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Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?(26 posts)

Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?il sogno
Nov 16, 2003 11:07 PM
A post by HouseMoney on the Components board made me wonder... When it comes to cycling, what is the difference between a mountain and a hill? How long does a road have to go upwards before you consider it a mountain climb? Is a hill anything you can sprint over, out of the saddle? Is a mountain something where you have to sit down and grind it out?
re: Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?alchemy
Nov 17, 2003 12:08 AM
I'm sure that whatever I ride up can only be classed as a hill - they all just happen to feel like Alpe d'Huez or the Galibier !!!

Seriously, there's nothing here in Western Australia that could even come close to being considered a mountain climb, in spite of what these 40 year old legs tell me as I puff and wheeze my way to the top. The longest climbs we have around here would be about 4 to 5 km's at about 4 degrees - definitely only a hill in Euro terms.

I should know better but I still ride on roads that head upwards. I guess the good thing is that once you get to the top, you get to come back down.
>30 minutes = mountainDanoK
Nov 17, 2003 12:16 AM
My rule-of-thumb is that steady climbing longer than 30 minutes constitutes a mountain. I say that because if I have to climb more than 30 minutes, then energy conservation during the climb becomes a prime consideration. Shorter climbs, while they may still be very difficult, can be tackled by buckling down and allowing yourself to go anaerobic. You will reach the top before your system decides its really had enough and starts to shut down. If I approach a longer climb the same way, I will blow after 20-30 minutes and be unable to sustain the pace I have set in the first 20 minutes. If I know a climb is longer, then I intentionally keep the pace on the first half of the climb well below what I could do at the time and allow the climb itself to take its toll....and it will. Doing too much too early on a mountain will make me pay too high of a price before I reach the top. So, less than 30 minutes = hill, more than 30 minutes = mountain (for me.)
re: Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?gray8110
Nov 17, 2003 2:33 AM
Meh - If it's a climb, it's a climb. I don't classify them as mountains or otherwise (plenty o'hills in the mountains) I'd say anything w/1,500 or more feet of climbing is a big climb. If it's between 500 & 1500 it's moderate. 200 to 500 is small and anything less a roller.

1,500 feet for me falls right at that 30 minute number that was mentioned earlier. Longer than that, it's best just to find a comfortable rhtyhm and go. I've got nearby climbs with as much as 5000 feet of vertical.
East of the Mississippi = hill...Matno
Nov 17, 2003 4:45 AM
West of the Mississippi could be either, but is a lot more likely to be a mountain...

Just a general rule of thumb. I know there are some hills here in the Appalachians that would kill me (heck, I have a hard time on some OVERPASSES), but the Utah mountain biker/skier in me says they still don't count.
Not ...tarwheel
Nov 17, 2003 5:35 AM
There are plenty of climbs in the East that qualify as mountains, with climbs as long and as steep as you would find just about anywhere. Many of the mountain roads out West actually have easier grades because cars and trucks wouldn't be able to climb them with the lower oxygen levels at high altitude.

To me, a climb qualifies as a mountain if it's at least 2 miles long and climbs a peak. However, some of the most brutal climbs are "merely" roads that climb out of river valleys. You don't actually scale a peak, but might climb 2-3 miles or more on steep grades.

If you don't think any climbs in the East qualify as mountains, try riding the Assault on Mount Mitchell (NC), Bridge to Bridge (Grandfather Mtn, NC), Mount Washington (NH), or Brasstown Bald (GA). These all have sustained climbs on steep grades for many, many miles.
climb hog pen gap/grandfather mtn/beech mtn/brasstown bald..._rt_
Nov 17, 2003 6:55 AM
(all in GA/NC) and then come talk to us eastcoasters about mtns.

colorado it ain't, but that doesn't make it any less of a mountain.

rt
come on, rt, why do you think they call it 6gap, not 6mountain?Mike P
Nov 17, 2003 9:17 AM
It's east of the Miss. River so they aren't mountains! And don't forget the little hill the Cherohala skyway goes over.

Mike
oh. right. duh._rt_
Nov 17, 2003 10:58 AM
assault on Mt. Mitchel, both off-road & on....no mountains there. nope. not a one.

;-)

rt - anyone ever ridden around the non-mountains in VT or northern Quebec?
1000 feet is a mountain.dr hoo
Nov 17, 2003 5:49 AM
At least according to the movie "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain."
re: Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?BikeViking
Nov 17, 2003 7:24 AM
Geographically speaking, it is a mountain if it's elevation is greater than or equal to 2000'(609 meters). Anything less than that is a hill.

Scott
If you can ride your bike up it, it's a hill...rwbadley
Nov 17, 2003 7:38 AM
When I think of Mountain, it has snow and/or glaciers on top and the peak is accessible only by climbing with ropes and gear.
re: Poll: Is it a Mountain, or is it a Hill?bike_guy
Nov 17, 2003 7:48 AM
I met a guy this past spring riding cross country. He had started in California and was heading east. He said the climbs out west were much longer, but no harder than what we ride all the time in the western part of Virginia. According to him and the guidebook he was carrying we have some of the steepest roads in the nation. So our climbs may be 5 miles at the most, but the roads are much steeper than anything else.
Is it a lake or is it a pond?DougSloan
Nov 17, 2003 8:06 AM
In response to this question, the best answer I heard was "A lake is a body of water you would hesitate to swim across." Maybe the same concept applies.

Doug
the Alps and Rockies are mountainsgtx
Nov 17, 2003 9:01 AM
Anything that doesn't go up to at least 10,000 feet doesn't really qualify as a mountain IMO. Mt. Tam is about 4,000 feet--I think it's just a big hill.
so are Appalachianscyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 9:19 AM
why else would they call them Appalachian Mountains? ;)
I always get tickled by Rocky mnt bigotry. Rockies are nothing but hills, esp if you compare 'em to Himalayans, where mnt foot starts at 16,000'.
ah ha! Everest is the only mountain in the world!!_rt_
Nov 17, 2003 11:15 AM
all the rest are just varying sized hills.

;)

rt
Next time I climb into the Sierra Nevada's, I'll rememberRoger2
Nov 17, 2003 1:06 PM
that they're just hills. ;0)
Sierras go over 10,000 feet, don't they?gtx
Nov 17, 2003 2:39 PM
Though I just checked Half Dome and it's only 8,842 feet. I've ridden my bike up to 12,000 feet in New Mexico...
and Mont Ventoux is only a hill, right?cyclopathic
Nov 17, 2003 3:50 PM
what is it 6100'?
None of the paved roads I know of do.Roger2
Nov 18, 2003 7:53 AM
I think the trails above Marlette lake may be close to 10k.
The road up a mountain is nothing but a hill. nmMike P
Nov 17, 2003 9:18 AM
Depends on how fast you go up itbimini
Nov 17, 2003 10:32 AM
Not many mountains here in IA (west of the Mississippi by the way), but plenty of hills, rollers and strong winds.

Any paved road can feel like a mountain or a hill depending on how your bike is geared and how much energy you are putting into the pedals.

I've worked a lot harder on the flats with a 30+ MPH head wind in timetrails than I spent climbing any of the "hills" around here. I'm certain any normal paved mountain road can be turned into a hill with the right gearing, you just have to pedal longer to get there. And, any hill can be turned into a mountain if you go fast enough.

We do have a several brutal hills around here with inclines of 15-20 degrees, but the total climbs are to an elevation of 1500 feet (but we start at 900 feet). Still, with a 39-23 low gear I'm huffing and puffing at the tops.

If, I'm lucky my wife will let me rent a bike and climb a mountain on Maui, so my story may change after that. It is a climb from sea level to 10,000+ feet in a little over 30 miles. I will make certain I rent a triple.
Elevation Gain is What Countspeter in NVA
Nov 17, 2003 1:39 PM
Many peaks in Colorado start at 10 kft at go to 14 kft and some eastern peaks start near sea level and in 10-20 miles rise to 4 kft - same rise. FWIW, Mt McKinley in Alaska is more of a mountain to me than Everest, rising nearly 19 kft vertical feet above its base valley whereas Everest rises above the Tibetian plateau that sits at 15 kft (I know you can see it a 100 miles away from the Indian plains, but that doesn't count!).
Elevation Gain is What Countspeter in NVA
Nov 17, 2003 1:42 PM
Many peaks in Colorado start at 10 kft and go to 14 kft and some eastern peaks start near sea level and in 10-20 miles rise to 4 kft - same rise. FWIW, Mt McKinley in Alaska is more of a mountain to me than Everest, rising nearly 19 kft vertical feet above its base valley whereas Everest rises above the Tibetian plateau that sits at 15 kft (I know you can see it a 100 miles away from the Indian plains, but that doesn't count!).
Climb or a rollergeorge_da_trog
Nov 17, 2003 3:17 PM
Mountains or Hills never come into the discussion with my riding buddies... it's either a climb or a roller?

Me: "Are there any climbs on this route?"

Lying riding partner: "No, it's just a few rollers."

george