Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

1/10/2013

Eternal Agony, or at least nine minutes of it

Filed under: — stan @ 8:52 pm

This evening was the second practice session at the Aon building in downtown Los Angeles. The practice climbs run from 4 up to 55. That’s 1,126 steps and about 705 feet, or 214.5 meters straight up.

I went there today with a goal in mind. I wanted to generate 300 watts of power on this climb. With that in mind, I figured that I’d have to get to the top in about 8:53. The Aon building stairwell is an odd beast. It has several fairly long hallways that divide the three main sections of the staircase. The hallways and fire doors eat up maybe 15-20 seconds of the total climb, so with that in mind, I worked out some split times. I figured that, starting at floor 4, at the 2, 4, 6, and 8 minute marks, I should be at floors 16, 27, 39, and 50. That’s about 12 floors for every two minutes, except for the two increments that included hallways and fire doors. This works out to about 10.2 seconds per floor, and I calculated that a setting of 71 on my metronome should do it.

At the bottom, I took a minute to get all my gear set up, and then I turned on the metronome and started up the stairs. I was able to stay on schedule almost up to the six-minute mark. I was having trouble keeping up with the metronome on the turns in the middle section of the staircase. The landings are wide there, and it makes for a difficult turn if you’re trying to just put one foot and the landing and pivot from one flight to the next.

When I got to 55, I had 9:01, which is a bit off my goal, but it’s not bad. Doing some math:

1,126 steps x 7.5 inches per step = 8,445 inches = 214.5 meters
214.5m x 76.5kg x 9.8 = 160,811 joules expended energy
160,811J / 541 seconds = 297 watts

It’s not quite my goal of 300, but it’s pretty close.

After a few minutes lying on the floor panting, I went back down. At 4, I met up with George and Jeff. George had found an error in my staircase chart for the building, so the three of us walked down from 4 to the ground-level doors and we counted off both staircases that lead up to 4. And yes, it turned out I’d miscounted two six-step flights as fives. So my whole count was off by two, and the total step count to the roof is really 1,393. Good to know. Also, knowing that the staircase we use for the race begins with a sequence of 9 six-step flights, that means I know a nice efficient stepping pattern for that.

The corrected stair chart is on my ‘Stairs’ page: http://1134.org/stan/Stairs

I went up the stairs a second time, but I was pretty wiped out from the first climb. So I went very slowly, and I played tourist along the way, taking some pictures of some of the odd features of the Aon building staircase. I took one picture looking straight up the stairway shaft in the middle section of the building. I’m standing on the 24th floor, and the ceiling off in the distance is at the top of the 43rd floor. That’s a lot of stairs. I didn’t bother to time the second climb, but I did make it to the top. I even perked up a bit when I got to 45, since I knew I was almost at the end.

Once more, it was a good outing.

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