Anyone who has read Bike Noob knows I’m not much of a hill climber. In fact, if anything, my hill-climbing ability has decreased in the past couple of years — I’m getting older, you know. Yeah, that’s it. (All right — I still haven’t managed to get my weight down to that level where hills are doable — but I think I’ll stick with the age angle.)
But it’s spring, believe it or not (It must be — we’re under our second wind advisory in a week! It was tough out there today!), and as we point toward our nice weather riding (It will come again, I promise), a lot of us will add hills to our training regimens.
Yes, even I climb hills in training. But the hills I climb close to home aren’t anything like the really challenging hills we’ll face on some of our targeted rides.
One that I think I’ll try to handle — maybe in the fall, after I’ve had lots of time to train for it — is Fulton Ranch Road. It’s not too far from Austin, and has been part of the 100-mile version of the Livestrong Ride here. It’s got a grade that I think is just within my abilities, but the problem is, it’s a lot longer than most of the hills around here. To whet your appetite for some warm-weather climbing, here’s a YouTube video of the hill.
But Fulton Ranch Road pales in comparison to the real monster. That’s the Westernport Wall in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Its 31 percent grade — that’s 31 percent! — is steep enough that the road is closed to motor traffic. But bikers are welcome to take a stab at it. And to make matters worse, the Wall is only part of the story. It comes in the middle of a triathlon! If you can get to the top of the Wall without clipping out and walking, you get a brick with your name incribed added to the rough and uneven surface of the road.
Makes my .4-mile jaunt up Convict Hill look like a walk in the park. Maybe by the end of summer, it will be!
Rick Ankrum says
I am a flat lander in Houston so a hill is an overpass. This 31% wall is off the scale for my abilities. I wish you well on your hill training.
Did someone say hills? The highest grade I’ve ridden is somewhere between 28-30% and it is a monster experience. No fun for anyone, but probably great training if you can make it up.
Mountainstroh (Tony) says
I pride myself on hills, I live I Seattle but that one is ugly!
You got this. The biggest problem seems to be the jackalopes who clog the road while walking their bike.
Bike Noob says
Yeah, I agree. I’ve had situations like that before, and aside from yelling at them (that doesn’t seem to work — even if they do move, they’re too slow to do you any good) all you can do is try to go around.
Randall Legeai says
The Tulane riders raced up the Fulton Ranch Road climb on Saturday as part of the Texas State collegiate race. Yeah, that’s steep! http://app.strava.com/activities/120951782