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How slow have you gone? Uphill on a bike!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We've had every other sort of bike-related thread. Time to discuss your epic climbing rides. Whether it be some single monstrous hill or a whole ride that you swore was entirely uphill -- let's hear it. Feel free to enter multiple times.

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I'll start the festivities with the Mt. Washington Hill Climb. I was stupid enough to do it twice. Most people learn that that much suffering isn't worth repeating, but I'm a little slow. 7.6 miles, 12.7% average grade, final 100 yards are somewhere over 20%+, about a third of the road is dirt. Throw in the horrific weather Mt. Washington usually experiences and it's truly a suffer-fest.

My first year I made it up in 1 hour 40 minutes. Absolutely zero visibility at the top, with the wind in the 20mph range. I was soaked from the fog, shivering from the cold... It sucked, big time! It was so foggy at the top that I never saw the last hairpin turn -- I wound up getting caught trying to navigate the turn at an awkward angle, and I tipped over about 50 feet from the end. No way was I getting started on a 20%+ grade, so I just walked over.

My second year I made it in 1 hour 35. Practically no wind, not a cloud in the sky, 40-some degrees at the top -- about as good as you're going to get, weather-wise. This time when I reached the top somebody stepped out of the crowd in front of me and I was forced to stop or run him over. I chose to stop : and walked across, AGAIN. : Truth be told, I'm not sure I had another 100 feet of 20% in my legs, so who knows if I could have made it after all.

I did discover something interesting though -- the first year (when I couldn't see my front wheel in the fog) was actually mentally easier because I couldn't see a thing. You don't know what's coming up. Just soldier on, it all looks the same. The second year was nice to look out and see the view, but every time you looked up, you saw exactly what was coming up which is really depressing!
post #2 of 16
I've stopped completely, going uphill. I think I may have even rolled backwards a few inches before putting my feet down. What do I win?
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw View Post
I've stopped completely, going uphill. I think I may have even rolled backwards a few inches before putting my feet down. What do I win?
I've done that too. I was doing a metric century in the hills/mountains around Gettysburg, PA. I took a wrong turn, accidentally following the full century route. About 5 miles later, I realized what I had done and turned around. One of the hills I had recently come down was never intended to go up. In my granny gear, with a triple chainring on my road bike, I came to a complete stop. I grabbed my brakes and my front wheel actually skidded backwards. It didn't help that I had already done about 60 miles of some wicked climbing. I walked about 1/4 mile to get to the top of that hill.

I have found that on some steep hills, in my granny gear, I can keep moving at 3 mph. But my legs have to be somewhat fresh or I'll risk puking my guts out.
post #4 of 16
I did go 33 ft sec sec on an uphill a coupla weeks ago, before going 0 ft sec sec. Does that count?
post #5 of 16
Ya know I never figured out the % thing for hills. My hardest and slowest uphill climb was the first part of my most memorable/hardest ride. The climb started at 3200 feet and ended at 6700 feet (near the top of Hull mtn) over 6.5 miles. All rough jeep trail in the Mendocino natl forest in northern CA. The nice thing about this climb was that you only climbed 500 feet over the first four miles, so basically you were faced with doing 3000 feet over the next 2.5 miles. To make it even more fun, the "road" got rougher with a surface of fist sized rocks as you got near the top. I think I must've stopped and walked short sections about 4 or 5 times before I reached the top.

And this was only the first part of a 41 mile ride. :

Fortunatly it was also the hardest part of the ride and comprised almost half of the total evelvation gain. We rested for a half hour before continuing on that ride.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
Ya know I never figured out the % thing for hills.
If the elevation increases by 10 feet over a distance of 100 feet of road, that's a 10% pitch.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw View Post
If the elevation increases by 10 feet over a distance of 100 feet of road, that's a 10% pitch.
Thanks.

So it would appear that the second part of my climb was a 26% grade.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
Thanks.

So it would appear that the second part of my climb was a 26% grade.
::: I didn't think my old car was going to make it over Smuggler's Notch in Vermont, and I think that's a 25% grade.
post #9 of 16
KevinF what kind of gear did you run at Mt Washington?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
KevinF what kind of gear did you run at Mt Washington?
I just slapped a MTB 12-32 cassette on the back with my road bike triple granny gear. I took the 42 and 52 rings off, as they aren't real useful in all uphill ride! So I had a 30x32 low. I used that lowest gear more then occassionally , but I think I did most of it though in a 30x28 or so. My cadence wasn't very high though! I wanted to save the lowest gears for the true bailout situations.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
I just slapped a MTB 12-32 cassette on the back with my road bike triple granny gear. I took the 42 and 52 rings off, as they aren't real useful in all uphill ride! So I had a 30x32 low. I used that lowest gear more then occassionally , but I think I did most of it though in a 30x28 or so. My cadence wasn't very high though! I wanted to save the lowest gears for the true bailout situations.
Holy leg spinners, batman! less than 1:1????? That's gotta be about as slow as you can go on a bike without being able to claim it as a track stand!
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
::: I didn't think my old car was going to make it over Smuggler's Notch in Vermont, and I think that's a 25% grade.
It was hard. But with a 22x32 combo it was possible.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
Holy leg spinners, batman! less than 1:1????? That's gotta be about as slow as you can go on a bike without being able to claim it as a track stand!
Try my present 22x34 set up on my mtn bikes.

I can climb (almost) anything, but quite frankly I can walk faster compared to that combo.
post #14 of 16
Rode Brasstown Bald, the major climb of the Tour of Georgia. It's about 2 or 2 1/4 miles to the parking lot, took me almost 40 minutes!!! At one point I was going 2.4 mph. Now that's hard to do.
post #15 of 16

Slowest EVER ride

Yes there were hills. Those didn't signify.

WABA's 50 States ride- the ride that traverses every avenue in DC named after a state.

Imagine a metric century (actually 60.5) miles with a cue sheet that spans three sheets of paper front and back, the longest stretch between turn points (stop signs and traffic lights additional) 1.6 miles.
post #16 of 16
Blog from one of my ride compadres here:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/FiftyStates

-Cisco

(Done at 1:15, the blueberries were just TOO good).
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