mountains - feelings

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Mar 13, 2009
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Interested to hear what gearing people used on these cols. Triples or up to a 29 on the rear? I sure as hell struggle on a 39x25 on ascents above 4k @ average 10%.
 
May 6, 2009
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unsheath said:
Interested to hear what gearing people used on these cols. Triples or up to a 29 on the rear? I sure as hell struggle on a 39x25 on ascents above 4k @ average 10%.
53x35 and I had a 27 tooth on the back but I never needed it.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Great stories, folks! I was lucky enough to go to the tour in 2004 and we watched the Alpe D'Huez time trial. Our lodging was 40K away at the top of Les Deux Alpe. The day after the TT we rode up D'huez and back - there were probably 1000 people climbing it that day. A really amazing 1 hour, 9 minutes and 45 seconds;) All of the paint was, of course, still on the road. Some of the drunks seemed to still be there as well. I'll never forget arriving at the turn labeled "1" and realizing that I had still had a very steep pitch and quite some distance yet to go.

The ride up Les Deux Alpe is fantastic as well, though a bit shorter and less steep. The next day we rode the Galibier - With most of my riding experience in Northern New England, the Galibier amazed me for it's sheer length. the climbing just went on, and on...and on. Unlike the Alpe, there were no crowds and it was just me, the bike and the pavement for most of the time.

Per someone's question, I did the cols in a 39x25. Had I been a tad smarter, I probably would have benefited from a 27 on the back - cadence was definitely WAY down on the steep sections.

Ok....that's enough of a trip down memory lane. Fantastic experience. Now I'm off to climb the local Vermont bumps for the 1000'th time.
 
May 6, 2009
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What annoyed me when I climbed the Tourmalet as once I got past La Mongie, every corner and hairpin a car seemed to overtake me so I couldn't ride in the middle of the road towards the painted white line (where it is not steep) and had to ride through the inside of the corner which was probably closer to 14%. Still getting up there 16 minutes before the next person in my group was pretty good (and I wasn't jacked either :D) and gave me bragging rights.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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First times are always something special. I remember thinking I was the king of the world when I rode Independence Pass back in 1982. Likewise when on a mtn bike, Kennebec pass in 1984. In retrospect, both are rather benign (although Independence tops out over 12,000ft), however the sense of accomplishment was tremendous. For the next decade and a half, mtn biking was central, and the big rides/climbs were achieved with more a sense of serenity than accomplishment - Gerogia, Imogene, Engineer, etc - just getting out into the middle of nowhere. During that time road riding just augmented summer cycling.

Moving to the (Colorado) front range changed priorities, with the bevy of road rides one could do throughout the year, but it wasn't till I traveled to Italy then France that the sheer elation of summitting a high mountain pass returned. As someone upthread said, part of the elation was/is the silent but knowing looks traded by the few cyclists suffering then succeeding atop those wonderful beasts. Furthermore, for me, it wasnt the well known climbs that offered the greatest pleasures. Ventoux, Galibier, Grappa, Fedaia etc., are all wonderful, but my fondest memories are of the Manghen's and Madeleine's.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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I climbed Mont Ventoux twice, and both times of course did NOT ride a full stage up to the base and instead parked where it was legal at the base (ok, maybe a bit more up the hill) and took the day both times. The emotion was "goddam, if I tried to do this in competition, I would want REALLY good drugs to kill the pain!"

When I was still fit 15 years ago, I was dared into riding the 3 Pass Loop in Washington State; Snoqualmie, Blewitt and Stevens, in one day from and back to Seattle. It's over 200 miles. I got over the three passes but fell over on the descent down Stevens because by the time I got over the pass and down the other side it was something like eleven at night and I had no lights. The emotion that time was "goddam, I'm a stupid sucker for taking this dare seriously."
 
Mar 18, 2009
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shawnrohrbach said:
When I was still fit 15 years ago, I was dared into riding the 3 Pass Loop in Washington State; Snoqualmie, Blewitt and Stevens, in one day from and back to Seattle. It's over 200 miles. I got over the three passes but fell over on the descent down Stevens because by the time I got over the pass and down the other side it was something like eleven at night and I had no lights. The emotion that time was "goddam, I'm a stupid sucker for taking this dare seriously."
You did this for a dare? No money involved? You are one brave man!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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...riding the 3 Pass Loop in Washington State; Snoqualmie, Blewitt and Stevens, in one day from and back to Seattle. It's over 200 miles.
Out of Durango (6,500ft) there is something called the Death Ride - I know, there are several death rides - that climbs Coal Bank (10,600ft), Molas (10,910ft) to Silverton (9,300ft), Red Mountain (11,020ft) to Ouray (7,800ft) then Ridgeway (6,980ft), Dallas Divide (8,970ft) to Placerville (7,300ft) then Telluride (8,750ft), Lizard Head (10,222ft) to Dolores (6,940ft), then several 'small' mounds to Mancos and back into Durango. 200+ miles.

I've not done it. I've several friends try it. I've a few that succeeded. Depending on how strong one feels, you start between 0200hrs or 0400hrs.

And I'm told it pays to have a good mate follow in a support wagon... or Michael Rasmussen's Doctor.

postscript: I've done the out and back Durango to Mancos a number of times - I cant imagine how difficult those small mounds would be after 12+ (at best) hours in the saddle.

Second edit: yes there are longer death rides, and other death rides that have more vertical gain. But how many of those have their lowest elevation 6,500ft (1980m)?
 
Jun 21, 2009
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shawnrohrbach said:
When I was still fit 15 years ago, I was dared into riding the 3 Pass Loop in Washington State; Snoqualmie, Blewitt and Stevens, in one day from and back to Seattle. It's over 200 miles.


I just drove that last week with my girl, and she saw my eyes and said that we should take another vacation soon and would be happy to drive ahead and wait wherever I wanted. :)

Such a gorgeous route.

My only big climb has been Mt Baker, twice. The first time I caught these guys riding carbon, and I was in shorts, sneakers and did them by 4 minutes. They were nice and asked if I was trainging for the Hill Climb race and gave me some advice :) (cleats, stop riding steel)

The second time was my race and it was raining and cold. I went over my skill level and wanted to quit the whole time, and once I started nearing the finish I stopped being mad and laid into it. If felt amazing to have had people cheering at the finish.
 

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