30 November 2012

A replacement for the Lance question

What is Your Power?

In a previous post, I had lamented that I would be unable to use a standard question I like on a test. I have now found a suitable replacement.

At this time of the year, I have my students get a measure of their personal power output by running up some stairs.  While everyone gets a different result, most of my guys get around 0.5 - 1 horsepower for the 3-5 seconds of effort. On the next test, I would ask students to calculate the power output of Lance Armstrong based upon his time cycling up Alp d'Huez, one of the most famous in the Tour de France. We would then compare his 0.5 hp to the student's 1 hp, noting that his effort was over 38 minutes, whereas the student's was over a few seconds. However, with recent revelations, I cannot with good conscience ask that question again.

In my search for a replacement, I had thought about changing to a question involving a cyclist in the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hill Climb, but since many cyclists have been tainted by the doping scandal, I thought better. I then remembered the Empire State Building Run-Up. With a few minutes on a search engine, I was able to get some good data. The last winner, the 71 kg German Thomas Dold, ran the 1050 feet of stairs in 10 minutes and 28 seconds (I was unable to find weight data for the 9 minute and 33 second recold holder, Paul Crake). This will now be the basis for my new question.

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