Great "unknown" climbs

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Reverend_T_Preedy said:
There's loads of cobble roads/streets/hills in West Yorkshire. You could quite easily make a fantastic race in that area that could match the RVV for cobble hills.

The most famous in that area is 'Shibden Wall' (ie Lee Lane) near Halifax. It's listed in the book of UK's 100 greatest climbs. I can't find a profile for it but climb by bike does says (when you add a little bit on the end that's not cobbled) 'This is short very steep "Flanders", style cobble climb of 1,8 KM. It starts with an 10% ramp of about 20 meters into a 25% cobble section which lasts for most the climb and then ends with a 6% finish at the top of Swales Moore'.

Here's a youtube clip of someone going up it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB_8B3aZAGA

Some photo's

...

It has been previously used by the Kellogs Tour of Britain.

There's some other decent cobbled climbs in the area too. The Hough at Shibden, Horsehold, Heppenstal Road, Main Street in Howarth and Woodhouse Lane to name a few.
Spot on, The Rev. The whole area is a (aesthetically unattractive) gem for leg snappers. Are you from around that way then?
 
Feb 12, 2010
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L'arriviste said:
Spot on, The Rev. The whole area is a (aesthetically unattractive) gem for leg snappers. Are you from around that way then?
Not far. From South Yorkshire (Sheffield area to be precise) but know it quite well up there (mainly from work mind you rather than pleasure). West Yorkshire isn't a place I tend to go to for a few days holiday for a few obvious reasons if you've been :D

Some awesome climbs around there that could make a great race.
 
Reverend_T_Preedy said:
Not far. From South Yorkshire (Sheffield area to be precise) but know it quite well up there (mainly from work mind you rather than pleasure). West Yorkshire isn't a place I tend to go to for a few days holiday for a few obvious reasons if you've been :D

Some awesome climbs around there that could make a great race.
I'm originally from Yorkshire too and lived in Sheffield for a few (great) years, so I know where you're coming from! :)
 
A bit further from the beaten track, Beit Jann is the largest Druze village in Israel, and the highest altitude town in the country. To climb up to there from Rame, you will climb for 11,1km at an average of 6,2%. There are a number of other climbs in the area, but this is perhaps the best known and would make the best racing event.

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/43547614

The town's high altitude makes it an ideal stop off should a stage race of any great prestige take place in Israel; the views are simply phenomenal as well:


Beit Jann itself is an unusual looking place which adds to the spectacle:


The roads are in good condition, and it would be easy enough to link to other climbs such as the al-Jabal road from Biane to Kishore.
 
hrotha said:
Apparently a climb can't be great if it doesn't have hellish gradients. Come on, give me some long, steady climbs with stunning scenery, people.
Remember the damage that the Galibier climb caused this year in the Tour. Long and gradual increase in gradients can be a killer. The riders have to dose the energies very well, otherwise they can be found exhausted before the finish line because of the time climbing at Full Throttle.
 
Jul 27, 2011
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Le breton said:
The climb up the other side would be possible but only on an MTB. pretty rough in places

Thanks for the pix.

I have a Michelin map from 1984, #446, and it gave the impression that the GR411 from Bubion, Capileira (1436 m) would be poor but manageable even with a road bike.
If you're talking about the trail up the south side of Pico Veleta, I rode up it on my touring bike with a full load of camping gear in 1992.
I don't recall it being very steep or long. But after a stretch of rough concrete above Capileira it is unpaved. Gravel was a major problem, causing wheelspin. On the upper reaches the surface of the trail is rocky like the bed of a mountain stream. The ******* broke my lowrider luggage rack!

You can stay in the refuge at the top, or pitch a tent if you have written permission from the King of Spain. (Well that's what they told me). Then you can descend the north side the following morning, making all the cyclists climbing from Granada wonder how early you must have got up and fast you must have gone if you are already on the way back down.

But don't expect to see any road races tackling the south side.
 
FEELMYTHIGHS said:
If you're talking about the trail up the south side of Pico Veleta, I rode up it on my touring bike with a full load of camping gear in 1992.
......
Thanks a lot for the report. I always had fantasies of flying to Malaga (from Geneva) to do it, but was deterred by the high cost of the flight in the summer (that was before Easyjet flew to Malaga). So now I know it wasn't really doable on my road bike anyway.

Climbing Mauna Kea from sea-level would definitely have been way too expensive with Geneva as a starting point.
 
Most of the time, the Brazilian cycling scene is rather specialised for sprinting and time triallists.

Other times, however, they may have to climb to Vista Chinesa (6,0km, 11,9%).

Climbing from the Jardim Botânico in Rio de Janeiro itself, the spectacular view from the top of this climb puts almost everything else in this thread to shame:


The Vista Chinesa itself is a pretty attractive thing, but that of course won't be much consolation to the riders in the agony that the climb creates:


The trees serve to provide some relief, hiding the riders from the sun's vicious power:
 

rzombie1988

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craig1985 said:
Is that a MTF or a mountain pass, or could be used for both?

Here is Mount Wellington in Tasmania, it could be used in the Tour of Tasmania:



Average: 5.9 %
Length: 21.4 km
Maximum: 8.1 %


Description:

The last half of the climb is grueling especially "The Face" this is where people lose huge chunks of time.Mt wellingtons surface is suspect which makes it even harder.



That's Hobart (capital of Tasmania for those playing at home) in the background, although it's hard to see.
Thanks for posting my local! "Suspect" is being generous about the surface, it's mostly horrible rough-seal chip, with lots of bumps and dips and some wheel-swallowing potholes on steep switchbacks. Add to that a constant stream of tourists driving on the wron side of the road in unfamiliar hire cars, and locals driving down with a snowman built on the bonnet of their car obstructing their vision, and spilling snow on the road:)

FWIW, it's the kind of descent that's faster on an MTB than a road bike!

Looking up at it out my window now...
 
Jul 27, 2011
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Le breton said:
Thanks a lot for the report. I always had fantasies of flying to Malaga (from Geneva) to do it, but was deterred by the high cost of the flight in the summer (that was before Easyjet flew to Malaga). So now I know it wasn't really doable on my road bike anyway.

Climbing Mauna Kea from sea-level would definitely have been way too expensive with Geneva as a starting point.
I definitely recommend a cycling holiday in Spain. But I wouldn't advise that trail up to Pico Valeta on a road racing bike, unless you've run out of ways to prove how tough you are on a bike. Or what an idiot you are, which is what I felt like for most of the way. Take a tough bike.

You mention Mauna Kea. Hawaii is one of my dream destinations as well, and I'd love to see a GT bike race there. Also Peru.

This set me thinking. All the climbs on this thread. Would any of them actually make a decent race?

Take Alpe d'Huez. It isn't actually that hard a climb. But being a summit stage finish in the World's biggest annual sporting event, contested by the World's best racing cyclists, it's bound to produce an intense competition. However, there are harder climbs that aren't as lip-smacking as Alpe d'Huez, because they don't generate the same drama.

Or the Col du Galibier. Only time I've ever felt scared going UP a climb was up the south side of the Galibier. I didn't think i would complete the circuit Lauteret - Galibier - Telegraphe - Croix de Fer - Alpe d'Huez. Figured I'd see how my legs felt at the top of the Galibier and decide whether or not to turn around and go back. But having just ridden up that F.cliff, I didn't care what was on the other side, no way was i going back down the way I'd just come up. (i didn't know that the road on the north side is steeper. But then, it's also less fall-off-able).

My point is, how often in modern times has the Col du Galibier been a determining factor in a bike race? In this year's TdF it was a significant climb when it was a summit finish. But the following day it didn't make as much of a difference to the race. In most editions of the TdF, the Galibier is a sideshow to an Alpe d'Huez finish. Same for the Tourmalet in last year's TdF.

So a 'hard' climb isn't necessarily 'hard' if the pros aren't actually racing each other up (and over) it. Likewise, an 'easy' climb isn't so 'easy' if Eddy Merckx is trying to gain a few minutes on you. (Even the 2011 Eddy Merckx, not just the 1971 vintage).

So if you want my nomination for Unknown Climbs that would make a great Grand Tour, make the Tour de France stick to coastal roads for 3 weeks. Up and down them F.headlands all day, no chance to settle into a climbing rhythm, ever-changing crosswinds, exhausted domestiques. Few days of that would soon wear out them sprinters' teams. Try and win that TdF. Even Jens Voigt would discover muscles that have never ached before.

Couple of years from now it'll be the 100th Tour de France. Stuff them mountains. Celebrate by going back to 6 stages of 500km each on unsurfaced roads. Let's see you watch that live. And forget drugs, give us a did-he-or-didn't-he take the train-? scandal.
 
Certainly something feasible for the Giro should the organisers so wish, being just 50km from Trieste, albeit two countries apart, There is the climb up to the summit of Učka (Croatia).



This main route is 22,9km at 6%, but there are two other sides; from Matulji it's 20,5km at 5,8%, and the opposite side of the climb, from Vranja, is a much more leg-punishing 7,9% over 13,8km.

The lower slopes are very good roads, but once you get up above the point at which the tunnel has been built to make these passes obsolete, the roads become less well-maintained:


Just before 1000m of altitude it's time to turn off the main Vela Učka Road, and turn towards the radio mast. Here it's still paved, but narrow and tricky, with the view of the Adriatic to one side:


And here's the antenna itself, marking that you've reached the peak, which probably can't come soon enough for your legs since you've climbed from pretty much sea level to over 1200m...
 
Il Giro doesn't tend to travel too far East these days, but if it did we might see more of the Passo di Pramollo (13,4km, 7,2%), a border crossing with Austria starting in Pontebba. The gradient of the climb is wonderfully inconsistent, making it a difficult climb to get into a proper rhythm on:


However, it's a difficult one to link to anything - even the Passo di Nevea would include a fairly major amount of false flat en route.

Makes for a nice traditional Giro finish though - nice snow and Italo-Austrian housing:


The other side is even better: the Austrian side, called Nassfeldpass/Naßfeldpass, is 11,2km at a muscle-crushing 8,1%:


Conditions are reasonable, the road is pretty wide:
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Does anyone know some cool climbs in the Balkan(or South eastern Europe if you want to be politically correct)? Those climbs seem perfect for this thread.
 
Sep 7, 2010
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El Pistolero said:
That's a rather unimpressive photo you picked there though :p
I can tell you that the first 20 cm of the climb with 23% is a killer! But at soon as you get past the white cubes as you can see in the picture it's getting softer..
 
In the TOC all the great climbs are on the eastern side of the Sierras, where they are not likely to go as it's so far away (Onion Valley Road, Horseshoe Road, Whitney Portlal, Pacific Grade, etc.). The other spectacular climb would be the Everett Memorial Highway on Mt. Shasta, but that's way out there.

Meanwhile, just for kicks, here's maybe the most brutal climb on the planet . The astronomically steep road to the 13,796' Mauna Kea.

 
Col des Glières

FEELMYTHIGHS said:
.....
Or the Col du Galibier. Only time I've ever felt scared going UP a climb was up the south side of the Galibier. I didn't think i would complete the circuit Lauteret - Galibier - Telegraphe - Croix de Fer - Alpe d'Huez. Figured I'd see how my legs felt at the top of the Galibier and decide whether or not to turn around and go back. But having just ridden up that F.cliff, I didn't care what was on the other side, no way was i going back down the way I'd just come up. (i didn't know that the road on the north side is steeper. But then, it's also less fall-off-able).

........
I must have gone down Galibier south side a good 30 times in competition (cyclosportives - marmotte, louison bobet renamed Galibier, etc.) plus a number of times on my own and I must say I never felt scared. A bit worried and extra careful sometimes if overtaking other riders while cars/campers were coming up but nothing more.

However you made me think of a little known mountain pass that I didn't dare go down : the west side of the Col des Glières.

http://www.zanibike.net/altimetria/7676/Francia/salita_Col+des+Glieres+-+Le+Petit+Bornand.aspx

That day in the 80's I had been riding in the Alps and on my way back home I saw a sign for Les Glières and decided to have a look. It felt hard and steep and I only now discovered why : 12% (after 5-6 hours of cycling and 36:21 lowest gear!)

This was over 20 years ago and the road had no side railing, just a sheer vertical drop on the left side of the road for several km. Anyway, when I got to the top I chose to go back home the long way - via the east side - and get home much later but safe rather than go down that road!

From google image ("col des glieres") it looks like they must have added railing since I can't imagine a snowplow through that road - snow covered yet - in the condition it was in in the 80's.

http://www.cycling-challenge.com/plateau-des-glieres/

There is also on the web a video of some guy climbing it.
 
Jul 28, 2010
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Meanwhile, just for kicks, here's maybe the most brutal climb on the planet . The astronomically steep road to the 13,796' Mauna Kea.
I think I'll pass on that one! :p
 

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