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  1. #1
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    What deterimines a the category of hills?

    I did the Tour de Cure ride yesterday. They had 2 category 5 hill climbs. What determines what category a hill is?

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    It's whatever the people ranking the hills decide it is.

    There is no universally agreed upon ranking. The schemes I've seen vary quite a bit, making them essentially useless for comparison purposes.

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    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    My understanding is that Category 1 is harder than 2, which is harder than 3, which is harder than 4. But, the links I find only run categories 1 - 4, but in no way do I think I really know. I just got back into cycling in April '11 and have only been on a roadie since March of this year, 2012.

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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    HC climb - "Hors Categorie" - climbs are the hardest rating/score given to any climb. All climb scores are based on distance, grade/elevation change, and maximum elevation. The combination of these factors drives all final climb categories and there is no subjective analysis used in the final scoring of any climb score. HC climbs will traditionally be very long (over 10 miles), very steep (average grades above 8 to 10%), or very high (above 11,000 feet) but again some extremely steep or long climbs could alone qualify it as an HC rated climb.

    Cat 1 Climb - These rated climbs are the next most difficult after HC climbs.

    Cat 2 Climb - These rated climbs are the next most difficult after Cat 1 climbs.

    Cat 3 Climb - These rated climbs are the next most difficult after Cat 2 climbs.

    Cat 4 Climb - These rated climbs are the next most difficult after Cat 3 climbs.

    Cat 5 Climb - These rated climbs are the least difficult of all the categorized climbs.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 07-01-12 at 03:05 PM.
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  5. #5
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Doesn't the UCI establish the HC classifications for their climbs on the Pro Tour? I would think they had some scale based on the percentage, as Barrett suggested. Imagine that they have a standardized classification for the professional races they oversee, both continental and International(? what is the upper level called, cannot remember?)

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    It's essentially the amount of height gained within a given distance. It isn't consistent - some climbs that used to be Cat 1 in the Tour de France are now "hors category" - without category, because they are too severe. Essentially, however, no short climb, however steep, will make it out of the low categories. I did a few Cat 4 climbs yesterday, some of which were ery challenging. One of them was 25%. But it was only a couple of hundred meters long, gaining about 50 meters in height. The higher category climbs may not be as steep, but gain thousands of feet over several miles.
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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    (? what is the upper level called, cannot remember?)

    Bill
    "HC" or "Hors Categorie" is the top level
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  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The answer is a link from the page you provided.
    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/climb_information/
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    Thanks I didn't see that.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    It's whatever the marketing people decide.
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    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    There's an oft-repeated but probably untrue legend that cats were originally classified this way:

    If an old Citroen could climb a hill in 4th gear, it was a cat 4 hill.
    If the car needed 3rd gear, then it was a cat 3
    And so on.

    So I think of it this way:

    Cat 5 : Car can climb in 5th gear
    Cat 4 : Car needs 4th gear
    Cat 3 : Car needs 3rd gear
    Cat 2 : Car needs 2nd gear
    Cat 1 : Car needs 1st gear
    HC : Holy Crap!
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  13. #13
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    "HC" or "Hors Categorie" is the top level
    Barrett,
    I was asking about the top of the pro racing categories. Sorry if I wasn't clear. The HC I knew, just cannot recall what the ranks of the pros are individually called right now.

    Chasm,
    Thanks much, I hoped you would reply since you are in England and plugged in to the UCI regulations.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
    There's an oft-repeated but probably untrue legend that cats were originally classified this way:

    If an old Citroen could climb a hill in 4th gear, it was a cat 4 hill.
    If the car needed 3rd gear, then it was a cat 3
    And so on.

    So I think of it this way:

    Cat 5 : Car can climb in 5th gear
    Cat 4 : Car needs 4th gear
    Cat 3 : Car needs 3rd gear
    Cat 2 : Car needs 2nd gear
    Cat 1 : Car needs 1st gear
    HC : Holy Crap!
    I didn't know a 2CV had a 5th gear..

  15. #15
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogster View Post
    I didn't know a 2CV had a 5th gear..
    LOL

    I didn't say that it did. I described it from 4th gear downward, then said that "I think of it this way"... starting at 5th gear.

    I agree that - as charismatic and much fun as that car was, a 2CV with 5th gear would be like putting racing slicks on a donkey cart.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  16. #16
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    An old Citroen can go up a hill?

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  17. #17
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Here is some useful info. (It does reference the Citroen story, who knew that Citroens could climb hills!)

    http://www.sizes.com/sports/bicycle_hill_climbs.htm
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  18. #18
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    The other (perhaps unscientific) thing I do is ... rely on Strava.

    They have recently started allocating categories to hills. They seem to take both distance and grade into account, and looking at their rating of the TdF climbs, I'd suggest it isn't a bad standard to use.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  19. #19
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    It is my understanding, at least for the Tour de France, that the category a climb is classified as also depends on where the climb occurs during the route that day. For example, a normally categorized "2" climb that occurs early in the day could be up-categorized to a "1" climb if it occurs near the end of the stage. That takes into account the fact that people are "worn out" and "tired" later in a stage when the same climb would be more difficult than if it were attacked when everybody is fresh.

    On a side note, I've noticed that Strava has downgraded several local climbs in my area. Several that used to be Cat 3 climbs are now Cat 4 climbs. Anybody else see that in your area?
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