One of my biggest fears when going on a long bike ride is running out of fuel and bonking (a.k.a hitting a wall). It’s a horrible feeling. Your legs feel like jelly, and it seems as if one more rotation of the pedals is impossible. This happens because you you run out of fuel and don’t properly replace that necessary fuel with the correct amount and type of calories.
This is important because this Saturday, myself and 20 other InterWorks employees will be riding across the great state of Oklahoma as part of OK Freewheel. The seven-day, 450-mile ride will take us from the Texas panhandle through rural Oklahoma to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In preparation for the ride, I wanted to create a calorie calculator in Tableau that I could use each morning before hopping on the bike to plan out my calorie consumption. I wanted an hourly goal as well as a goal for the entire ride just to know about how much I should carry.
Tableau made this really easy! First I downloaded the .gpx files and converted them to text files using GPS Visualizer, a trick I learned from Ben Jones from his awesome hiking visualization, Hiking the Washington Trails. Once I had this, I was able to build out the map and elevation visualizations in a couple minutes. For the calorie replacement calculator, I used this formula from an article about calorie replacement for century (100 mile) cycling rides by Kim Mueller, M.S., R.D. I felt the formula was a good fit because it takes into account rider weight, total miles and elevation.
I hope you find this useful if you are riding OK Freewheel this year! Make sure to drink plenty of water and ride safe!