The 4 graphs at the bottom of this post are from data collected by iPhone app RunKeeper. The collected data is from my cycle route from home base to Springwater Forrest on 4 different days. The elevations data is a bit different for each leg cycle due to GPS data being plus/minus 10 meter.
If you follow the link above each graph it will take you to an interactive page on RunKeeper’s site where you can hover over the elevation/speed graph and it will show you where on Google Maps that data sample is from.
Some times where you are cycling it is hard to tell how much of an elevation change there is and these graphs help with that. 1) Using these graphs I have made a mental note of where there are elavation drops and make sure I am picking up speed in these areas.
With these graphs I can also view my speeds and see how well I did in different places on different days. 2) I have made a mental note of my best speeds at different points in my route and I try to duplicate my highest speed.
For example at the beginning of my 09-02-09 cycle I build my speed up to 45km where in the other 3 days I was below 40km. So I have made a mental note of that and I am trying to bring my speed up to 45km at the beginning.
When I view my speed at Alexander Dr and Kyle Cr (at the 1.1km point) on 09-02-09 I did 44.6km, on 09-03-09 39.3km, on 09-04-09 44.6km, and on 09-05-09 34km. So I have made a mental note of 44.6km and when and I try to duplicate it.
Of course you have to pace yourself for the whole route but the overall idea in improving your time is to push yourself harder and to do better in certian parts of the route than you did before. Knowing the parts of your route where you drop in elavation and knowing your highest speeds at certain points is one way to help you to do better. RunKeeper provides you with these numbers.
First Leg Cycle 09-02-09 31.74kmph
First Leg Cycle 09-03-09 31.57kmph
First Leg Cycle 09-04-09 32.73kmph
First Leg Cycle 09-05-09 32.41kmph