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The hardest climb you have ever made?

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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

The hardest climb you have ever made?

Old 07-19-20, 04:06 PM
  #101  
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A week ago I have climbed the Mont St-Joseph in Carleton sur mer in province of Quebec, Canada. That has been my thoughest climb to date. It is mostly in the 15% to 16% with some stretch that reach 21%. It's about 4 kilometrer long (2.5 miles).
Few days before I have climbed the 'Pic de l'aurore' going east. It is in Percé, Quebec. This one too reach 21% at some point but is shorter. In the same village I've done 'La route des failles'. If you do it clockwise, the first hill get to 21-22%. That is a tough one too.
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Old 07-19-20, 06:56 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by abourgault View Post
A week ago I have climbed the Mont St-Joseph in Carleton sur mer in province of Quebec, Canada. That has been my thoughest climb to date. It is mostly in the 15% to 16% with some stretch that reach 21%. It's about 4 kilometrer long (2.5 miles).
Few days before I have climbed the 'Pic de l'aurore' going east. It is in Percé, Quebec. This one too reach 21% at some point but is shorter. In the same village I've done 'La route des failles'. If you do it clockwise, the first hill get to 21-22%. That is a tough one too.
Yikes, anything over 10% is too much for me. I would need very low gearing to do that, and even then I probably couldn't.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:05 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by abourgault View Post
A week ago I have climbed the Mont St-Joseph in Carleton sur mer in province of Quebec, Canada. That has been my thoughest climb to date. It is mostly in the 15% to 16% with some stretch that reach 21%. It's about 4 kilometrer long (2.5 miles).
Few days before I have climbed the 'Pic de l'aurore' going east. It is in Percé, Quebec. This one too reach 21% at some point but is shorter. In the same village I've done 'La route des failles'. If you do it clockwise, the first hill get to 21-22%. That is a tough one too.
merci pour l´info! Je vais aller tenter la montée en Gaspésie cet été en août. Je ne connaissais pas cette montée.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:42 PM
  #104  
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*Almost* made in up Marin Ave in Berkeley, CA, before I accidentally pulled my front wheel up on the steepest section (25-30%?) for a few seconds and freaked myself out.
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Old 07-19-20, 08:44 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
If Gaimon does it in 16 minutes, it probably takes me 32.
The trick is to find a good wheel to follow...

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Old 07-20-20, 09:35 AM
  #106  
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Hardest hill I have ever climbed had to be Suicide Hill. Eight years old on Schwinn Mini Thrasher BMX bike. Probably 15-20% for 500m.

Honestly don't recall if I ever made it all they way up on my bike. But the ride down was awesome!
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Old 07-20-20, 10:01 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I live near the base of it. I was specifically referring to the race.
I'm thinking about doing this (Whiteface) next year, just on my own. I'm trying to decide if doing it this year is a good idea. But if I do this, it would be my hands down biggest climb.

My brother lives in Plattsburg haven't seen him in a while. I'm assuming it's better to do this during the week? It would be nice to eat lunch at the top, don't think that is an option right now?
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Old 07-22-20, 06:02 PM
  #108  
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My understanding of the Whiteface Toll Road is that it is for cars only until 6 pm. when it closes and bicyclists can then sneak around the gate for a ride up. Maybe the Lake Placid guys could chime in.
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Old 07-23-20, 06:22 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
I'm thinking about doing this (Whiteface) next year, just on my own. I'm trying to decide if doing it this year is a good idea. But if I do this, it would be my hands down biggest climb.

My brother lives in Plattsburg haven't seen him in a while. I'm assuming it's better to do this during the week? It would be nice to eat lunch at the top, don't think that is an option right now?
I climbed Whiteface 3 times in one day last year in preparation for the Italian alps and Dolomites. You pay $8US once and then you can climb as much as you want. I made my first ascent leaving from Jay (I always park there) near the village park. Then I paid the 8$US at the fence, they give you a ticket and you can climb it as much as you want. My second climb I just did from the fence to the top twice then my third climb I went back to Wilmington. I was going to do the Ironman Lake Placid bike route loop but it was raining when I was arriving at the ski center parking so I can back and climbed it the third time from Wilmington village.

one of my favourite climb.
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Old 07-23-20, 07:28 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by dr_max View Post
I climbed Whiteface 3 times in one day last year in preparation for the Italian alps and Dolomites. You pay $8US once and then you can climb as much as you want. I made my first ascent leaving from Jay (I always park there) near the village park. Then I paid the 8$US at the fence, they give you a ticket and you can climb it as much as you want. My second climb I just did from the fence to the top twice then my third climb I went back to Wilmington. I was going to do the Ironman Lake Placid bike route loop but it was raining when I was arriving at the ski center parking so I can back and climbed it the third time from Wilmington village.

one of my favourite climb.
Good info thank you.
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Old 07-23-20, 03:17 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
Good info thank you.
no problem!

It’s all new tarmac since 2015. The descent was so dangerous with the bumpy tarmac in 2014 on my way down.

since the new tarmac has been done, it’s he most beautiful climb in North America it’s incredible Panorama in the 2 last turns with Saranak Lake and Lake Placid.

if borders weren’t closed, I would be going there every 2 or 3 week ends
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Old 07-23-20, 08:00 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by dr_max View Post
no problem!

It’s all new tarmac since 2015. The descent was so dangerous with the bumpy tarmac in 2014 on my way down.

since the new tarmac has been done, it’s he most beautiful climb in North America it’s incredible Panorama in the 2 last turns with Saranak Lake and Lake Placid.

if borders weren’t closed, I would be going there every 2 or 3 week ends
Yes I don't want to have to isolate when I return home. I have a co-worker who drove to Florida, while in route the state decided to self-isolate out of state so when they got there they couldn't move about like normal. Then NJ did the same thing when he returned so he was out of work for almost a month and had a crappy vacation. So you rally have me excited for this ride but I think it prudent to wait until next year. Around here in NE PA we have some hills, from my house within minutes I can get to several hills of a steady 1500-1600 feet at about 7-8%
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Old 07-23-20, 08:20 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
Yes I don't want to have to isolate when I return home. I have a co-worker who drove to Florida, while in route the state decided to self-isolate out of state so when they got there they couldn't move about like normal. Then NJ did the same thing when he returned so he was out of work for almost a month and had a crappy vacation. So you rally have me excited for this ride but I think it prudent to wait until next year. Around here in NE PA we have some hills, from my house within minutes I can get to several hills of a steady 1500-1600 feet at about 7-8%
the funny thing is that the last time I went there I did not come across anyone, was alone on the roads.
was alone in the park where I parked my park. Never came across any cyclist because it was a really hot week day last July 2019.

I would probably have less risk being affected by Covid-19 going cycling in the US than shopping at the grocery store where I live.
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Old 07-23-20, 09:58 PM
  #114  
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I had some trouble on Tioga pass- didn't think it would be a big deal as it's not that steep,
but it was toward the end of a 70 mile loop (speed wobble on the way down!), cramped a few hundred yards from the pass & had to stop.

On a local ride called "the fearsome five"- 129, 16k- I had a slow leak on the last climb, and struggled to keep going on the last, steep bit.
Almost on the rim, within earshot of those waiting at the top, blinded by sweat in the eyes, and red-lining, I went off the pavement
and had to pump the tire.

The "Terrible Two", is not one climb, but 18k for the day, including some quite steep and hot, is hard.
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Old 07-24-20, 01:53 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
I had some trouble on Tioga pass- didn't think it would be a big deal as it's not that steep,
but it was toward the end of a 70 mile loop (speed wobble on the way down!), cramped a few hundred yards from the pass & had to stop.

On a local ride called "the fearsome five"- 129, 16k- I had a slow leak on the last climb, and struggled to keep going on the last, steep bit.
Almost on the rim, within earshot of those waiting at the top, blinded by sweat in the eyes, and red-lining, I went off the pavement
and had to pump the tire.

The "Terrible Two", is not one climb, but 18k for the day, including some quite steep and hot, is hard.
Right, it is also the distance you have already covered. Looking at the profiles of the passes I want to do next, including Stelvio hopefully this year, I don't think any will be a problem if you just go bottom to top and that is it. However, once you add miles before that, or even do 2 or 3 passes in one ride, I think then you really need to think about pacing yourself and fuelling and it will get tough. Particularly on ones above 2000m altitude.
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Old 07-24-20, 01:24 PM
  #116  
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Measured by number of failed attempts, it would be the steep ~100' hill leading to my childhood home.

Took a year or more before managing to mail-man up without stopping.
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Old 07-24-20, 02:49 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Right, it is also the distance you have already covered. Looking at the profiles of the passes I want to do next, including Stelvio hopefully this year, I don't think any will be a problem if you just go bottom to top and that is it. However, once you add miles before that, or even do 2 or 3 passes in one ride, I think then you really need to think about pacing yourself and fuelling and it will get tough. Particularly on ones above 2000m altitude.
I did Stelvio last year from Prato, the classic way. Not that hard (I love climbs), but perhaps one of my most favorite rides ever. I wanted to descend into Bormio and then ascend again, but there was a heat wave going on and it was too hot by the time I finished the first ascent. You can also do from Switzerland, which is where I descended.

Wanted to reattempt it this year, but COVD has me grounded. Still might happen.
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Old 07-24-20, 06:58 PM
  #118  
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The hardest ride I ever did was my first road bike ride in 15 years, right after moving to the SF Bay Area in the mid 90s. I borrowed a friend's bike and went with him and a group of his friends up Mt Hamilton. It's not a particularly difficult ride, except I was completely unprepared for it. I thought I was going to die. Several times. But they all did it with ease, riding very slowly (kindly, on my behalf) and chatting while I was doing my best to stay upright and turn one pedal at a time. I made it though; I felt like this would be a ton of fun and very enjoyable if I could do it as easily as them - so by next week I had bought a bike and was hitting the hills 2-3 times per week to get in cycling shape.
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Old 07-25-20, 07:08 AM
  #119  
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I'd have to say Mt. Evans when I went out CO for a few weeks. Not the length or grade - after 13.000 feet I don't care how acclimated you are, it's hard to breathe. I rode up from the Evergreen side.
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Old 11-12-20, 05:58 PM
  #120  
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I've done bigger climbs, especially in the himalaya but I think for me the hardest climb is Corral Pass Road, FS7174. Its the mountain bike access to the best loop ever. A 3300ft dirt road climb that averages 9%. What makes it tough is that I'm on a singlespeed. I measure the difficulty by how many breaths I take per bicycle crank rotation. During the steep bits its 3 breaths per rotation and I sort of cant believe I can keep going. The climb takes me 1:25-1:30, so many switchbacks and just trees for company.

Once you are at the top youve still got more climbing and 15 miles of incredible singletrack before you're back to where you started.

Problem with tough climbs is that there's no photo evidence. The hardest days there was no time to take a picture. Here was a tough day I had in the indian himalaya, I had just crossed a pass and must now descend down to the river, then push bicycle up that steep sandy thing on the other side. Worst part is I had another day before Id get to a village and was already really low on food. No stove, cashews, cookies and candy for dinner.


View down to the Oma-Chu and Jinchen from Parfi-La.
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Old 11-12-20, 06:42 PM
  #121  
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Del Puerto canyon road in NorCal/Patterson CA. It's the eastern route up to Mt. Hamilton by San Jose. First time didn't make to the top before turning around, didn't know I was a 1000 yds shy of the peak. Have since gone several times. TOC swept through there, it is comical to compare the times of mere mortals to those superhumans.
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Old 11-13-20, 01:07 AM
  #122  
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In the Pacific Northwest we have an annual “fun” ride which used to be a timed race. Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day (RAMROD) is a 154 mile (248 km) timed cycling event around Mount Rainier National Park, with approximately 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of climbing over two mountain passes with an average grade of 8.5%. I have ridden it twice. First was on my double chain ring 1987 Bianchi. The second was as a stoker on a racing tandem. We were the first tandem into the park, but was crushed by the other tandems piloted by Cat 1 types and were the last one out, except for 2 others. Climbing on a 55 lb tandem is absolutely brutal. Everyone loves to draft on the flats but then all the suckers pass on the climbs. It was fun on the descents blasting by everyone and watching them futility try to sprint to grab our wheel but never catching us. My max speed on any bike was descending the second pass at 62.5 MPH. it was scary fast.
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Old 11-13-20, 03:03 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
BITD I toured Andalucia for 7 weeks. Grades can get ugly with no notice. One day I wanted to go into the center of a town for snacks or something. There was a warning sign informing people that the grade hit 14%. Spent a couple of nights on the coast below Mojacar. Took a day ride into town with the gear back at camp. Even with a 22x34 low gear I had to walk a bit. I think they built a lot of small towns up on steep hills so they could throw hot oil down on invaders.
Originally Posted by mercator View Post
Exploring back roads in the south of Spain, I found a paved (concrete) road that went up so hard I could barely turn the cranks. The garmin reported the grade to be 29%
Grades around 20% are relatively common in certain areas of Spain, especially on backroads. On my commute I regularly climb (climbed before Covid at least) a 3km road that goes over 20% in a couple of places, and that's near Barcelona, not in the Pyrenees.

There's a place near where I live with an extremely short paved 35% climb. It's not even comfortable to climb with mountain bike gearing.

To be honest, lots of cyclists avoid such a steep climbs here. Others, including me, don't. A compact is a must here IMHO. I'm running a 34-32 low gear and I've struggled more than once.

As an example, this is 30km from my home:


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Old 11-13-20, 03:53 AM
  #124  
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altitude is usually the biggest game-changer.
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Old 11-13-20, 01:10 PM
  #125  
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I lived at the foot of Piancavallo in Northern Italy for years. They raced a Giro stage on it this year. I was a tough climb but there was another route up on the back roads that was tougher but there was no traffic. There were also several "white roads" that we went up on MTBs to access the trails up there. They were full of large, loose rocks. Those were the worst...
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