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  1. #1
    Senior Member blacksquid's Avatar
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    Longer Hill Climbs

    I'm registered for Wintergreen again this year and, in hopes of improving my abysmal time last year, I'm training pretty hard. Part of my training plan includes some longer hill rides than I can get around D.C.

    So, BF collective, what are the 30 minute or longer climbs reasonably close to D.C.? I'm looking for consistent grade. I know I can ride out to Skyline Drive but would like something closer if possible.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I don't know of much that is closer than Skyline, but has 30-minute climbs. You can go over Route 601 (Blue Ridge Mountain Rd going past Mt. Weather). North to South is steeper but shorter. South to North certainly takes me 30 minutes to get from Paris to the highest point at about 1900 ft.

    If Thurmont Md. is not too far, the first stretch out of town through Catoctin Mt. Park has a nice longish stretch. This is the start of the Civil War century.

    Really that's all I can think of. If somebody comes up with something else, I'd like to know too!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member blacksquid's Avatar
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    Thanks forthe suggestion! Thurmont is a stretch but I hear there are a couple of nice rides out that way. I haven't checked the Potomac Pedalers site yet either.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    After your mention of the Wintergreen race, I had to ride it. I'd heard about it, but hadn't done it before. I went up there yesterday.

    Holeee Cah-rap! That is one seriously steep climb. On the way back up to the parkway, I was standing and pulling up on the bars, and my front wheel kept coming off the ground. It was an amazing day though -- in the sixties, just a bit too windy. My legs are killing me now.

    I'll have to try it again when I lose 15 pounds...

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  5. #5
    Senior Member blacksquid's Avatar
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    I'm still looking but I'll be riding Skyline Drive this Sunday.
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  6. #6
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    The final climb at Wintergreen is similar in pitch to the final climb at Mountains of Misery. As you discovered, Jim, sometimes standing is not the key to climbing these pitches: crouching low over the nose of the saddle, torso low over the bars will keep the front wheel from lifting. It's a survival tool needed on rides like the Garrett County Gran Fondo (a.k.a. the "Diabolical Double," which has more than one climb that tops 20% and one optional climb that hits 31% for about 30 meters).

    And Blacksquid: if you want to train for long, steep, sustained climbs, there aren't really any places close to DC - at least none closer than the Catoctins or the Blue Ridge area. For long, sustained climbing, Skyline Drive is your best bet, followed by rides out of Frederick and Thurmont into the Catoctins. Or if you are more adventurous, the West Virginia hill country has some gems, as well. Here's the basic gist (most of these are on the more hilly Potomac Pedalers rides led by club members):

    MD:
    - Sabillasville Rd (from US15 in Thurmont to Hilltop Rd in Sabillasville): 7.9 miles, 2.7% average grade, 9.2% max grade.
    - Foxville Rd/MD77 (from US15 in Thurmont to Stottlemyer Rd): 5.4 miles, 3.3% average grade, 13.2% max grade.
    - Park Central Rd (from Foxville Rd/MD77 to just past Camp David): 2.8 miles, 6.3% average grade, 12% max grade.
    - Catoctin Hollow Rd (from US15 to Mink Farm Rd, route here): 3.5 miles, 4.5% average grade, 14% max grade.
    - Gambrill Park Rd (from Shookstown Rd, heading north): 1.4 miles, 8.1% average grade, 12.5% max grade.
    - Hamburg Rd (from Indian Springs Rd to Gambrill Park Rd): 3.9 miles, 5.2% average grade, 16.6% max grade.
    - Harp Hill Rd (from MD17/Wolfsville Rd heading north): 1.9 miles, 6.6% average grade, 14% max grade.
    - Fishers Hollow-Highland School Rd (from Harmony Rd to Gambrill Park Rd): 2.7 miles, 6.7% average grade, 19.8% max grade.
    - Coxey Brown Rd (from Harmony Rd to Gambrill Park Rd): 1.9 miles, 9.7% average grade, 19.5% max grade.

    PA:
    - Pen-Mar/Pen-Mar High Rock Rd (from Waterloo Rd in Rouzerville, PA, to end of road): 3.4 miles, 6.1% average grade, 15.9% max grade. (I included this as it is on some hilly Potomac Pedalers rides)

    VA:
    - Naked Mountain/Leeds Manor Rd (south approach, from VA55 in Markham, route here): 3.5 miles, 3.9% average grade, 12.4% max grade (and tons of potholes).
    - Naked Mountain/Leeds Manor Rd (north approach, from US17 near Paris, route here): 3.3 miles, 3.0% average grade, 10.5% max grade (and tons of potholes).
    - Mt. Weather/Blue Ridge Mtn Rd/VA601 (you can ride this either from the south, starting at US50 northwest of Paris heading north, or on VA7 west of Bluemont heading south): 10.8 miles total, averages about 5.7% grade from either approach, 11.1% max grade (north-to-south), 12.1% max grade (south-to-north).
    - Blue Mountain Rd/VA638 (from Howellsville Rd to Freezeland Rd, route here): 5.0 miles, 6.0% average grade, 14% max grade, graded dirt for last 2 miles.
    - Skyline Drive (Front Royal entrance): 4.6 miles from US340 to Dickey Ridge, 5.5% average grade, 8.5% max grade.

    Looking a bit further afield:
    Howards Lick Road (WV, route here): 5.7 miles, 6.9% average grade, 19% max grade.
    Mountain Lake/Doe Creek Road (VA, from US460 to Mountain Lake Lodge, final climb on Mountains of Misery, route here): 4.9 miles, 7.4% average grade, 18% max grade.
    Last edited by songfta; 03-16-11 at 03:43 PM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for the great list. Snagged it!

    I saw a couple of riders heading up to the BRP on 56 from the Montebello side this weekend. Looked hairy. I want to try it

    I've ridden up from Vesuvius a few times, but not from the other side.
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