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HILLS - What kinda grades do you climb(30 posts)

HILLS - What kinda grades do you climbsurf
Feb 14, 2002 4:34 PM
I have a hill near my house that gains about 1100 feet in just under 3 miles with no level periods, it's a continuos rise. Obviously some parts are steeper than others but to me this is a really long, steep hill considering there are no breaks.

How does that stack up to what you guys do??? I get up the hill averaging about 10mph. I think if I did the math right, the hill ranges from 2% to 10% grades that vary throughout. If I'm feeling good ill do the hill a few times on the ride.

Anyways, what kinda grades do you guys ride and how fast are you able to go up them?? What is considered fast for say a hill that averages about 5% grade.

38% 1 in 1.266(Baldwin Street)Jim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 5:13 PM
Something Ain't Rightgrzy
Feb 14, 2002 5:30 PM
1/1.266 = 78.9% grade or 38.2 degrees. Which is probably what you meant. A 38% hill would give you and angle of 20 degrees, but that's 1' of rise in 2.63' of run.

Now maybe you mean that you rise 1' for every 1.266' traveled up the hill (i.e. hypotonuse) so the angle would be 52.1 degrees using the sine function. Sin(a)=1/1.266

24% is a pretty stiff hill, but that's only 14 degrees.

So where is this Baldwin Street and what do you use to climb it?
Found it.grzy
Feb 14, 2002 5:40 PM
"Dunedin, New Zealand, is the home of the
steepest street in the world. The Guinness
Book of Records recognizes Baldwin Street,
in the North East Valley of Dunedin, to be
the steepest public street in the world, with
the steepest gradient at 1 in 2.666--a 38%
grade (that's steeper than the famously
steep streets of San Francisco)!"

Grade is 1 in 2.666 not 1 in 1.266
Found it.jim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 5:56 PM
Sorry wrong numbers, I have ridden it twice in my 5 years at varsity, both times in a 39x25. I have seen it done in a 39x21. It is an insanely steep street, but thats what you get for designing the city plan in England with disregard for topography.
Feb 14, 2002 6:01 PM
Sounds like an excercise in going anerobic.

Only the English would insist that it had to be built to the plans.
Yowjim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 6:16 PM
Surprisingly enough it is not a question of anerobic, as you are going that slow by the top it is a question of strength, can you still turn the gear over.
Feb 14, 2002 6:23 PM
Anerobic means without air - at the end of this short effort you are spent since your body can't uptake enough O2. You are relying on pure brute strength like going to the gym and lifting weights with low reps and maximum effort. It isn't like you could very well sustain this climbing effort for say an hour and climb one or two thousand feet - that would be aerobic.
Yowjim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 6:35 PM
I was thinking in terms of a pure anerobic effort ie interval training. From what I can remember you are not garsping for air at the top you get pass that point. It is more of a lactic effort because of the build up in the muscles.
looks more like weight liftingcyclopathic
Feb 14, 2002 7:50 PM
grzy it isn't even anaerobic in a sense you think of it.

for 86kg rider:

Cadence 20. rev/min
Crank Length 175 mm
Pedal Speed 0.37 m/s
Average Pedal Force 972.5 kg m/s2
Effective Pedal Force 2500.7 kg m/s2

basically every leg of 86kg rider/bike combo must be cappable of pushing 255kg (3 times of your weight). That would deff wrap my handlebars around stem.

On this climb I could run circles around you on my mnt bike pretty comfortable in 22/30 gear (it would make it look like 17.5% in 39x25 or only 50% more then gravity)

Man what length cranks are you running? I know a guy who runs 200mm custom cranks on his singlespeed
looks more like weight liftingjim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 8:41 PM

The main problem with the climb is getting the front and rear wheel balance right. To far forward and the back losses traction, to far back and you wheelie the bike crash and scrape your ass all the way to the bottom of the hill. The thing is going back down is just as bad as it connects on to a main road so you can't just let rip.
The Beastjim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 10:06 PM
This street has to be seen for real to be believed how steep it is.
re: The Beastcyclopathic
Feb 14, 2002 11:25 PM
I believe it! I've ridden similar grade off-road semi-loose gravel and it is completely a beast of different kind.

Thing is that you can't really push on pedals you'll loose it, no pulling on handlebars really smooth pedal stroke at cadence no lower then 60RPM and very good balance.

My gear of choice is 22/26 or 22/30, you can't really go any lower and it is really easy to spin out or jack up front!

Since you go anaerobic from start /my calculator tells expected power output is ~560-580wt/ all the balancing need to be done at highest level of lactate intoxication.

The steep section is ~1100-1200' long and you gain ~400', so it is 3.5-4 min climb. Problem is that to get to it you need to climb another one, less steep but still bad.

Climb is not even so even at such level of extortion you need to find that extra punch to accelerate when you come to steeper parts. I wish it were paved but if it were I would still bring my mnt bike to ride it.
looks more like weight liftinggrzy
Feb 15, 2002 11:25 AM
Sure get on a MTB and gear it down to something well less than 1:1 and spin away. You may not even break a sweat.

Point is that if you climb a 38% on a normal road bike it's certain that you'll be standing and your HR will spike. If you run a triple with low gears then life gets easier. My pitch is that the required effort isn't very sustainable and you're relying on strength and going anerobic - you'd have a hard time maintaining this level of effort for 20 minutes or more. Question is how long can you continue to squat or leg press 3 times your weight? Now if you can go slow enough and gear the bike down sufficiently you can avoid all of this - maybe even sing songs on the way up. Life would be much easier on my MTB also with the 24/34 or even a 22/34, but I didn't think we were talking about that. The original poster was asking about the typical pitches that people climb and that he found things pretty tough even when grades were less than 10%.

One of our training rides out here in the SF Bay Area involves climbing around 1,500' with a grade that hits 22% or so (Bohlman-OnOrbit-Bohlman) out of Saratoga. You climb that sucker on a normal road bike and you'll know what I'm talking about. Only a few of us are going to end up in NZ and get to climb Baldwin St. I honestly don't think that anyone can say that climbing 20% to 40% pitches is ever "easy."
Hey, Grzy (off topic)mickey-mac
Feb 14, 2002 9:36 PM
I made gluten-free beer, and it actually tastes pretty good. Let me know if you're interested and I'll send you a bottle:
Hey, Grzy (off topic)grzy
Feb 15, 2002 11:29 AM
Wow! Sent you and email.
im sure im not the only one, but...secourir
Feb 14, 2002 9:17 PM
i wonder what it feels like going DOWN RATHER THAN UP!!!!!. now that would have my interest.

must feel like accelerating on a motorbike. any speed records? - does the streeet lay claims to lotsa skin?. anyone try it on a fixed gear - 58 x 11???

what sorta speeds are we talking about.

and also as the english had input with regards to planning im sure there is an intersection just at the base of it which no amount of brakes will be able to pull up for.

just askin
Bit of an asidejim hubbard
Feb 14, 2002 9:43 PM
Dunedin is one of New Zealands varsity cities. In fact the best(U can tell that I am bias). Anyway in the city we have what are referred to as wheelie bins. These stand about 1.4m tall and are about .5m square with 2 small wheels. Last year a couple of students a male and a female had been out drinking. They got the idea that they would get one of these and luge it down this street. So they steal on 5k's away wheel it all the way to the street up the street(these were obviously very determined people, alot more than me when I am drunk) to the top. So they climb in the bin not the logical way mine you but head first(got figure) so off the set down the street about half way down they hit a parked trailer and one of them was killed. God knows what they were thinking about this scarely enough on a bike
did they win Darwin award? nmcyclopathic
Feb 15, 2002 6:37 PM
I don't want to race against youBenR
Feb 14, 2002 9:27 PM
not unless someone wants to put a hill like that in my backyard
BULL !!!Rusty McNasty
Feb 15, 2002 4:07 AM
Pavement slumps downhill at lower grades than that! That isn't a grade measurement, it's a roof pitch!
Bluff hill, Invercargill NZ (22%)jim hubbard
Feb 15, 2002 2:11 AM
I have ridden this hill twice in the 6 day Tour of Southland. It does not help that the proceeding 90k is ridden at 45kph in the gutter in a 60kph x-wind. I attached a picture, it does not show the corner properly, it is so steep that the inside line cannot be ridden. This is a but 450m from the top.
I guess no one answered the original questioncyclopathic
Feb 15, 2002 6:21 AM
you hill comes to 7% avg grade. to climb 7% grade @10mph avg you need to produce 260-340wt of output. This is ball park I don't know your weight. 300wt for 200lbs bike/rider combo.

Because this is a long hill it is a good indication of your LT power output. Elite road racers produce ~460-540wt at LT, mere mortals around 300-350, 400+ for a good Cat 2 rider. These numbers assume ideal conditions, optimal cadence, etc. real life numbers might be a bit higher. Estimated LA output on L'Alpe d'Huez was around 460-480wt which seems a bit low.

Bottom line you wouldn't be out of line with the rest of us, don't worry ;)
Good answer. I live on a hill, too. There is an almost . . .morrison
Feb 15, 2002 7:47 AM
900 foot climb over 1.5 miles. Needless to say, I am the master at inventing excuses for why I should start my ride from a separate location. I find that the Honda makes the climb much quicker and with less effort than any of my bikes.

That said, I still make the climb about once a week. It is a fantastic workout, but it leaves me pretty well spent. I average 11 to 12 mph going up. Coming down is a lot more fun. However, because I like to ride in the morning, coming down in the winter chills me to the bone. I've gotten up to just below 45 mph before I put on the skids. (Yeah, I'm a wuss.) There's a guy in my neighborhood who passed me like I wasstanding still, and I was doing 40. He must have been doing 55+.

One of the pluses of this, though, is that when I took my bike to S.F. last year, I was able to ride around the city w/ ease. Some of the climbs were steeper, but they were shorter, and I was properly conditioned for them.
SF Bay Areagrzy
Feb 15, 2002 11:54 AM
600 feet in a mile is over 10% and will help keep you honest. I would agree that there are days you just don't want to deal with it.

We are blessed out in the SF Bay Area with lots and lots of challenging hills to climb and if you ever run short there is always the Sierras and the thinner air. When I first moved out I hard a hard time accepting that people actually climbed these things for fun. I thought they were sickos. I guess I'm one of them now and it's the price you pay to get some very beautiful riding and away from the masses. Hitting 50 mph on the good descents is pretty routine, but you're often looking at single digits on the climb.

It's pretty easy to plan local ride in the mountains and log 10,000'+ of climbing - even more if you wish - and not even hit 100 miles. There is a lot of stuff that is in excess of 10% and climbs a thousand to a couple thousand feet. It's funny b/c when you go most other places their hills just don't seem that steep or long. You do have to be careful when friends come and visit.
I guess no one answered the original questionjim hubbard
Feb 15, 2002 8:16 AM
OK the hill I ride most often is 10k and I ride it on a good day at an avg of about 23kph. The hill is not steep I don't know any of the grade measurements on it. It is not a constant grade because it winds it's way up a mountain. It goes from sea level to 740m, so the calc avg is 7.4%.
and your weight?cyclopathic
Feb 15, 2002 10:16 AM
@ 86.2kg expected output 460wt. Pretty much inline with LA on L'Alpe d'Huez. Ever thought about turning pro?

Both examples excludes any possible elevation drops in the middle. If grade varies you probably putting out a bit more. If you wanna get real power output readings get SRM or Power Tap (Tune is ~850$ here in US for built wheel and 200$ for computerlink).

On a side note I don't think Lance was going all way out, he slowed down after he built up sufficient lead Second he hit it after riding 100mi+, with some serious climbs in the middle. The guy is cappable of 500wt+ at LT if not more.
Some numbersjim hubbard
Feb 15, 2002 11:12 AM
I weigh about 68kg on a good day.
My output max output is 510 watts at VO2 max.
I have a power to weight ratio of 7.5 w/kg.
Power at LT is 380 watts, HR is 163 bpm.
In a kingcycle 40k TT I had an average power of 390watts,
average lt 9.55(threshold is about 4.5, as you can tell I like pain)
average HR 178bpm
Feb 15, 2002 2:03 PM
if add 16lbs for bike, exclude water bottles, shoes, helmet, and other paraphernalia needed output comes to 401wt.

still it is higher there could be some mistake like you didn't start at sea level (-10m), your computer is not adjusted properly (hence real speed is lower then 14.4mph) and so on. You could be stronger now (10% LT power increase would give you ~40wt). If you like to play with numbers check

I had my LT output guestimated ~360-380 (with 20% error margin 8-) a couple years back, I feel much stronger now. My weight is ~140lbs (145 in winter was down to 136 in August). Honestly I don't really care I have very little interest in events lasting less then 6hr. I wish I could maintain ~250-300wt avg for 22hr/a day.
the closest thing to a hill we have, the Fred Hartman Bridge!Tig
Feb 15, 2002 11:27 AM
It may not be all that high or steep, but the challenge to us flatland riders is good enough.