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The hardest climb you have ever made?

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The hardest climb you have ever made?

Old 06-24-20, 05:55 AM
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dr_max
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The hardest climb you have ever made?

Mine was Monte Zoncolan last summer in Italy, felt a bit harder than the Mortirollo. Has yet to try Angliru and Mona Koa
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Old 06-24-20, 07:45 AM
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Series of climbs on Garrett County Gran Fondo Diabolical Double 16,500’ over 125 miles. Lincoln Gap for just plain stupid sustained steep.
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Old 06-24-20, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by waters60 View Post
Series of climbs on Garrett County Gran Fondo Diabolical Double 16,500’ over 125 miles. Lincoln Gap for just plain stupid sustained steep.
I was just thinking of this yesterday, though 20 years have passed since I made the climb. Morgan County, Ohio. A county road, between my house and my business partner's place. A short, straight hill, with a stop sign at the top. I wouldn't even attempt it now.
edit: I don't know why I quoted this one. I've been doing that lately, for no reason.
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Old 06-24-20, 08:57 AM
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North Cascades Highway from Colonial Creek Campground to Washington Pass on a fully-loaded (90 lb.) bike. 25+ miles. At some point it started raining. Then the rain turned to snow before Rainy Pass and continued to Washington Pass. No services until the town of Mazama, about 42 miles from the start.


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Old 06-24-20, 09:20 AM
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^^^^Looks like you needed an ice pick and crampons for that jaunt.
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Old 06-24-20, 09:33 AM
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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%
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Old 06-24-20, 10:13 AM
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Haleakala. It's not that steep, but man it's a long grind. That, and I was really affected by the altitude the first time I did it.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:19 AM
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Monte Grappa in the Dolomites. I was with a group, but being the oldest and fattest member of the bunch, it was a solo grind all the way. I have done higher and longer climbs, but that one was the hardest.

Last edited by mgopack42; 06-24-20 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:24 AM
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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%
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.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mgopack42 View Post
Monte Grappa in the Dolomites. I was with a group, but being the oldest and fattest member of the bunch, it was a solo grind all the way. I have done higher and longer climbs, but that one was the hardest.
Went to the Italian Cycling Center in 2013. The residences are a short ride from the start of the climb up the western slope. The beast in our group was the only one who did the climb. He said it was extremely hard. To boot, there was snow on the sides of the road at the higher elevations. Very cold, wet spring that year.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:43 AM
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The hardest climb was Mount Ventoux, France.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:43 AM
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Cascade River Road. 45 miles of sandy gravel, and 2 bears. First hot day of the year.
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Old 06-24-20, 11:07 AM
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End of this summer I am planning/trying to ride from Gatlinburg to Clingmans Dome. It's 23 miles of climbing, it's all National Park road so I think the average is 5% grade. But, for a guy who grew up riding in Florida, it should be a lot of fun...
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Old 06-24-20, 11:11 AM
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Great thread. Hardest was trying to stay with the lead group on the short, steep climbs in the Nevada City Classic. Longest sustained effort was Monitor pass in The Sierra Nevada's, in freezing temps.
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Old 06-24-20, 11:22 AM
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Hard to give one "hardest". Different climbs are hard for different reasons. Three of mine were on hills not that tough. 2 in 1977, my big racing year. The climb out of Skowhegan in the Maine International. Started at the 90 mile point. Very fast race. (We took minutes off a record set by John Howard.) That hill broke the pack. I was the last to make the cut. Absolutely at my limit. Everything I had just to keep that wheel in front of me close. Longest recovery after I have ever seen. And that was just a two mile yet another Maine hill. Also that summer, pushing my riding partner up the two hills beyond Mt Wachusett in Massachusetts. She'd raced the evening before and had no legs. I had to get back to work. It was drop her or push, riding one handed in a 42-19. OMG hard!

The 16 mile climb out of Ashland, OR, day 6 of the 2012 Cycle Oregon. Fix gear, 42-23. Day 4 of 5000+ every day. Two years later, the 2 mile climb day 4 Cycle Oregon that hit 14.5% My photo was taken at the hardest point. Look carefully and you can see my climbing gear (23 teeth) on the left side. So 42-17.) Nobody passed me despite an RPM so low it didn't register. (The bar of soap on my forearm hurt when I showered!)

Mt Washington. Hardest hill, not the hardest I've pushed myself either time. (First time - solo and unassisted. In high mountains, I keep some reserve in case weather changes. 2nd time - the day before was a very windy Cat 1,2 5 hour race in a small field. Not easy for this flyweight. When I hit the bottom of the mountain, I knew a 100 yards in I had nothing, Had to get off and walk twice. But not the final pitch!) And for those who do not know Mt Washington, it is only 6000' but the weather at the top can (and regularly does) become "high mountain" life or death. I'd been to the top several times before. Saw the cross 100 yards from a life saving stash.

Now I am too old to push myself that hard. My ultimate climbs are done or missed. Still climbing but my chainrings keep getting smaller.

Ben
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Old 06-24-20, 11:42 AM
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I have done some riding in the Rocky Mountains, in the Laurentians, and on the East Coast of Canada.

The hardest climb was on the back side of Mt McKay on the First Nations land South of my home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@48.30542...!3m1!1e3?hl=en

The road is mainly a gravel service road up to Lock Lomond, the municipal water supply for Thunder Bay South (Fort William), but this particular climb is so steep that it is paved, presumably so service vehicles can get up it, and probably to prevent erosion in the rain.

The other fun fact about this climb is that, before you reach the climb, the ride through the community of Fort William First Nation is (was) an exercise in outsmarting or outrunning a bunch of unleashed dogs. Then you climb about a third of the main access road to the lookout on top of the mountain before turning off onto the service road.
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Old 06-24-20, 11:48 AM
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My hardest climb was Sonara Pass in the California Sierras. It was difficult because I was on a touring bike with panniers containing around 30 lbs of camping gear.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by semroc View Post
Great thread. Hardest was trying to stay with the lead group on the short, steep climbs in the Nevada City Classic. Longest sustained effort was Monitor pass in The Sierra Nevada's, in freezing temps.
First time I did Nevada City I got dropped on the first lap. God, that was brutal.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:14 PM
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the hardest climb for me is a stretch of road just a few miles from the house. Not because it's super long, or super steep (it's only 1.5mi, 6%), but because it's just enough of 8 minutes of pain that I avoid it almost every ride that heads from that direction. So yeah, that's 'hard' in a different way...
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Old 06-24-20, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Haleakala. It's not that steep, but man it's a long grind. That, and I was really affected by the altitude the first time I did it.
I didn’t think it had been that hard as I approached the summit, but I tried to raise a bit of a sprint for the final half mile, and a joint committee of my legs, lungs, the soles of my feet, and 5.5 hours of time my butt had spent in the saddle all said “nope.”


My absolute hardest was the Col du Soulor in the Pyrenees. It was supposed to be just a part of the ride on the way up to the Aubisque, but it ended up being juuuuust bruuutal. By contrast, the 5km up to the Aubisque itself after was a nice cruise.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:25 PM
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There's a stretch of road on Rt 36 going from St Albans, VT up to Fairfield, that's an avg of 9%, with a smattering of 20%, for 1 mile https://www.strava.com/segments/830880. I've made it twice when the legs were fresh and the ride was short, and I walked the last 100 yds to the peak, a couple of times when it was towards the end of a 50+ mile ride.

I've also done Mt Evans (altitude of 14,000', and 6,510' of climbing in 27.5 miles) from Idaho Springs, CO, https://www.strava.com/segments/642991. Third highest paved road in the world. Mostly 6% grade, but the lack of O2 above 12,000' made that one tough towards the end.

Last edited by Riveting; 06-24-20 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:38 PM
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Depends.....longest climb with just a few reliefs was 16 miles almost constant climbing from 3% usual to as much as 12% in spots or slightly more for short stints.

Greatest grade ever was a few hundred yards at 18% constant where I had to use the entire lane to make it to the summit.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:49 PM
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https://www.strava.com/segments/13842987 A road called Adamastor, 5.6miles, 8% avg gradient, 2266ft of climbing. Without a doubt the hardest. I rode this as part of granfondo living at sea level made this one super hard for me, my HR and RPE were at threshold when my watts were only around 200 (I had an FTP of 275-280 at the time). My HR averaged 165bpm for just under an hour, and it's generally there when I'm riding threshold. The low cadence up the climb then caused my legs to cramp following a long descent, so that kind of put a damper on the rest of the fondo. Would love to do it again, because it was awesome, but would want to get a hold of an altitude tent to try and acclimate beforehand

https://www.strava.com/segments/7819548 this climb was a cat 2 climb (at which I could be at the summit an hour after leaving my parents' home) and much more pleasant, and only near the top did I start to notice my HR spiking from the altitude lol
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Old 06-24-20, 01:53 PM
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For me it was the Col de Pailheres which came at the end of a long ride in the Pyrenees a few years ago. Our ride started with a 15 km climb right out of the parking lot and included a few other shorter climbs. Highlight of the ride came when we were taking a short break on the descent after the first climb and the Michelton Scott team overtook us and stopped to chat. That was the year that Mat Hayman had won Paris Roubaix and he was with the group. In any case, the last climb was a killer. If I hadn't known that it was the only way to get back to our cars I would have given up. We all made it to the top, but the descent was frightening. It was this descent where a few years prior Thibault Pinot lost his nerve and lost 5 minutes to the rest of his rivals. Very fast and bumpy with many switchbacks. The good news was that although we had 30 km to go from the top of the col, the whole rest of the ride was downhill
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Old 06-24-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Haleakala. It's not that steep, but man it's a long grind. That, and I was really affected by the altitude the first time I did it.
I was unprepared when I attempted Haleakala. made it to the 5000' sign,and it was getting cold and misty, and I was tired, so I went back. next time I will be sure to dial in my fitness better.
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