What is elevation gain in Cycling

What is elevation gain in Cycling? – Why does it matter?

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Have you ever wondered what “elevation gain” is when you’re out on a ride? You may have seen it on a map or in a training plan, but what does it actually mean? In short, elevation gain is the total amount of climbing that you do on a ride. But why does it matter? And how do you calculate it? Keep reading to learn more about elevation gain and how it can affect your rides.


What is elevation gain in Cycling?

To understand elevation gain in cycling, it is first important to understand what elevation is. The elevation is the height of an object or points to a reference point, typically sea level. Therefore, elevation gain is the difference in elevation between two points. 

In cycling, elevation gain matters because it can be used to measure the difficulty of a ride. The higher the elevation gain, the more complex the ride will be. However, it is important to remember that not all rides with a high elevation gain are created equal. For example, a ride with many short, steep climbs will be more difficult than a ride with longer, less steep climbs. 

Elevation gain can also be used to calculate how much time you will need to complete a ride. This is because the amount of time it takes to complete a given distance will increase as the elevation increases. For example, if it takes you 1 hour to ride 10 miles on flat terrain, it will likely take you longer than 1 hour to ride 10 miles on hilly terrain. 

Knowing the elevation gain of your route can help you plan your rides accordingly and set realistic expectations for your completion time. It can also help you gauge how difficult a particular ride may be so that you can better prepare for it physically and mentally.


How is elevation gain measured?

There are a few different ways elevation gain can be measured, but the most common method is using a GPS device. The GPS will track your altitude as you ride, and then you can look at the total elevation gain for your entire ride or specific sections of your ride.

Some cyclists also like to use a power meter to track their elevation gain. A power meter can give you more detailed information about your climbing performance and can help you to gauge how hard you’re working as you ride.

Elevation gain is an important metric for many cyclists because it can help you gauge a ride’s difficulty. If you’re training for a big event or just trying to improve your overall fitness, tracking your elevation gain can help you to see how you’re progressing.


What are the benefits of cycling with elevation gain?

Regarding cycling, elevation gain is the amount of vertical ascent you make while riding. It’s important to track because it can help you gauge how challenging a route is and how much effort you’ll need to expend.

There are several benefits to cycling with elevation gain. First, it’s excellent for your cardiovascular health. Cycling with elevation forces your heart to work harder, strengthening it over time. Second, it can help improve your leg strength and power. Third, it’s a great way to burn calories and fat. Finally, cycling in hilly terrain can be more fun and interesting than riding on flat ground.

If you want to add some challenges to your rides or mix things up, start incorporating some elevation into your routes. You’ll be surprised at how much difference it makes!


How do you train for elevation cycling?

If you’re looking to tackle some big climbs on your bike, you’ll need to be properly prepared with a good training plan. Here are a few tips on how to train for elevation cycling:

1. Get familiar with the route: If you know the route you’ll be riding, try to ride it as much as possible in the lead-up to your event. This will help you get a feel for the gradients and also give you a good idea of where the hardest parts are.

2. Incorporate hill repeats into your training: A great way to prepare for climbing is to do hill repeats. Find a local hill that’s around 1-2 miles long and ride it multiple times, pushing yourself each time to go faster. This type of training will help improve your endurance and leg strength.

3. Do some threshold intervals: Another great way to train for climbing is to do some threshold intervals on a trainer or in an indoor cycling class. These workouts involve riding at or near your lactate threshold (the point at which lactic acid starts to build up in your muscles) for set periods of time, followed by a short recovery period. Doing these types of intervals will help improve your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your body can utilize) and leg power, both of which are important for efficiently climbing hills.

4. Make sure you’re well-fueled: You’re vital to eat and drink enough during training rides and races, especially when climbing in elevation. Be sure to carry plenty of food and water with you, and eat/drink regularly even if you’re not feeling thirsty or hungry. Dehydration and low blood sugar can quickly zap your energy and make climbing hills much harder.


Why should I track the elevation gain in cycling?

Assuming you are talking about road cycling, the main reason to track elevation gain is that it provides valuable data that can be used to improve training. By understanding how much elevation you are gaining on average, you can tailor your training to focus on either longer rides with less elevation gain or shorter rides with more elevation gain. This data can also be used to understand your body’s fatigue level and how well you acclimate to different altitudes.

In addition, tracking elevation gain can simply be motivating. It can be satisfying to see your progress over time and set new personal records for total elevation gain in a week or month. For some people, the data is also helpful in planning future cycling trips, as they can use it to estimate how challenging a route will be.


Do you lose weight faster in higher-elevation cycling?

Regarding cycling and weight loss, elevation gain is an important factor to consider. The higher the elevation, the harder your body has to work, and as a result, you can burn more calories and lose weight faster.

If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, cycling in mountainous terrain or even hilly areas can be a great way to do it. Not only will you get a great workout, but the scenery is also stunning. So if you’re ready to hit the hills, grab your bike and start pedaling!



Elevation gain is the total amount of climbing that you do in a ride, and it’s an important metric for cyclists to track. Why? Because it can be used to gauge a ride’s difficulty and compare your performance over time. If you’re looking to improve your cycling fitness, then paying attention to your elevation gain is a good way to measure your progress.

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