Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alpe d'Huez, France or Alpe di Catenaia, Italy?

All the talk in road cycling regarding tough-climbs will surely include the "Alpe d'Huez" climb in France- usually seen on TV during the Tour de France.  Actually, if you want to ride a similar climb, and you don't want to travel to France, you can climb Whiteface Mtn, Lake Placid, NY USA.  It's a similar climb..8 miles at an average grade of 8% on asphalt.

(Speaking of Lake Placid, TWiley Sports is hosting its 4th annual Ironman Lake Placid Training Camp in 2 weeks.  I believe there are some open spots available during the Memorial Day weekend camp.  If you're interested in training/riding the hills of Lake Placid..contact Todd: toddpwiley@comcast.net or myself: mullerrj@comcast.net )

Just recently, however, I climbed a tougher/steeper climb- if you can believe that.  I did it on a heavy Mtn bike, with a 10 lb. backpack, on my recent vacation to Italy.  It's a climb from a Villa in Chevrietto, Italy to Alpe di Catenaia, Italy.  It's only a 6 mile climb (felt longer) but it averaged 10.4% grade with a max grade of 26%.  I'm actually glad I did it on a Mtn. bike because I had a granny gear (3rd chainring) which really helped.  What didn't help, however, was the loose gravel on half the route (the white roads as they call them in Italy). 

What made the route tougher was not only the altitude but the fact that I had a 1.2 mile climb at the end of the ride (2.5 hr.) that included a 26% grade section.  Needless to say, I walked that section on VERY tired legs.  The course wasn't very technical but it was enough dirt/gravel roads for me.  I didn't want to venture too much off the beaten path because there was limited cell phone reception.  You never know if you're going to crash/burn on a technical section or be bitten by a bee, snake, scorpion, etc..all of which were local.

 Anyway, good time riding the hills.  I maintain, if you want to get better at climbing..there is no substitute for climbing during your training rides.   Power ON!  Coach Rob

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