitious 60 days. Excluding rest days. Massive respect.
But really, watch the movie. Apart from being inspirational and insightful etc, it’s just… fun. It taught me a lot about what *not* to do during such a ride, as well.
Anyway, being the nerd I am, I was inspired to make some calculations after watching it. Someone in that film said that the route involves climbing Mount Everest from sea level to the top seven times. This amounts to a total ascent of 62 km, which sounds plausible to me. At the pace of 60 days I mentioned, this would translate to an average of about 1.000 meters ascent each day. Which again, sounds entirely plausible.
So let’s calculate with 62 kms of ascent. That means that into each kilogram of weight, I will have to put 1 * 9,81 * 62.000 = 607.729,5 Joules of gravitational potential energy. Because potential energy equals the mass of an object times the gravitational acceleration (9,81 m/s2) times altitude gained in meters. In other words: it takes 1 Joule of energy to lift about 102 grams of water 1 meter into the air.
607.729,5 Joules translates to 145.153,7 calories. A candybar of Snickers (weighing in – in Europe – at 57 grams) contains 288 calories.
So to haul 1 kg of additional weight across the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route will take about 500 candybars of Snickers. That is without taking into account the additional weight of the Snickers. It is also without taking into account the fact that this translates to about 7 additional Snickers each day. For each kilogram. I mean, I like Snickers, but I’m not sure I’ll still like them as much after this ride.
With departure coming in four days, I am getting rather neurotic about the weight I am taking with me. It’s nice to have an additional pair of socks available just in case, but hey, that’s 50 grams right there. That’s 25 Snickers, folks.
Self-torture, I tell you.