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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-15-09, 05:23 AM   #1
paednoch
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Clydes and Alpe D'Huez

Hey gang,

Been a looong time member but haven't post in awhile. I just got back from a trip to Europe in which my brother and I rode the french Alpes for 3 days. I consider myself a very strong rider for a clyde. Around home I can keep up with the "a" riders and even pull for long periods on the flats. (ave 24-26). With that in mind i would like to share my experience on Alpe D' Huez. A climb like this is where us bigger guys (me around 210) feel our weight. I was shocked at the fact that my brother was pulling away from me on up huez. He weighs 40 pounds less than me but "back home" I smoke him consistently around our rolling countryside. I thought for sure I was ready for this climb (5800 miles this year) but it was harder than I ever imagined it would be. I thought I could easily make it to the finish line in an hour. It took me 77 minutes. My brother beat me by 5 minutes. We rode many other climbs around the area in those 3 days. A few of them hitting 13-14% grade but I will admit Huez was harder than I thought it would be. However I am a flat lander. It was a relentles ride and there is nowhere to hide. I am proud to say I didn't stop going up but a little disappointed in my time. I was riding a rental bike and it was quite a bit heavier than my carbon giant. If anyone is planning riding up Huez I highly suggest scouting the route by car PRIOR to riding up. Part of my problem was not knowing the lay of the climb and I had no idea what to expect with each switchback. BTW contrary to what people say...IT DOES NOT FLATTEN OUT at the top. It may get 1-2% less steep but the first 3 switchbacks are a beast of a climb
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Old 10-15-09, 06:59 AM   #2
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A dream ride for sure. I don't think it matters just how well you did, the fact you did it it is pretty darn cool. Even better it was with your brother.

And, um, this thread is useless without pics
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Old 10-15-09, 07:39 AM   #3
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...And, um, this thread is useless without pics
Here! Here! paednoch--what do you mean not postign pics?! Truly insulting!!

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... A climb like this is where us bigger guys (me around 210) feel our weight. I was shocked at the fact that my brother was pulling away from me on up huez. He weighs 40 pounds less than me but "back home" I smoke him consistently around our rolling countryside. I thought for sure I was ready for this climb (5800 miles this year) but it was harder than I ever imagined it would be. I thought I could easily make it to the finish line in an hour. It took me 77 minutes. My brother beat me by 5 minutes. We rode many other climbs around the area in those 3 days. A few of them hitting 13-14% grade but I will admit Huez was harder than I thought it would be. However I am a flat lander. It was a relentles ride and there is nowhere to hide. I am proud to say I didn't stop going up but a little disappointed in my time...
"Rolling countryside" is a much different animal than extended, 7-8 mile climbs. Alpe d'Huez is definitely an extended climb: 8-miles of constant 7-8%. You did well regardless, but short & steep is not the same.
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Old 10-15-09, 08:21 AM   #4
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I am jealous! That sounds like a lot of fun.

Climbing for us clydes is a serving of humble pie. But still very rewarding!
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Old 10-15-09, 08:55 AM   #5
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Fabulous - any way you slice it: that would be the ride of a lifetime. Very cool.
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Old 10-15-09, 09:06 AM   #6
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C'mon, man... pics, please, pics!
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Old 10-15-09, 09:11 AM   #7
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A 77 minute climb is a warmup!....I'd agree, rolling countryside is much different than an extended climb.

What is the elevation gain on the Huez??
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Old 10-15-09, 11:20 AM   #8
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What is the elevation gain on the Huez??
I think it's close to 3600' in under 9 miles.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:32 AM   #9
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According to this website
http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/palomar.html

it is 8 miles, 3514 ft.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:38 AM   #10
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Even if you took the longest climb on my commute (2.25mi, ~625' gain) and rode it enough times to equal 8 miles, it would still fall 1200+ feet short of the Alp d'Huez elevation!
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Old 10-15-09, 01:51 PM   #11
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According to this website
http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/palomar.html

it is 8 miles, 3514 ft.
Wow, that's a pretty stiff climb!
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Old 10-15-09, 02:36 PM   #12
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Wow, that's a pretty stiff climb!
Hey Beanz, come down and climb Palomar sometime. That is as close as I'll probably ever come to Huez.
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Old 10-15-09, 03:02 PM   #13
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I am so jealous! I have wanted to ride in Europe for many years. I have friends that actually did that ride the day after the TDF went up back when Lance was on his tear. Maybe next year.
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Old 10-15-09, 03:12 PM   #14
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The average grade on Baldy is slightly steeper than Palomar.. Some of the switchbacks are 14-15% grade..

http://www.socalvelo.com/sub/mount_baldy_road.htm
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Old 10-15-09, 04:10 PM   #15
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Great story!!! I was just looking into a trip goingto France and riding some of those hills including the one of which you speak - wondering if the Bee could do it. I am sorry to say - you may be convincing me I can't. Yikes!!! I mean I am very impressed with your ride. So what he smoked you - 40lbs ought to be worth something. So good for him...but really Bravo for get your Clyde self up that mountain. I bet you flew down!!!

I just got a % grade thingy on my bike computer so I can not wait to see what those % climbs around my area are...

GREAT JOB!!! Thanks for telling us about it.
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Old 10-15-09, 04:44 PM   #16
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Great story!!! I was just looking into a trip goingto France and riding some of those hills including the one of which you speak - wondering if the Bee could do it. I am sorry to say - you may be convincing me I can't. Yikes!!! I mean I am very impressed with your ride. So what he smoked you - 40lbs ought to be worth something. So good for him...but really Bravo for get your Clyde self up that mountain. I bet you flew down!!!

I just got a % grade thingy on my bike computer so I can not wait to see what those % climbs around my area are...

GREAT JOB!!! Thanks for telling us about it.
the % of huez is only half the equation...the far more impressive (in that it is more difficult to find) aspect is that it keeps it up for 8 miles.

Def a dream ride
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Old 10-15-09, 05:42 PM   #17
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There's a climb here I do repeats on, and my goal is to make it to 5 laps. The Squawk Mountain loop is 2.25 miles and 1180 feet with a section max of 22%.
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Old 10-15-09, 07:27 PM   #18
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I don't see what the problem is.....
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Old 10-16-09, 06:26 AM   #19
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Get him on the way down.
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