sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2015

I just discovered what an Eddington number is and I am screwed

A warning. Eddington number is an addictive concept. If you are a cyclist  (and/or runner and/or swimmer) that tracks the distance of all your rides, especially if you are a long distance cyclist, discovering what the Eddington number is has the effect of making you to want to ride more and more, longer and longer. You probably are already too engaged to cycling so feel free to stop reading now and keep living in the ignorance... You've been warned.

From wikipedia:
"Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, was an English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician of the early 20th century who did his greatest work in astrophysics. He was also a philosopher of science and a popularizer of science. The Eddington limit, the natural limit to the luminosity of stars, or the radiation generated by accretion onto a compact object, is named in his honour."
More importantly Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington was a keen cyclist and he is the creator of the Eddignton number. Again from wikipedia:
"The Eddington number in the context of cycling is defined as the maximum number E such that the cyclist has cycled E miles on E days. For example, an Eddington number of 70 would imply that the cyclist has cycled at least 70 miles in a day on 70 occasions. Achieving a high Eddington number is difficult since moving from, say, 70 to 75 will probably require more than five new long distance rides since any rides shorter than 75 miles will no longer be included in the reckoning. Eddington's own E-number was 84."
It sounds silly, I know. But do you know what a data geek cyclist that has recorded all his rides does when learns about this concept?
That's is right, I'm a E75 cyclist. Nice round number.

Do you know what happens next? Of course I want to make that number bigger. And that made me enter in a spiral of wanting to ride more and longer. Let me show you how it worked.

It just happens that have ridden 75 times at least 76 miles so if I go out and ride just 76 miles I'll be E76. Easy. How do I get to E77?

In my records I see I have ridden 73 times at least 77 miles. A ride of 76 miles would make me E76 but would not count towards making me E77 (only rides with more that 77 miles count). So if I want to move to E77 there is no point in riding just 76 miles. I should go out and ride 77 miles, that would make me E76 and the ride would count towards E77.

But what is the point of being E77? 77 is kind of a pointless number, what is the next nice looking number?

E100. Oh yes, E100 sounds really cool. It means you have ridden at least 100 miles 100 times. That is something. How far am I?

Well it turns out I have ridden 52 times at least 100 miles. "This is interesting", I thought. E100 is an achievable target, I reckon riding as the last years I could be E100 in about 5 years time. Nice!

Now comes the tricky part, if riding as usual I'll get to E100 in 5 years what would be the maximal Eddington number I could reach?

I have 40 rides with more than 125 miles, I reckon in 10 years I could get there (E125). But you know what happen? I have 39 rides with more than 130 miles! So if I'm riding anything near 125 miles I should not stop there, I should keep riding until the 130 mark to make it count towards a lifelong E130.

But it does not stop there...

I have 30 rides with more than 150 miles so why stopping at the 130 and not pushing it to 150. E150 sounds much much better... I'm screwed.

Now that you got here. Do you really want to know your Eddington number?.

Really?

Ok, then, you are also screwed. Here you have a spreadsheet that will do all the work for you, you just have to make your own copy of the spreadsheet and post your rides in column B. Note there are two sheets, one if you have your records in miles and another one if you have your records in kilometres. E is given in miles (probably the only cycling metric that should be given in miles) but the sheet will do the calculations for you.

Other resources:
Take care
Javier Arias González
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