The ever-excellent Google Maps mashup Google Pedometer has recently added an “elevation” feature, allowing you not only to see how far you walked, ran, cycled, or drove, but also to see how far up and down you went along the way. You simply click the “elevation” link and it displays a scrolling iframe with your entire route plotted out as a long horizontal graph.
I did a 50-mile ride yesterday, most of which somehow ended up being in 15mph headwinds. Ouch! When I got home, I fired up the computer and plotted my course.
Here’s the best part of my ride: Immediately following the highest point of my entire route, there was a thrilling mile-long descent right down to the lowest point, a riverside pier in Alpine New Jersey. Four miles later, a steep continuous climb brought me (almost) back up again. (click below to see the whole graph).
I’ve been out of practice lately due to my workload and other lame excuses, but it was great to get out and feel the pain on such a beautiful, perfect day for cycling. And there’s something satisfying about seeing the hills displayed this way — not only does it give a real sense of accomplishment (I can pretend these are the French Alps!), but it also gives me some insight into the overall “lay of the land” for the next time I take this route. What a great tool.
UPDATE: I also made a graph of the Prospect Park loop, starting and finishing at the Grand Army Plaza entrance.