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Found a few hills in Florida

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Found a few hills in Florida

Old 07-26-16, 06:32 AM
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Found a few hills in Florida

I was awakened abruptly to the fact that we here in Florida actually have some hills. I've been riding my road bike a few times weekly and had considered myself a pretty strong rider on on my usual route which had a few rolling hills but nothing to speak of. Well, last Sunday I was unloading my bike where I park around 7:30am to go for a quick 20-30mi ride when I see the group leaving my lbs for their Sunday ride and at the end of it was a friend of mine yelling "come on Dave, join us" as the sped by, I though what the heck and caught up to the pack.

Upon joining, they said we were out to do 60mi with a few hills and ride at a 20mph pace so I was looking forward to the challenge and did really good, I picked up some pack skills and overall enjoyed the experience. Around the 40 mile mark they started picking up the pace heading down some busy roads leading to some rolling hills with some elevation one of which was the dreaded Sugarloaf climb which itself is a 14-17% grade and 3/4mi long. Doesn't sound like much on paper but 40 miles in I was spent and didn't pace myself for what I was about to overcome. I dismounted briefly about 2/3rds of the way up to collect myself, get hydrated, then climbed back on the bike and finished the hill. Quite the challenge for me at a time when I consider myself somewhat out of biking shape. With the kids out of school I only have one day to ride during the week plus had two weeks off for vacation leading up to this ride where I gained almost ten pounds eating like a pig up in Boston.

Another thing to mention is I was geared up for a shorter flat ride where I only had one water bottle, no snacks, and no sunscreen. While this experience left me exhausted with my legs still feeling it now 2 days later, I'm looking forward to doing it all over again in better shape and prepared. I'm off tomorrow and plan to park at the bottom of Sugarloaf to do some hill repeats and possibly join the group again on Sunday? All in all we ended up doing 60 miles, just over 2,000 feet of climbing, and averaged 18mph for the ride. A new personal best for me and a new appreciation for elevation.

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Old 07-26-16, 06:55 AM
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Sugarloaf's a beast for us Floridians. I didn't make it my first time up, either. Glad you found a group to ride with. You're a lot closer to the hills in Apopka than I am in East Orlando.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
Around the 40 mile mark they started picking up the pace heading down some busy roads leading to some rolling hills with some elevation one of which was the dreaded Sugarloaf climb which itself is a 14-17% grade and 3/4mi long.
Maybe my maths are bad, but isn't a 14% grade over 3/4 of a mile about a 550 foot gain, which is higher than the peak elevation of Sugarloaf (not to mention it's prominence)?

Wiki has elevation of Sugarloaf at 312 feet, prominence at about 250 relative to surroundings. Sounds like a nice ride you had though.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc
Maybe my maths are bad, but isn't a 14% grade over 3/4 of a mile about a 550 foot gain, which is higher than the peak elevation of Sugarloaf (not to mention it's prominence)?

Wiki has elevation of Sugarloaf at 312 feet, prominence at about 250 relative to surroundings. Sounds like a nice ride you had though.
Perhaps the OP can confirm the road, but yeah, it's a climb but not 14-17% at least not per Strava: https://www.strava.com/segments/637075

Edit: If you look solely at the spot where it gains elevation, the climb is significantly tougher: https://www.strava.com/segments/637166

Last edited by joejack951; 07-26-16 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:31 AM
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I commented in another recent thread mentioning Sugarloaf.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Perhaps the OP can confirm the road, but yeah, it's a climb but not 14-17% at least not per Strava: https://www.strava.com/segments/637075

Edit: If you look solely at the spot where it gains elevation, the climb is significantly tougher: https://www.strava.com/segments/637166
So that second one is a bit over 200 feet over a little more than half a mile I think - yes?

Silly Floridians
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Old 07-26-16, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc
So that second one is a bit over 200 feet over a little more than half a mile I think - yes?

Silly Floridians
I didn't want to say it...

If they head approximately due north, they can try this actual 14% climb: https://www.strava.com/segments/1286472

Only did it once, but I was sure happy to have a 30/27 low gear on my bike.
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Old 07-26-16, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc
Maybe my maths are bad, but isn't a 14% grade over 3/4 of a mile about a 550 foot gain, which is higher than the peak elevation of Sugarloaf (not to mention it's prominence)?

Wiki has elevation of Sugarloaf at 312 feet, prominence at about 250 relative to surroundings. Sounds like a nice ride you had though.
It's the internet. The way things work here is 'internet claim = 2*reality'
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Old 07-26-16, 10:39 AM
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Hey guys, be easy on me here, this was my first experience with any type of elevation other than an overpass on my road bike. The good thing is that it left me wanting more! It seems the average grade is 7-8% over the whole .75mi with a few spots in the 14-17% range.

Last edited by dvdslw; 07-26-16 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 07-26-16, 10:39 AM
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The Thomas B. Manuel Bridge is the highest hill in Florida...
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Old 07-26-16, 11:12 AM
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Try climbing it standing up, next time.

I don't mean stand up and go full gas, I mean stand up and take it "easy". I find that for steep stuff that I'm not really well-geared for, I can sometimes conserve energy and climb better while standing. I'm not going any faster than those spinning on their more appropriately geared rigs, but I can, at least, continue moving up the hill. And for something 0.8 miles long, the strategy might just cover the distance.

YMMV.
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Old 07-26-16, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
Hey guys, be easy on me here, this was my first experience with any type of elevation other than an overpass on my road bike. The good thing is that it left me wanting more! It seems the average grade is 7-8% over the whole .75mi with a few spots in the 14-17% range.
Hills are fun. Mountains are fun, but not as painful because you have time to adjust mentally. Stick with steep hills.


Good river bluffs and places like the driftless region of Wisconsin are places you can hurt.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:07 PM
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Because everyone else here are jerks, let me be the first to say congrats. 60 miles with no food and one bottle of water is pretty nuts, no matter how many hills there are.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:55 PM
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I didn't think anyone was being a jerk, just offering a bit of a reality check. And we all know that when you're not used to climbing, 7% over 0.8 miles feels exactly like 14-17%!

Good work Dave. Climbing is hard, fun, and addictive. Keep going back and you'll get faster every time (for a while, at least), especially if you bring enough water
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Old 07-27-16, 11:01 AM
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Yeah, there are hill in Florida. I used to live in Clermont before we moved out to Seattle, and the main reason for choosing that area was to be near all the good riding.

Check out the Horrible Hundred route, it is a long standing event beginning and ending at the waterfront park in Clermont. I used to do that one every year when I lived there. My understanding is that the 2015 version had 4300 feet of climbing, so it encompasses most of the good climbs.

Keep exploring, as a former local there are more hills in that whole Clermont/Monteverde/Ferndale/Groveland area. And remember your hydration and sunscreen next time - heat exhaustion is a serious threat in Florida this time of year.
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Old 07-27-16, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
the group leaving my lbs for their Sunday ride

Which shop? And do they do a ride with Sugarloaf on Saturdays? I've been wanting to do Sugarloaf for years now.
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Old 07-27-16, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota
Which shop? And do they do a ride with Sugarloaf on Saturdays? I've been wanting to do Sugarloaf for years now.
Winter Garden Wheel Works, great bunch of folks there. The Sunday ride leaves right at 7:30am right in front of the store. They do have a Saturday ride as well with less miles and I believe the route changes depending on who shows up but the ride leader loves hills.

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Old 07-27-16, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
Winter Garden Wheel Works, great bunch of folks there. The Sunday ride leaves right at 7:30am right in front of the store.
Thanks. Any Saturday morning rides?
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Old 07-27-16, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota
Thanks. Any Saturday morning rides?
Sorry, yes they do. I'm always working so I haven't personally been on that one but they said it's usually slower and shorter than Sunday.
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Old 08-25-16, 02:36 AM
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Does anyone have access to a Horrible Hundred map? I'd like to scope it out soon to see what I'm up against. Even last year's map would help so I can get an idea. I live about two hours away but will be in that area next month. The website doesn't have the maps yet.
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Old 08-25-16, 03:22 PM
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The steep part of Sugarloaf is definitely double digit grade, but only for a few hundred yards.

What makes it hard is doing it at race pace. The sugarloaf road race used to do the climb 7 times. Basically if you couldn't do it in the big ring you were off the back.

If you look at the KOM times people are doing at 15 plus mph

Race of the West starts with a nuetral climb of the back side, and finishes with a climb of the hard side. Plenty hard way to end a race

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Old 08-25-16, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob
Does anyone have access to a Horrible Hundred map? I'd like to scope it out soon to see what I'm up against. Even last year's map would help so I can get an idea. I live about two hours away but will be in that area next month. The website doesn't have the maps yet.
One more time if you haven't checked the other threads......

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/11000991
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Old 08-25-16, 07:12 PM
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Head down to San Antonio (FL) for some more hilly fun. Some great rides and a great cycling culture.
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Old 08-25-16, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Wested
Because everyone else here are jerks, let me be the first to say congrats. 60 miles with no food and one bottle of water is pretty nuts, no matter how many hills there are.
he should have only been hungry about an hour of that. big whoop
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Old 08-25-16, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
he should have only been hungry about an hour of that. big whoop
Hey, cool, you're a dick.
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