Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Climbing On My Mind
Above is my new Cannondale Supersix that will be carrying me around Tucson in a few weeks!
When you get a sunny 58 degree day in February here in CT, you gotta take advantage. I snuck out this afternoon for a nice hilly ride, taking in what I believe to be every single hill within 20 miles of my house, including 188 from rt. 34, Punkup Rd. from rt. 34, rt. 111 from rt. 34, and rt. 34 from from the damn towards Newtown/Sandy Hook. It felt great to ride outdoors without thirty layers of clothing on - I was actually sweating today. As I rode, I thought about the fact that I'll be climbing Mt. Lemmon in just a few weeks, and then thought about the best climbs I've done on two wheels. I've had the fortune to ride in some pretty cool places and up some pretty cool climbs. Here's my list of my favorite climbs that I have experienced, in descending order based on my favorite climbs, not in order of toughness:
9. Idylwild Climb in Palm Springs, CA. - this climb was my first where I was climbing non-stop for close to an hour. The scenery was cool, although the traffic was a negative.
8. Northwest Corner of CT Route - this corner of CT and parts of MA and NY has some spectacular riding and I have a route that's just a killer including climbs up Greer Mountain Rd. and then soon after up Carter Hill Rd. It's just brutal, but very scenic.
7. Joshua Tree National Park, CA - this park has some nice, long gradual climbs, and the park is just so cool.
6. Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid New York - a bit over 8 miles, The USA's Alpe D'Huezsince it's supposedly equal in distance and gradient. It's a tough climb, and what makes it more challenging is that the six or so times I've climbed it, the weather has always been shitty!
5. Kitt Peak, near Tucson, AZ -11 mile steady climb at a challenging gradient, winding around a mountain with views of desert valleys. The climb finishes at an observatory on top of the mountain.
4. Mauna Kea Climb in Hawaii - This climbs a son of a bitch! It starts at a road in between Kailua and the airport off the queen K and just climbs and climbs for close to an hour. There are some gradients above 17% thrown in for fun near the top!
3. Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ - Climbing for 26 miles!!! The gradient averages just over 6% for the climb which is tame compared to the other climbs I've mentioned, but it's 26 miles! Amazing views and you start in desert, enter high desert, then you actually go through an evergreen forest.
2. Port D'Bales, France - This has only been in the tour once since until a few years ago, it was a dirt road. This is the most challenging individual climb of my list here. It was long - something like 25 kilometers, and had some killer gradients.
1. Combo big day - Peyressoude, Col D'Aspin, Tourmalet, France - Not much to say here that I already haven't said. This triple climb is nostalgic in Tour history, is incredibly challenging, has amazing scenery and views - it has it all! It'll be tough to top this one.
The best part about these climbs is of course, you get to descend them as well.