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Toughest ride?

Old 01-06-17, 07:53 AM
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digibud
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Toughest ride?

I enjoyed the "harshest weather" thread so I thought I'd ask "What is the toughest ride you've done?" For me it was climbing Mt. Lemmon. I'm in my mid 60's and weigh a bit over 200lb so cimbing is not my forte'. Neither is going fast . Mt Lemmon, in Tucson AZ is about 20miles of steady uphill. It's not really all that steep but it takes you up to around 8500' and for me, that was really, really difficult. I've done long climbs in Denali Park that hit 13% which are in some ways even harder but 20mi of climbing finishing at 8500' was, for me, one of the hardest rides I've ever done and couldn't have done it without a support car that had water. Being heavy and slow took a long time and plenty of water. What was your hardest ride if you had to pick one?
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Old 01-06-17, 08:27 AM
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This one:
http://www.strava.com/activities/339830098

The last 10k of the major climb was pretty difficult and the day was actually the hottest day of the year with temps reaching 37C in the Inn valley. I think I had roughly 7 Liters of water for the total ride and almost passed out at my lunch stop at the Brenner with still more than a 100k to go.

My legs worked surprisingly well even at the end until I sat in the train homebound, then I started to feel the exhaustion from the heat and the ride.

But it was still a great ride with lots of beautiful scenery.
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Old 01-06-17, 08:51 AM
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Seattle, WA to Ocean City, NJ via Bar Harbor, ME on 90 lbs. of bike and gear, in all sorts of weather and camping most nights.


The toughest day of that ride both mentally and physically was probably Hugenot, NY to New Hope, PA. Something like 134 miles with thousands of feet of climbing the day after a hurricane. I was constantly dodging downed branches. At one point I had to slide my rig under a downed tree and then wade through a creek which had overflowed its banks.


It wasn't supposed to be that long of a ride, but when I reached my intended state park campground along the Delaware River I found it closed due to flooding so I had to push on another 12 or so miles to a motel.
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Old 01-06-17, 08:55 AM
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Toughest ride I've ever done was on a cross country tour going west to east. The wind blew us across Montana and then it changed in North Dakota. There was an 80 mile day in the badlands of Western North Dakota with nothing but hills, headwinds, and no where to stop for water (it was really desolate). We brought a lot of water and we were really fit but struggled to average 8 miles an hour over the day. We got into town, decided to pay for a hotel rather than camp, and crashed.

Hardest ride I do know on a regular basis is the dairyland dare, https://www.dairylanddare.com

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Old 01-06-17, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
we were really fit but struggled to average 8 miles an hour over the day.

Heh. Winds in part of the world can crush even a very strong rider. Back in 2006 I did an organized tour in ND. One day we had an 18 mile stretch between rest stops over rolling terrain directly into the wind, with nothing to block it. My friend and I were struggling along when we saw a pick up by the side of the road with some coolers. It was someone working the ride who had water and Gator Ade. We stopped and asked the woman how far it was to the next stopped. She told us it was 9 miles, which meant we had come half way since the last stop. I said to my friend that I felt like we had been riding for an hour since we left lunch. My friend looked at me and said had been riding for an hour. Mind you, we were riding without gear. I remember getting into a tuck going down one roller and managing to hit a top speed of only 12 mph. While hanging out at the next stop a large SAG bus pulled in. It was packed with people who had given up during that stretch.


When crossing the country we were fortunate enough to have mostly tailwinds in MT and ND. What headwinds we had were not killer.
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Old 01-06-17, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. Winds in part of the world can crush even a very strong rider. Back in 2006 I did an organized tour in ND. One day we had an 18 mile stretch between rest stops over rolling terrain directly into the wind, with nothing to block it. My friend and I were struggling along when we saw a pick up by the side of the road with some coolers. It was someone working the ride who had water and Gator Ade. We stopped and asked the woman how far it was to the next stopped. She told us it was 9 miles, which meant we had come half way since the last stop. I said to my friend that I felt like we had been riding for an hour since we left lunch. My friend looked at me and said had been riding for an hour. Mind you, we were riding without gear. I remember getting into a tuck going down one roller and managing to hit a top speed of only 12 mph. While hanging out at the next stop a large SAG bus pulled in. It was packed with people who had given up during that stretch.


When crossing the country we were fortunate enough to have mostly tailwinds in MT and ND. What headwinds we had were not killer.

Hah, it was a 4 bag tour; those lowrider were great at giving us a larger profile going into the wind over 80 miles, . This was back before they rerouted the northern tier. The original route in western ND went through some neat areas.
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Old 01-06-17, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Hah, it was a 4 bag tour; those lowrider were great at giving us a larger profile going into the wind over 80 miles, .

Consider yourself lucky. I had large front bags from Robert Beckman Designs that were mid-mount, and my sleeping bag was lashed to the front rack platform. When I did hit headwinds and crosswinds things got interesting.
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Old 01-06-17, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Consider yourself lucky. I had large front bags from Robert Beckman Designs that were mid-mount, and my sleeping bag was lashed to the front rack platform. When I did hit headwinds and crosswinds things got interesting.
Yeah, that's absolutely right. Front bags are great like over 90% of the time; and then there are those days with head winds where you might as well be carrying a sail to slow you down. I think I'll take my low riders over your mid mount bags and sleeping bag in a headwind

Mountains and hills obviously can also be tough but head winds and rollers have to be the worst which is what I dealt with in ND.

Still for just climbing as a tough day, a day of hills tends to be worse than climbing mountains. Most paved mountain roads, in my experience, are graded; there can be crazy steep climbs on hills though. I've done some killer days in hills but I'll take them over wind.

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Old 01-06-17, 09:19 AM
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The very hilly Granbury 75 in 100+ degree weather.
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Old 01-06-17, 09:44 AM
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Any of my rides over 20 miles during the summer when the temp is over 110 degrees when I lived in Arizona. My last ride before we moved in July was 117 degrees. I got 10 miles into my 20 mile loop and had to cut it short and take the short loop back. I ran out of water (had 3 water bottles) and out of gas.

I've climbed my fair share of mountains and ridden my fair share of long rides but when it's 117 in the Arizona desert, riding takes on a whole different dimension. Unless you've experienced it first-hand, it's almost impossible to describe how hot it is.

A "dry heat" is still hot. I recall 100's of rides in the Southeast when it was 100 degrees and north of 98% humidity and it does not compare to 117 degrees in Arizona when two feet off the pavement it is 132 degrees.
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Old 01-06-17, 10:51 AM
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Well I really can't compare. My toughest ride I think had to be riding a too-small, heavy mountain bike on a rail trail with 20-30 MPH headwinds.
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Old 01-06-17, 11:18 AM
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Cascade River Road. According to both Strava and Garmin, I made the first ascent on a bicycle. Local lore says it's been done twice before, though. It was 47 miles total, 27 of them being dirt and the other 20 bad chipseal, with 4,500 feet of elevation gain, heat stroke, a snow nap, and two close bear sightings. I'd been wanting to do this ride for years and will remember it for the incredible scenery, the sense of freedom being on a bike instead of in a car, and the achievement, for the rest of my life.



I've spent a lot of time hiking, climbing, and backpacking in these mountains, and connecting it with cycling was wonderful.
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Old 01-06-17, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
I enjoyed the "harshest weather" thread so I thought I'd ask "What is the toughest ride you've done?" For me it was climbing Mt. Lemmon. I'm in my mid 60's and weigh a bit over 200lb so cimbing is not my forte'. Neither is going fast . Mt Lemmon, in Tucson AZ is about 20miles of steady uphill. It's not really all that steep but it takes you up to around 8500' and for me, that was really, really difficult. I've done long climbs in Denali Park that hit 13% which are in some ways even harder but 20mi of climbing finishing at 8500' was, for me, one of the hardest rides I've ever done and couldn't have done it without a support car that had water. Being heavy and slow took a long time and plenty of water. What was your hardest ride if you had to pick one?
FWIW I wish I could do that climb. I don't know how long I would last.
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Old 01-06-17, 11:36 AM
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Probably the first time I rode up Haleakala. That was a slog.
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Old 01-06-17, 11:56 AM
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My first summer in Colorado Springs, 25 years ago I rode up to Woodland Park via Rampart Range Road, which was just a dirt trail and unpaved fire road back then. I had the 40lb. 26x1.75 1987 Schwinn Cruiser Supreme I brought with me from Iowa. I had added the triple crank upfront, but still had street tires. It was about 25 miles going from 6500' to 8500' and took me 5 hours plus, as I was not in shape, and the street tires couldn't get a grip on the steep dirt sections. The pay-off, after a burger and a nap, was coasting back down on Highway 24. That was about 16 miles downhill with no pedaling except for a quarter mile by the "Rocking X" motel by Crystola (?). There is too much traffic now for me to even consider riding down that way again. The worst thing was that loose dirt climb made me buy knobby tires. And so I began commuting on the street on knobbies for ten years until I wised up.
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Old 01-06-17, 12:12 PM
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I did a solo ride through VT sticking mostly to the Green Mountains ACA Loop last summer. Rode 380 miles in 6 days on a mountain bike carrying 4 bags. Jay Peak and Middlebury Gap were killers for me. I remember being nearly in tears going up JP. I made the mistake of stopping midway up and my left leg seized on me. I couldn't dismount the bike. I thought I was just going to tip over. It passed and I made it the rest of the way up. Its funny - when I'm in a really difficult part of a tour I swear I will never do it again. Then I finish and start planning the next one.
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Old 01-06-17, 01:18 PM
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Mid July 1970 at the age of 14 I was going to ride to Lake Pleasant, camp overnight and ride home the next day. I thought I was prepared. I had been a paperboy until a few weeks previously. In addition I had ridden several longer rides around the valley thru the spring culminating in a 60 miler in late May.

I had an old 3-spd english racer that had been converted to single speed. Mom had helped me choose what to load my paperbags with. That's right my Mom helped. She always encouraged me to try new things then and later.

Problem was we overloaded the bike. I probably had 40-50 lbs of stuff for my overnighter. Then again not much more than a Sunday morning load of papers. I think I would have made it but a fair section of my chosen route was on soft gravel roads. Those roads were brutal!

To shorten the story I suffered mild heat exhaustion. The temp was around 113-115 F that day. The sun was relentless. By the time I was in the middle of the desert the little water I had was actually warm. I reached the point where I couldn't go on. So I stopped to take a nap figuring I would feel better later. A good Samaritan driving down the road stopped and convinced me to take a lift.

Later in HS I completed the ride. In January.
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Old 01-06-17, 02:36 PM
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My toughest ride so far was in flat terrain - 270kms in 17hrs on dirt roads, on a MTB.
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Old 01-06-17, 03:01 PM
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For me it's anytime I get into the mountains. I don't do it often enough to be great at that sort of climbing.
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Old 01-06-17, 03:59 PM
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Toughest were timed events. One 12,000 ft gain in 72 miles, the other 10,000 ft gain in 62 miles.

230 lbs and no I was not last. Placed 120 out of 400 riders.
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Old 01-06-17, 08:03 PM
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I've ridden four 1200 km randonnees ... they were pretty tough.

Or there was the century (100 miles) I did when the temp was -32.


In 2016, the toughest ride was probably our attempt at a 600K.

I had ridden a 400K in mid-August and broke a tooth, which put that ride into contention for toughest ride of the year. When I got home, I started the long root canal process which put a small dent into the training. Then 2 weeks after that ride, I developed a mystery rash, which looked very much like measles, from head to toe. So itchy and painful, mild fever, swollen glands. Many doctors, public health, lots of tests, and the rash remained a mystery. But I was off work, and off exercising for those 2 weeks. I just barely got back into it again, when I came down with a fever and flu ... one week before the 600K.

A week later, I was riding the 600K. Fortunately the route was flat or I don't think I would have made it the 390 km I did successfully manage to ride. But by then we were out of time and I just didn't have the energy to go on.
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Old 01-11-17, 08:41 AM
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Did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell 6 times

Did the Assault on Mt. Mitchell 6 times 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991,
but never came in with the top 100 riders.
My best time was in 7 hours and 3 minutes for the 102 mile ride.
From their web site The Assaults |
“The Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 102.7-mile self-paced ride, not race, from Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the summit at Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina—a total vertical ascent of more than 10,000 feet”.
I have 6 of these patches in my bike display case.

“Ora et labora” remaining in HIS peace
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Old 01-11-17, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
I enjoyed the "harshest weather" thread so I thought I'd ask "What is the toughest ride you've done?" For me it was climbing Mt. Lemmon. I'm in my mid 60's and weigh a bit over 200lb so cimbing is not my forte'. Neither is going fast . Mt Lemmon, in Tucson AZ is about 20miles of steady uphill. It's not really all that steep but it takes you up to around 8500' and for me, that was really, really difficult. I've done long climbs in Denali Park that hit 13% which are in some ways even harder but 20mi of climbing finishing at 8500' was, for me, one of the hardest rides I've ever done and couldn't have done it without a support car that had water. Being heavy and slow took a long time and plenty of water. What was your hardest ride if you had to pick one?
I climbed Mt. Lemmon a few times, way back in the 1970s, and you're right - it's an eye-opener! But it's a lot of fun flying down.

My most difficult day on a bike was during an organized ride in Colorado called "The Courage Classic", which is a charity ride benefiting the Children's Hospital in Denver, in 1993 or 1994. They made us ride over 3 mountain passes in one day (Battle Mountain, Tennessee Pass, and Fremont Pass) and I will never, ever forget the pain However it is also one of my proudest days on the bike. I think total mileage for the day was about 60.
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Old 01-11-17, 08:11 PM
  #24  
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About 30 years ago, probably the Mexicali-San Felipe. Mostly flat 125 miles or so, seemed deceptively easy, but I wasn't really prepared. Didn't pace myself well, didn't drink enough water (and drank too much beer that day). Had a pretty bad headache after the ride.

Nowadays my toughest rides are solo, the hilly, windy semi-rural route along open prairie west of Fort Worth. Varies from 20-40 miles depending on the route, and I've made gradual progress over the past year, increasing from 10 mph average to 14 mph average yesterday.
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Old 01-11-17, 08:16 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by drlogik View Post

A "dry heat" is still hot. I recall 100's of rides in the Southeast when it was 100 degrees and north of 98% humidity and it does not compare to 117 degrees in Arizona when two feet off the pavement it is 132 degrees.
I've wondered about that. Lived in AZ years ago and wasn't riding at the time (I now regret not having ridden Mt. Lemmon). I found that playing golf in AZ at 117 is much easier than playing in Florida in the high 90s. But there's no radiant heat issue on the golf course.
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