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Ultra Steep Climbs

Old 11-19-15, 12:04 AM
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jyl
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Ultra Steep Climbs

Stage 3 of the 2016 Vuelta will end in a "wall" finish. 2 km at 14% average grade with max 29% grade.

Stage 8 will end in a 10 km climb whose last 3 km are 12-16% grade and that has sections of 28%.

Hmm. I suppose I have climbed a 25% grade on a roadbike, but only for a couple dozen meters - I'm thinking of some parking garage ramps. I have never ridden an actual road of such a grade. I have encountered 15% grades on the road, and quickly been reduced to a groveling, straining, sufferer. Heck, 10% is a serious grade for me, I have to grit my teeth and concentrate, and if I look up and see the road climbing at 10% for kms ahead, I suddenly have an irresistible desire to pull over and take a pee/consult a map/have a cry.

Do you like the ultra steep, leg press climbs in a race? In a three week stage race, how many of these would you like - none, lots, a couple?

P.S. What was the rainy Italian stage a couple years ago, when the peleton ended up mostly walking up the climb?. Tirreno-Adriatico?
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Old 11-19-15, 08:28 AM
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Sounds like the stages that Tejay, if he does the Vuelta, will lose time.

From Wikipedia:
On the penultimate stage of the 2013 Tirreno–Adriatico, Phinney found himself well in arrears of the leaders on a tough finishing circuit, which included a climb at Sant'Elpidio a Mare with gradients reaching 27%, in heavy rain. Around thirty other riders in the group abandoned with over 100 km (62 mi) to go, but Phinney rode on alone in the hope of making the time limit, so he could compete in the next day's time trial. Ultimately, Phinney missed the cut by over ten minutes

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Old 11-19-15, 10:20 AM
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That the one. The road was wet and slippery, riders couldn't get traction out of the saddle and ended up walking the hill. Not often you see World Tour pros walking a climb when there is plenty of road to ride on.
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Old 11-19-15, 11:17 AM
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Phinney says he finished for his father. He wanted to abandon but the realization that his father could no longer have these types of "hard" days was inspiration for him to ride on.
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Old 11-24-15, 04:11 PM
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On stages like these, even the pros ride compacts. I don't know if they ever ride triples, though.
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Old 11-25-15, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
On stages like these, even the pros ride compacts. I don't know if they ever ride triples, though.
Triples (among other solutions) were used on the first couple of times the Vuelta went up the Angliru. They became unnecessary when compacts, long-cage derailleurs and MTB cassettes meant riders could achieve a near-enough 1:1 gear ratio with a double. No pro wouldn't be able to get up a 30% slope on a 36x32.
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Old 11-25-15, 01:36 PM
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That's insane. The old SFGP had a 20% section on Fillmore that seemed ridiculously steep. 29% seems impossible.

Here's the back of the pack paperboying it up the hill in the 2003(?) race.

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Old 11-25-15, 01:48 PM
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I've certainly climbed a 25% hill on a road bike. Not very long, two sections of about 200 metres each separated by a short false flat. Riding up them is one thing. Racing up them is quite another.

I don't really like these insanely steep climbs in races. What makes the mountain stages interesting is the application of pressure over time, and the repeated attacks. The sheer brute force stuff isn't as appealing.
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Old 11-26-15, 07:18 AM
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This is right out my front door and the site of one tough race each summer. First time I went up it was stupidly with a standard double. It totally kicked my butt despite the short distance. The pros come by every summer for the Tour of Utah but for some reason they always pass up this Mt pass.


This is the same mountain out my front door:

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Old 11-26-15, 08:39 AM
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I personally love those extra steep finishes. Like a sprint for punchers.
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Old 07-15-17, 04:31 PM
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33.6% Walk path

Never seen anything so steep that wasn't "stepped". The locals tell me that the fire dept. trains on this path. 211 feet length, 71 feet elevation gain. Path is paved and because it's only about 3ft wide, it has to be climbed straight up! Tried filming with static tripod set up but would go out of clear view after just 30 feet, so I decided to film myself while doing the climb, holding the camera! Hand-held segment starts at 3:05. Multi-shot segment starts at 1:25.

For every 6 feet traveled, you gain two feet in elevation! A lung buster!


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Old 07-15-17, 07:40 PM
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Professional Unicycling for the Fans!
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Old 07-15-17, 10:58 PM
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^^^^ Get that man a Coker Unicycle

The thing about a unicycle is that it has 1:1 gearing. So, on a 700c wheel, it would be like riding a 30:30 gearing.

Drop down to a 20" wheel or so, and it would be like a 20:30 gearing.

Still, not an easy climb.
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Old 07-15-17, 11:30 PM
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I could imagine some of those race climbs would be tough. But, those racers are also really fit.

There are a couple of hill climb rides up in Portland that average about 10% climbing, with a few segments peaking over 20%. For some reason, Strava has troubles with steepness calculations around 20%. Quite a few riders just leave me in the dust while attacking those hills. I did discover this spring that "compact" gearing helped a lot I don't know. Maybe I was stronger this year than last year, but dropping from 39-23? to 34-23 made a huge difference.

I could imagine spinning rear wheels when wet on those steep sections. Keep it seated in the saddle, and traction should be reasonable, but that would all depend on the actual gearing, and perhaps prerace planning by the mechanics support.
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