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Memorable climbs

Old 03-05-19, 03:32 PM
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Memorable climbs

In 1981, I was 20 years old, and I gave my life (college, job, apartment) to travel. My father encouraged me, and he said that I wouldn't be likely ever again to have the unbounded time and the money to travel. Being 20 years old, I couldn't believe or grasp this, but I took his advice, which was to go until my money ran out. So of course, it was a memorable experience, traveling for three months wherever the rains led me. And I had a lot of rain.

My most memorable climb was in Harlech, Wales. I had developed a habit of pedaling up all the hills, resting when I needed but never walking. I remember on this hill, I had to stop and stand every few yards because it was so damned steep. Well, now I find out that Harlech has the steepest road in the world. I don't know if I took this exact route, but I did climb one of that town's steep roads.

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Old 03-05-19, 04:17 PM
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Tom,
Sorry to hear that you were bumped out of the top three fastest by these carbon fiber blokes. I still vote you #1 !
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Old 03-05-19, 04:39 PM
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^^

I am a true flatlander and had never ridden up any hill before my fiftieth birthday, but to my own surprise I am beginning to like climbs. Not that I'm any good at it. But still.

The one that came to mind immediately was a road in Tuscany I encountered a few years ago. Up to Volterra, IIRC. Pfffff .....

This was near the end:

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Old 03-05-19, 05:29 PM
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I've never been a good climber.

Anyone remember or ever do that road race in Putney VT? I was the team mechanic and driver one summer and I took a few of the guys to the road race up there. I wasn't going to race but I was going to ride the route. Well I for some reason decided this was a good task for my RIGI. Upon pulling it from the van I realized I had forgotten to remove the 12-21 FW and put on a 13-23 to go with the 42/52 on the Super Record cranks. To make a long story short it was a long slow ride up and over the mountain and when I finally made it back to van we discovered I had actually used a 12-19!!!
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Old 03-05-19, 08:23 PM
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The township road up to our house back in Ohio was surmountable on an upright bike. I couldn't do it on a road bike. It had a cinder/gravel surface, and was a half mile of Steep. I wonder if I could do it now.
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Old 03-05-19, 08:34 PM
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I've noticed that this area's "Mary Lane" near Meadow Vista gives me traction problems when cars pass, as I must stay off of the saddle and stay to the side of the road which is somewhat gravel-strewn. It's 20% as I recall, and makes for a high-intensity effort for 35 seconds than tapers off only slowly for the next hundred feet.
I don't like having to use any taller than a 42/28t or 39-26t ratio here!
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Old 03-05-19, 08:56 PM
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Watching that video of the North Wales climb, now i know why I use mountain style shoes and SPD compatible pedals. Never know when you're gunna have to walk a bit
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Old 03-05-19, 09:18 PM
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[lefLots of them in Vermont. My very first tour up Burke Mountain in 1980, Lincoln and Brandon Gaps, the long slog northeast out of Manchester to Peru...but my very first climb in 1972 on a Schwinn Varsity from Albany to the escarpment at Thatcher Park stands out to this day. I looked it up, here’s the money shot:
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Old 03-05-19, 09:19 PM
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Lots of them in Vermont. My very first tour up Burke Mountain in 1980, Lincoln and Brandon Gaps, the long slog northeast out of Manchester to Peru...but my very first climb at age 15 on a Schwinn Varsity from Albany to the escarpment at Thatcher Park stands out to this day. I looked it up, here’s the money shot:

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Old 03-05-19, 09:34 PM
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Never a good climber?

Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I've never been a good climber.
Upon pulling it from the van I realized I had forgotten to remove the 12-21 FW and put on a 13-23 to go with the 42/52 on the Super Record cranks. To make a long story short it was a long slow ride up and over the mountain and when I finally made it back to van we discovered I had actually used a 12-19!!!
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The Dirty Dozen Race is held in Pittsburgh, PA every year after right after Thanksgiving. It consists of climbing the 13 steepest streets in the city including Canton Ave. at 37%. It's the steepest paved road in the US.


@noglider Tom, great advice from your father. I'd did a similar thing except against my father's wishes and stretched it out off and on until I was 29.

All this talk of climbing makes me want to.... LAY DOWN!

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Old 03-05-19, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I've never been a good climber.

Anyone remember or ever do that road race in Putney VT? I was the team mechanic and driver one summer and I took a few of the guys to the road race up there. I wasn't going to race but I was going to ride the route. Well I for some reason decided this was a good task for my RIGI. Upon pulling it from the van I realized I had forgotten to remove the 12-21 FW and put on a 13-23 to go with the 42/52 on the Super Record cranks. To make a long story short it was a long slow ride up and over the mountain and when I finally made it back to van we discovered I had actually used a 12-19!!!
I loved that race. I was a 3 so I only got to do one lap, ~60 miles. You bettered me. I rode an easier 13-19 and never got to stretch out on that (yet to be marketed) 12..

Ben
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Old 03-05-19, 10:00 PM
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I used to do the Thatcher Park climb, and descent from Guilderland a few time a summer when I was a kid. Great ride, scary decent out of the other side of the park. Traffic, fast, sharp corners, and crappy old brakes.
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Old 03-05-19, 10:01 PM
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My neighbor and I are going to do the Whiteface mountain climb this spring in the Adirondacks.
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Old 03-05-19, 10:18 PM
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I've never lived anywhere with significant longer climbs, just lots of short steep climbs, more like sprints. Probably the closest I've been to real climbs would be San Diego and surroundings. Well, hang on a sec... now that I check Strava, Mount Soledad was a fairly significant climb -- 3.4 miles, 4% average, some steeper bits. Last time I tried it, I was in my 20s and wasn't trying to set any speed record on my 30 lb Motobecane, so it was challenging but not painful.

We don't have anything like that in this part of Texas. Best I can do is wait for a day with 20 mph headwinds and tackle local 2-6 mile 1% grades, wear a bandana on my head and pretend I'm a pirate.
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Old 03-05-19, 11:50 PM
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The house I grew up in was on a 17% grade, and I've always lived in hilly areas. Climbing and riding are almost the same thing.

Anyway, some favorite climbs off the top of my head:

Eureka Canyon Road starting in Corralitos, California. It goes up to the top of the Santa Cruz range. Quiet and shady redwoods.
Crater Lake in Oregon. I think it's the 62 from Klamath. Pretty easy 5% sort of climb, though it goes up above 7000 feet at the top. Snow in August. Mostly amazing because of Crater lake.
Gibraltar Road from Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez valley. Used to be no one knew about this climb. Now it's in the Tour of California. Still awesome.
Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley to the peak, I forget the name. It goes to the Zen center eventually. It's a gravel road, and few people are stupid enough to do it on a bike.

There are so many. The west coast is hilly. I apologize for the local bias, but I've never really ridden anywhere but California and Oregon. I did do some riding in Belgium and Holland a long time ago. There aren't any hills there.
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Old 03-06-19, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ascherer View Post
Lots of them in Vermont. My very first tour up Burke Mountain in 1980, Lincoln and Brandon Gaps, the long slog northeast out of Manchester to Peru...but my very first climb at age 15 on a Schwinn Varsity from Albany to the escarpment at Thatcher Park stands out to this day. I looked it up, here’s the money shot:
Oh Brandon’s Gap. I think we did that during the killington stage race, that was a beach too but at least I had a 13-23 or 25 and a 39 upfront
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Old 03-06-19, 06:18 AM
  #17  
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Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park, February 2000. This is around 6000 feet, IIRC. Nice 19 mile climb from the town of Three Rivers on General's Highway takes you to around 7700 feet. Epic, Tour de France / Giro-worthy climb with many switchbacks.

Feb is usually a good month to go up there, but the $20 entrance fee mostly keeps me away these days. They used to let bikes in for free back then, but not any more.

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Old 03-06-19, 09:56 AM
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When I was stationed at Alameda a group of us would ride up Joaquin Miller Road to Skyline Blvd and head north, toward the Caldecott Tunnel. The climb was not as steep as some of the others listed, but the reward was once we got on Skyline it was slightly downhill, with lots of twists and turns. It was like riding a roller coaster on your bike.
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Old 03-06-19, 10:27 AM
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I've done the Assault on Mount Mitchell a couple of times. I think it hurt more about 12 years ago, on a mountain bike, than it did the first time, on a Schwinn Varsity, when I was about 23.

Thunder Ridge in Lynchburg is pretty fun, 13 miles at a very steady 7%-8%, about 25 miles in. The course is set up well, as about 10 miles in, you get a 3/4 mile climb of the same pitch, when everyone stops chatting all of a sudden. The long climb is, in my mind, peaceful, and pretty.

Shop Hill in the Dairyland Dare, at about 100 miles in, well, that's a booger-bear. Mt. Tabor hill at the Hilly Hundred in Indiana is only about 350', but at 22%, a real stopper.

Running, I'd have to rate the Pikes Peak marathon as my worst climb ever, followed by Maggie Valley NC's 2.5 miles of horror in the Maggie Valley run. Heartbreak Hill in Boston and Lee's Revenge in Richmond are right up there. I've run the Wells Fargo climb in Raleigh, NC, 34 stories of stairs, and that's enough.
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Old 03-06-19, 10:38 AM
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Old 03-06-19, 11:02 AM
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Gibraltar Road above Santa Barbara kicked my butt on a nice day this past December. Not a vintage ride, I rode my 2007 Roubaix with a 30/30 best gear. My '73 Super Course has a 30/34, so maybe I should have ridden that. 4300' in 6.5 miles, grades over 15%. Its been on the Amgen Tour, and our club did it as a group ride. Needless to say the group got pretty thin soon. Glad it's over, no plans to go back. Heres a YouTube video I shot.

https://youtu.be/TwG6lBIMNsI





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Old 03-06-19, 11:03 AM
  #22  
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I rode Hillier Than Thou in New Jersey in September of 2017. The course was designed for maximum sadism. I made it, and I was able to stick to my personal challenge of not stopping during a climb. But damn, it was hard.

And I plan to do Dirty Dozen in Pittsburgh eventually, maybe even this year. It's held in November.
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Old 03-06-19, 11:28 AM
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There is a trail around Rural Retreat Lake, here in Virginia with one very short steep stretch. I don't think it's intended for bikes, but as a kid, I went for it. I can remember feeling like I was going to flip over backwards at any moment.

Probably qualifies since it was on a 1993ish Schwinn Moab.
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Old 03-06-19, 11:31 AM
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My memorable climb was going up to the campground at Wildcat Mountain State Park. A long steep climb in the rain, with fully loaded touring bikes. Got to the top, only to find that the last camp site had been taken by one of the cars that passed us on the way up.
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Old 03-06-19, 11:55 AM
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Age,knees, old mans lament . I was born in Binghamton NY in 1940 and road just about every street in town by 1950. There are some 20%+ paved roads there and I avoided them. This year I was back there with my Cannondale and I have a large gear cassette. I am now 78 with very bad knees but I wanted to try some of the old streets on the south side of town. I got up every one but had to stop and rest several times on longer ones. Restarting after a stop is hard if there is any traffic. I do remember these as great sledding streets in the winter.
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