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What constitutes "hilly" for you?

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What constitutes "hilly" for you?

Old 08-20-15, 04:57 PM
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Oldguyonoldbike
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What constitutes "hilly" for you?

I live in what passes for a hilly area in Oklahoma, but I realize you would only call it hilly if you had spent a lot of time in the western part of the state. I would call it rolling terrain. On the other hand, the roads follow a grid pattern across nearly the whole state, so when there is a change in elevation the road does not follow the contours of the land at all; it goes straight up one side and straight down the other. I know what real hills look like (I lived in Tuscany for a long time, but my legs were younger then), and there aren't any real hills here.

Anyhow, this afternoon I rode 41 miles with a little more than 1800 ft. elevation gain and I feel like I got a good workout. How does that compare with where you guys ride? Am I just getting wimpy with age?
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Old 08-20-15, 05:08 PM
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My regular ride - I don't even understand flat.

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Old 08-20-15, 05:37 PM
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Your ride is a very different beast!

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Old 08-20-15, 05:41 PM
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Over the past three months, I have averaged 58ft/mi over roughly 1400 miles, for just a bit over 80,000ft of climbing. I don't even know what flat is. Climbing 1000ft in 10 miles is just a typical morning. Unfortunately, I have no options for flat rides-- but I do have this:



Which I consider something beyond hilly. 1800 in 40 miles is a perfectly sensible amount of climbing.
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Old 08-20-15, 05:57 PM
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My commute is completely flat.

My recreational riding isn't just hilly ... it's mountainous. I got a cyclometer with an altimeter some time ago to see how much climbing we were doing. I hardly bother looking anymore, because absent unusual circumstances, the total climbing almost always right about 100 feet per mile. So, your 41 mile ride would have had about 4100 feet.

To me, "hilly" is more in the nature of rolling terrain ... up and down climbs/descents of perhaps 100-200 feet again and again. That can easily up to the same 100 feet per mile or more, too.
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Old 08-20-15, 06:03 PM
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The Hilly Hundred - Brought to you by CIBA
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Old 08-20-15, 06:07 PM
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I always considered a ride hilly if it was a climbing square (100 feet per mile, on average). Anything less could be hilly if it had a flat warm-up and warm-down. Anything more is just plain fun.

That last comment is borne out of living in the Sacramento Valley for twenty years (makes pancakes look hilly). I learned to enjoy rides of 150-300 miles because that was necessary to get to the hills. Sacramento, like Texas, does teach one to ride in the wind and heat, but knowing how to do it well is not the same as enjoying it.
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Old 08-20-15, 06:10 PM
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I'm from Illinois, so any bump with a 5% grade that takes more than five minutes to climb is a hill to me.

That doesn't stop me from climbing a cumulative 9000 ft of hills in one morning in nearby Wisconsin: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/356683768

Or one 4000ft (5000 ft of climbing) mountain in Italy;


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Old 08-20-15, 06:14 PM
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We dont have mountains here but we do have as much climbing as you want. Our bigger ones are quite steep and 1.5mi, you can mix them in or avoid them. Unlike mountain passes, our rides can be varied or outright stacked up in a 200mi ride if you wish.

For me, it's hilly when you finish one and there is another within the mile, never letting up for 50 miles.
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Old 08-20-15, 06:26 PM
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Typical around here is about 50 feet elevation gain per mile. I'd consider 75 feet per mile hilly and 100 feet per mile mountainous.
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Old 08-20-15, 06:48 PM
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Around here it's hard to go on any ride without riding hills. Having said that, it's hard to differentiate between hills and mountains. Our "hills" might be skirting the lower reaches of the mountains, where the "mountains" might be the rides where the roads either rise to the passes between, or occasionally to or near their top. Below are a couple favourite rides - the first being along the lake with lots of bumps along the way. The second has an extended section of climbing, with beautiful views "almost" as nice as Italy, yet not a tough as the "recreational hills" that @Biker395 rides.







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Old 08-20-15, 07:09 PM
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What I consider "hilly" (Whittier Hills) and Mountains (GMR and 39) both average about 100 ft per mile round trip.

The difference is one has the up broken into 2-5 mile segments with about the same amount of down interspersed in about the same length segments, and the other is all up at once and then all down. Total elevation gain is about the same and incline on the up and down portions is closer to 200-300 ft per mile on either. Both about 60-70 mile rides.

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Old 08-20-15, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by freedomrider1 View Post
Signed up last night. No mountains in Indiana but this is one hilly ride! Been doing it since 1976
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Old 08-20-15, 07:23 PM
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Last Sat's ride was North on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock,NC, for a 25 mile out and back (50 mile total). The elevation gain was 7527' with 2- category 3 climbs, 2 - category 4 climbs, and 5 - category 5 climbs. I did the ride in 3h:38m on a 23 year old road bike hauling a 58 year old ass up those hills. That was hilly enough for me think about upgrading from a 53/39 to a compact 50/34.
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Old 08-20-15, 07:24 PM
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We're very hilly compared to rest of flat Florida. My rides tend to run around 30 to 40 ft/mi. But it's very different when I ride with my brother in North Carolina.
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Old 08-20-15, 07:27 PM
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Take your mileage, add two zeros. If that equals the elevation it was a hilly ride. Bonus points for any climbs over 5% and three miles in length.
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Old 08-20-15, 07:58 PM
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Hilly is 100 feet per mile around here.
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Old 08-21-15, 02:14 AM
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Until a month ago, my lowest gear was a 42/26, so pretty much a driveway cut in a curb was a hill for me.
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Old 08-21-15, 07:06 AM
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I have a route with a 1.6mi 300' hill, common to our area. We call it "Elmira Hill" though it is just out of Boyne Falls. The funny part of the ride is when you leave Boyne Falls and ride the 5mi flat stretch approaching The Hill. First time cycling this route I had a revelation. Even though I believed it to be a flat approach my chainring argued with me. Confused as to why my legs couldnt handle the big ring, I switched my gps to the elevation mode and freaked out (mildly). There was a steady gain of 1ft each 30ft for the most of it. Hmmm, ok. Turning the final curve, the hill came into view. Intimidating. There appeared to be a dip in the road that really is the only true "flat". Strange how angles are deceiving. In the total 7mi run there is a gain of 692ft. There was an approx 400' climb on the flats. Yes, the flats turned out to be more the climb than the big hill.

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Old 08-21-15, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyrat View Post
Until a month ago, my lowest gear was a 42/26, so pretty much a driveway cut in a curb was a hill for me.
Sounds like a vintage sweetheart.

My '77 Colnago Super has this (15-21 5sp):


My road warrior '88 Cannondale Criterium has a 39/53 Chainset and 12-28 7sp cassette. Much better on the knees.
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Old 08-21-15, 07:15 AM
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Daddy, what's a hill?

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Old 08-21-15, 07:17 AM
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50 feet elevation gain per mile is about as flat as it gets where I live although most would consider such a ride hilly. I use more than 75 feet per mile as the hilly yardstck. The hills should be long enough that jamming over them is not possible; otherwise, I'd call the terrain rolling.

Mountainous is more long climbs with gentle grades (usually under 10%)
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Old 08-21-15, 07:52 AM
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Anything over about 6% grade no matter how short, or about 30 feet climb is a hill to me.
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Old 08-21-15, 08:04 AM
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I charted 125 reports from the 2013 "Pissing Contest" yearly totals. The thread link is here

From the post:
There's more riders over 10,000 miles than I expected.

About 50 feet per mile over the whole season seems quite common. That's the 45 degree diagonal line from the 0,0 point. But the riders over 4,000 miles tend to be above that line, more like 60+ feet per mile.

The flattest territory award goes to fmy906, with 3,052 miles and 8,068 feet. Wow, 2.64 feet per mile! (He later replied: actually flatter than 2.64 ft/mi. I did one ride away from home with about 1100 feet of gain.)
Hilliest is robbyville, 3,546 and 284,311 feet. 80 feet per mile.
I've recently done a couple of very flat farmland rides. It was an interesting change for me, and I liked the long views out to the horizon. The local SW Ohio rides all have hills, and they help make the rides interesting.

Most local club rides seem to be in the 35-50 feet per mile range. 100 feet per mile rides are usually all up and down, with very little flat ground.

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Old 08-21-15, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Daddy, what's a hill?

Bill
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