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Obscure climbs

Jul 27, 2009
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The most famous cycling roads in the world would have to be the mountain passes of the Tour, Giro, and Vuelta. But there must be good climbs in mountain ranges around the world.

For instance, I'm at a work trip on Jeju Island, Korea I'd never heard of it before I came here, but its dominant feature is Mount Halla, a 1900 metre volcano. You can't ride to the top, but the road over the range tops out at 1100 metres, and the climb is hard work from sea level on a hot summer's day, particularly on a clunker rented bicycle...

I'm curious as to some of the other more obscure (aka less known as places for cycling) places people have done a tough on-road climb.
 
Aug 5, 2009
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The island of Madeira in the Atlantic has the most obscure, hardest road climbs I have encountered. You can ride from sea level to 1800m (Pico Arriero) in a little over 10 miles which equates to a 10% average grade. The first ride I did in Madeira was a 25-mile loop(!) that had 6000' of climbing and the rides only got tougher after that.

Bruce
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Mount Wellington in Hobart, Australia is a great climb. It tops out at ~1300m and there is a sealed road ~20km long right to the summit! Great view from the top as well!
 
Mar 16, 2009
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The Mount Baldy climb is one of the most difficult in the LA Area with 4600 feet of climbing in 13 miles. The last five miles are extremely steep with an average of over 8% and some 15% sections. The first section is eight miles to the intersection with Glendora Mountain Road with a 6% average. The harder part starts here with 4.6 miles of climbing at an average of 8.6%. The road surface on the top part is very poor with very tight switchbacks.
Alpe d'Huez Comparison: If you start at mile 3.83 (near the intersection with Mountain Ave at the top of the reservoir), the climb is 8.8 miles with an average grade of 7.6%. Alpe d'huez is 8.8 miles with a 7.9% average.

This is about the closest thing in Southern California that you can compare in length and steepness to Alpe d'Huez. However, if you start at mile 5 near the first tunnel, the climb is 7.6 miles with an 8.2% average. The last few miles of this climb are more difficult than most of Alpe d'huez.
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krebs303 said:
The Mount Baldy climb is one of the most difficult in the LA Area with 4600 feet of climbing in 13 miles. The last five miles are extremely steep with an average of over 8% and some 15% sections. The first section is eight miles to the intersection with Glendora Mountain Road with a 6% average. The harder part starts here with 4.6 miles of climbing at an average of 8.6%. The road surface on the top part is very poor with very tight switchbacks.
Alpe d'Huez Comparison: If you start at mile 3.83 (near the intersection with Mountain Ave at the top of the reservoir), the climb is 8.8 miles with an average grade of 7.6%. Alpe d'huez is 8.8 miles with a 7.9% average.

This is about the closest thing in Southern California that you can compare in length and steepness to Alpe d'Huez. However, if you start at mile 5 near the first tunnel, the climb is 7.6 miles with an 8.2% average. The last few miles of this climb are more difficult than most of Alpe d'huez.
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the pitch from the village to the ski lift is brutal. used to be a race up glendora road to the village. i will modestly say i got first one year.:cool:
 
Mar 10, 2009
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a very nice obscure climb is the Col de Marchuialuz (sp?) in Vaud, Switzerland. From Perroy, it is a steady and unrelenting 23km to the top. The is a beautiful decent to the valley below and a nice ride around the lake in that valley. A short hard climb out of the valley and a nice downhill run home. A very sweet 85km ride.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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It's about ten years since I was there and the state of the roads changes every year, but Nepal has to be the place to go.

My favourite was from Hetauda to Kathmandu - three major climbs in one day on virtually traffic free roads (until the last bit into Kathmandu). The climbs up to Dhankuta and Ilam are also pretty special.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Palomar does not really rate compared to the Alps. You could big ring that climb,as the pro's did in the Tour of California.
Mt Baldy is great.Very hard.
Props to Usedtobefast that must have been a hard race.!
Gibraltar in Santa Barbra is a pretty serious climb.It just gets steeper as you go up.
 
dolophonic said:
Palomar does not really rate compared to the Alps. You could big ring that climb,as the pro's did in the Tour of California.
Mt Baldy is great.Very hard.
Props to Usedtobefast that must have been a hard race.!
Gibraltar in Santa Barbra is a pretty serious climb.It just gets steeper as you go up.

thanks. i used to be fast. ; ) the Santa Barbara climb. it seemed like it would never end, is my memory.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Cal climbs

California wine country has a wealth of good climbs:
Geysers-several climbs and descents on questionable or missing pavement

Cazdero/King's Ridge-near Guernville and again gnarly pavement but stunning descents

Old Western Mine Road-just West of Middleton it's about 7 miles of dirt/gravel and leads to a nerve testing descent at the Ida Clayton Road

Sonoma reservoir to Tin Barn, Skaggs, King's Ridge-got suckered into this ride when told "most of the climbing is in the first third". 110 mile ride from Healdsburg and back. The first third took 21/2 hours and pretty much set the tone.
 
Oct 2, 2009
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Hi rgmerk,

Well,Thanks for posting your experience here.You are an adventurous guy with full potential to do such a climbing.I like your interest and aim to do it.Keep up your spirit level always.I want to see more such a notes of experience from all of users here.Thanks for sharing information with all of use.

Thanks
 
Jul 24, 2009
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I'm interested in El Boquerón from the men's and women's Vueltas a El Salvador. It's named after a crater on the active volcano to the north-west of the capital San Salvador, and when it gets busy it could destroy vast swathes of the city. In the meantime, there are roads going up the side of it which they use for racing.

Getting the precise numbers on it is difficult, since race manuals offer unclear figures of altitude and distance, but it seems to be between 13 and 15km long at an average gradient of 8-10% and a maximum of 18-20%. The toughest sections appear to be at the start. Besides the mountain itself, there is the additional problem that San Salvador is swamped in almost-perpetual high heat and humidity. Here are some testimonials of the climb's difficulty from Kathryn Bertine and Silvia Tirado:
Kathryn Bertine said:
The funny thing about cycling up a volcano with a 19 percent grade is that, at the base, you hope to God it doesn't blow. About 20 minutes later, you start hoping it will. To gain a perspective on how steep 19 percent is, pick out a wall in your house and try to climb it. Though El Boqueron is "only" 13 kilometers long, it is situated at the end of our 83K race. Exhausted, dehydrated and depleted, I react to the ridiculous steepness by laughing at its absurdity and at my bike computer, which indicates I am traveling at a speed of 3 kilometers per hour.

I laugh at the fact I can barely grip the handlebars because the humidity and sweat has saturated my gloves to the point of uselessness. I laugh at the spool of ruby-colored, Gatorade-infused drool dangling from my mouth, unable to spare the energy to wipe it away. I laugh at WonderMinion, who attempts to hand me a water bottle on the steepest pitch, but I can't steady my bike enough to grab it, so she pours it over my head. I watch two women ahead of me tip over onto the pavement because they can't turn their pedals fast enough to remain upright. And I laugh at them, even while knowing I am probably next. I double-take at the enormous dead horse lying in the bike lane, because there is no way that can be real. Humor rekindles on the last kilometer of the climb, where local villagers sell handmade furniture alongside the road. What kind of furniture? Beds and chairs. I am at the top of a volcano, about to die from exhaustion, and all around me are beds and chairs that I am not allowed to sit on.

[...]

At least I still have the ability to race the last five stages. Not everyone will. Today's volcanic efforts have taken their toll on many of us. At dinner in the dining hall, two girls faint into their food. Another is taken to the hospital with severe cramping. Another tore her groin from the intensity of the 19 percent grade. Ten women will drop out of the race by the next morning.

Silvia Tirado said:
I decided it was best to try to get into escapes and do what I wanted, and on the next two days I got into breaks, on the first day I ended up coming fourth and on the following day I was in the break until the bottom of the final climb, El Boqueron, 14km with an average gradient of 10%. God it was like a wall, we had already done 70km up until that point... and on top of that we'd been in an escape, in the heat, nothing left to drink, out of water, gatorade (which I'm never drinking again in what remains of my life) and coca-cola!!

[...]

On the day of El Boquerón I felt really bad in the evening, the mixture of water, gatorade, coca-cola, heat, so much rice... stomach cramps!! So bad... that was the worst day, after all that five riders were taken to hospital when they blacked out and I half died in my bed!!