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What's a tough hillclimb?

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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

What's a tough hillclimb?

Old 08-29-11, 09:42 AM
  #101  
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They're all tough going up, but fun coasting down!
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Old 08-29-11, 10:09 AM
  #102  
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Old 08-29-11, 10:18 AM
  #103  
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I couldn't hold a candle to anyone in here as regards climbing a "hill". There aren't many big climbs around here, at least that I know of, but at the same time there is not much flat around either. What I consider "the hill", leaving out one of the tree ways away from my house, would likely be nothing more than a hiccup to most riders but demolishes me for a couple of minutes. None of the climbs around here are long enough to rate on IMMR, and the elevation changes in the immediate area are less than 200', it's just rolling hills.
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Old 08-29-11, 10:22 AM
  #104  
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Missouri Ozarks resident here: My tough hill of the week was on my morning ride today: it was on a road I hadn't been on for over 20 years, and it was about 12 miles into a 20-miler. I saw it from about 3 miles away - it was one of those hills that looks from a distance like it goes straight up into the air - I said out loud, "Oh Sh#t", and smiled... it turned out to be the toughest one I've done since I got back on the bike about a year ago. I was up off the saddle about one-third of the way up, and was definitely anaerobic by the time I reached the top, but the rest of the ride seemed like a breeze, even with lots more hills and riding against the wind most of the way.

I plan to go to take the same route several times before the end of the season, with the intention of kicking its a$$ like it almost did mine today...
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Old 08-29-11, 07:43 PM
  #105  
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the galibier. without a doubt. long, with steep sections. it was cold and the wind was coming down the chute right into my face and it was blowin' strong as hell. but what really killed me was the top at 8500'. i tell ya, the oxygen molecules were so few and far between you could count each one. geez, there's no air up there...
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Old 08-29-11, 07:50 PM
  #106  
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@Botto, That looks like some amazing riding and probably some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen..... Unfortunately, pictures never do the roads (or scenery) justice.
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Old 08-29-11, 07:55 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by smoke View Post
the galibier. without a doubt. long, with steep sections. it was cold and the wind was coming down the chute right into my face and it was blowin' strong as hell. but what really killed me was the top at 8500'. i tell ya, the oxygen molecules were so few and far between you could count each one. geez, there's no air up there...
I live over 8500 feet and experience no problems. I lived my entire life at sea level, been here just a couple of years.

Yes, exercise tires you more and you get drunk with just a couple of beers but it's not like I can FEEL that it's harder to breathe.

11000+ though, I would think that's where you feel it.
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Old 08-29-11, 09:52 PM
  #108  
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I live in the Central Valley, CA. It is flat as a pancake, so Patterson Pass is a beast for me. I have done several others in the bay area, as well as the Del Puerto Canyon century this year. They are hard for me as long as they point up. I am a big fan of pretending I am cresting an Alp when I ride over the freeway overpass.
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Old 08-30-11, 07:15 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by kabex View Post
I live over 8500 feet and experience no problems. I lived my entire life at sea level, been here just a couple of years.

Yes, exercise tires you more and you get drunk with just a couple of beers but it's not like I can FEEL that it's harder to breathe.

11000+ though, I would think that's where you feel it.
i didn't feel that it was harder to breathe, it was just harder to pedal; it produced fewer results. once i passed 6800-7000 feet, power numbers went down for the same heart rate and cadence dropped. everybody reacts differently to altitude. and after this day, i finally understood what it meant when they say someone isn't very good in the high mountains. it means they just can't work as well on lower oxygen pressure. they used to say that about Vino. Wiggins admitted after his fourth place in the Tour that he had problems on the high climbs, and he trained to make it better. i wish i was like you and couldn't feel anything different at 8500', but i'm not like that
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Old 08-30-11, 08:54 AM
  #110  
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Some of the toughest climbs I've ever ridden:

Billed as tough, actually tough:
Monte Zoncolan (Italy) - middle 6km averages 15%, and there is one km averaging 19%
Onion Valley Road (CA) - last 10 miles average 10%
White Mountain Road (CA) - very stair steppy and hot
Passo Mortirolo (Italy)

Billed as tough, but not tough:
Col du Galibier (France) - just a long slog
Mont Ventoux (France) - not tough at all
Alpe d'Huez (France) - short, fun
Mt Baldy (California) - toughest part is not getting run over by all the traffic
Haleakala - it's very long but the grade rarely exceeds 6%

Not mentioned as tough, but surprisingly so:
Towne Pass (CA) - 15 miles, 5k ft of gain, starts in Death Valley, if you do it in the summer, temps will be 120F+
Figueroa Mountain (CA) - stair step climb, so average grade of ~6-7% is meaningless, can be extremely hot
Refugio Mountain (CA) - for same reasons as Figueroa
Any climb starting in the Eastern Sierras during summer
39 to Dawson Saddle (CA) - 7,500' climb, can be excruciatingly hot, ends high so oxygen is an issue

Climbs I haven't done, but I'm positive they are very hard:
Mt Washington
Mt Evans
Mauna Kea (from sea level to 9,200' on asphalt, then to 13k+ ft on gravel)

Other very hard ones:
Any climb ending above 11,000'
Any climb in 100F+ temps
Any climb with over 7,000' of gain
Any climb with a 20%+ that section that lasts more than 1/4 of a mile
Any climb with 15k ft of climbing in your legs

Last edited by Ben FR; 08-30-11 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 08-30-11, 11:13 AM
  #111  
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That's just nuts - and impressive! Did you take your own bike to Europe, or rented one? I'm thinking of bringing my own bike to Maui to tackle Haleakala.
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Old 08-31-11, 01:42 AM
  #112  
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Here's video of the two hardest climbs I've done so far. Both of these are known for being the toughest climbs in the area. Be forewarned, there's lots of female cyclist suffer sounds in these videos. First one is Iowa Hill Road near Colfax, CA. The first 1.8 miles of this climb have a 13.5% average grade. I measured grades in the twenties at times, with 23% being the highest.

https://connect.garmin.com/activity/101476852

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfFz6LUgDNE

This one is Oxbow Corkscrew Wall near Foresthill, CA. It's 4.6 miles long with lots of grades in the teens and a 23% max on the last part of the climb.

https://connect.garmin.com/activity/103204092

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH50nWaGg4s
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Old 08-31-11, 07:35 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by mpath View Post
That's just nuts - and impressive! Did you take your own bike to Europe, or rented one? I'm thinking of bringing my own bike to Maui to tackle Haleakala.
Took my bike everywhere
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Old 08-31-11, 11:01 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by mpath View Post
...what's a tough hill climb for you?
Any hill where I'm cursing. Seems to be 10%+ grade.
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