At Tenerife ON we use the IBP index to rate the difficulty of our mountain bike routes in the island’s Protected Natural Areas.
This is an automatic system that assesses the difficulty of a mountain bike, road bike, walking or running route; it is also a great tool for comparing the difficulty level of different routes.
How the IBP index works
The IBP index is obtained by analysing latitude, longitude and elevation data recorded by a GPS device during the route.
- Distances covered on the different uphill and downhill sections.
- Total metres in elevation gain and loss.
- Average uphill and downhill ratios.
- Kilometres at high altitude.
- Slope distribution.
Applying a standardised mathematical formula, a score between 0 and infinity is obtained, which indicates the difficulty of the route.
This score is 100% objective, as it does not take into accountvariables such as the weather, physical fitness or your pace.
How to read the IBP index
It is important to understand the difference between the difficulty of a route and the effort it will take to complete it.
Thus, an IBP rating of 60 might be:
- A very hard route for beginners.
- Normal for someone with average fitness level.
- Or very easy for professional cyclists.
The IBP index provides you with a value with which you will be able to judge, according to your fitness level, whether the route is for you: very easy, easy, medium, hard, hard or very hard.
In this table you can see the relationship between your fitness level and the IBP index:
But in addition to your fitness level, you should also take into account the weather conditions and the pace at which you want to go.
Therefore, to calculate the effort required, we recommend that you check weather forecasts and trail condition alerts before completing the following formula:
Effort of a route =
Physical fitness + desired pace + weather conditions + IBP