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Old 11-23-09, 04:59 PM   #1
datlas
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Whiteface Mountain?

I am interested in trying to ride this (it's in NY state, adirondacks). Not interested in the annual "event/race" so I am wondering if I can just ride it on my own...is the road passable and with minimal traffic? Is this a reasonable recreational ride to do or am I nuts?

Doug
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Old 11-27-09, 11:24 PM   #2
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It is tough to say the least. Bad timing to do it now. You can climb it before/after the toll road opens but must be off the road when it is open to traffic. Gets very cold on the way down.
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Old 11-28-09, 01:20 PM   #3
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It is tough to say the least. Bad timing to do it now. You can climb it before/after the toll road opens but must be off the road when it is open to traffic. Gets very cold on the way down.

Yeah, very bad timing now, you might be able to ski it now as I think it has a few inches on it that may be icy..

Jay
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Old 12-01-09, 11:39 AM   #4
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I've gotten into a habit of riding it a few times over Memorial Day Weekend; morning's are cold, but not bad...as mentioned, you need to be off the road by 9am (depending on the time of year; see here.) I typically get going around 7am...get a ride in, relax the rest of the day and then head back around 4pm.

It's an awesome ride...tough if you're not used to climbing, but more than manageable (I can handle it on a standard double...though half-way up every time I curse the fact that I dont use my compact). One of my favorite descents too...lonnnngg stretches vs constant switchbacks.
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Old 12-04-09, 06:20 AM   #5
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Is this a reasonable recreational ride to do or am I nuts?
Depends on what sort of "recreation" you do and how low gears are on your bike -- and how much "tacking" (weaving from side-to-side) you do when climbing up the road.

Also how early in the morning you're able to start climbing so you can get up and down before they open it to car traffic.
If you ride in the evening after they close the road to cars for the day, would likely involve descending in the dark (or moonlight?) -- myself I'd rather do my descent with best light for seeing animals coming from the side.

There might be some times in late autumn when the toll road is no longer open for car traffic for the winter but there's no snow covering the road yet - (but right now today I've heard there's already snow on it)
Measuring the Difficulty: I've read that the steepness is a fairly steady 8-9% grade. (I've climbed it on cross-country skis, never on a bike, and 8-9% fit my experience that day). Around 3500 vertical feet of total climbing if you start down by Wilmington, less if you start at the gate of the toll section. So from a pedaling perspective it's basically just a long slog.

Scenery: On the other hand it does have some big views of the northern Adirondack mountains from much of the road -- unusual for cycling climbs in the eastern US. Likely most spectacular in springtime when there might still be some snow on the surrounding mountains (and alongside the Whiteface road) -- just after the Whiteface road gets free from snow. Something to think about is allowing extra time to hike from the top of the road to the summit of the mountain for even bigger views.

The simplest answer to "Is this reasonable?" is to find some 10-12% grade hills to practice on closer to home. When you feel comfortable doing repeats on those hills (perhaps with some alterations in gears and riding techniques), you're probably strong enough for Whiteface (on a dry non-windy day). Which still leaves the question of how early in the morning you need to start riding in order to be fast enough.

Ken

P.S. A more interesting long climb (more variations in steepness) is the north side of Mt Greylock starting near Adams MA (but with much less views from the road while riding) which last I checked is open for cyclists all day long (when snow-free).

And there's several tougher climbs open on public roads in southern New York and west + north New Jersey (also in New England states) -- so if you live near those areas, there's no need to drive so far (or work around daytime restrictions) to get to a serious challenge.

Last edited by Ken Roberts; 12-04-09 at 06:37 AM. Reason: fix a couple words
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Old 12-07-09, 12:43 PM   #6
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Here's some info on that plus a few others:
http://www.northeastcycling.com/Hill...aces.html#kanc
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Old 12-08-09, 01:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips, very helpful! I hope to take a trip to Whiteface in the spring.

Doug
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Old 12-09-09, 11:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips, very helpful! I hope to take a trip to Whiteface in the spring.

Doug
Depending on your budget, my go-to place to stay is Mirror Lake Inn...love that place...but a bit overkill if you're just focused on going out to Lake Placid for a ride up Whiteface (there are a few motels near the base that would be better suited then). I make a full trip out of it, and since I bring along someone who doesn't bike, it's nice to have a decent hotel.
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