L'Alpe d'Huez the hardest climb ?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Rik O'Shea, Nov 25, 2003.

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  1. Rik O'Shea

    Rik O'Shea Guest

    Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of the
    hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill climb to
    L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was not the
    hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
     
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  2. Michael Fuhr

    Michael Fuhr Guest

    [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:

    > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was not
    > the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?

    The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient. Their
    site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other countries:

    http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm

    The toughest climb on this list is Angliru, with a difficulty of
    507. The toughest Tour de France climb on the list is the Galibier + Telegraphe combo, with a
    difficulty of 486. Mont Ventoux is 406, while Alpe d'Huez is "only" 296.

    --
    Michael Fuhr http://www.fuhr.org/~mfuhr/
     
  3. Dan Connelly

    Dan Connelly Guest

    Michael Fuhr wrote:
    > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:
    >
    >
    >>Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    >>the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    >>climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was not
    >>the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    >
    >
    > The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    > "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient.
    > Their site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other
    > countries:
    >
    > http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm
    >
    > The toughest climb on this list is Angliru, with a difficulty of
    > 507. The toughest Tour de France climb on the list is the Galibier + Telegraphe combo, with a
    > difficulty of 486. Mont Ventoux is 406, while Alpe d'Huez is "only" 296.
    >

    Nice calculation.

    This, however, doesn't address Roche's point, which is that it's the hardest because of its location
    within the stage. He's assuming a typical epic lead-in to the Alpe, such as Galabier + Croix de Fer.

    Dan
     
  4. Michael Fuhr

    Michael Fuhr Guest

    Dan Connelly <[email protected]_e_e_e.o_r_g> writes:

    > Michael Fuhr wrote:
    > > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:
    > >
    > >>Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > >>the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > >>climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was
    > >>not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    > >
    > > The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    > > "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient.
    > > Their site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other
    > > countries:
    > >
    > > http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm

    [snip]

    > Nice calculation.
    >
    > This, however, doesn't address Roche's point, which is that it's the hardest because of its
    > location within the stage. He's assuming a typical epic lead-in to the Alpe, such as Galabier +
    > Croix de Fer.

    Summing up the coefficients of difficulty of the lead-in climbs might give an estimate of how
    difficult the stage had been prior to the final climb. Maybe the formula could be tweaked to take
    into account "later in the stage," such as applying a multiplier based on previous distance ridden
    and the sum of previous climbs' difficulties. For example, Alpe d'Huez alone has a difficulty of
    296, but based on what came before it you might use a multiplier of, say 1.5, giving a weighted
    difficulty of 1.5 * 296 = 444.

    Just a thought.

    --
    Michael Fuhr http://www.fuhr.org/~mfuhr/
     
  5. Mr60percent

    Mr60percent Guest

    [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was not
    > the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?

    I think there are a lot harder individual climbs than L'Alpe d'Huez in France but they aren't used
    very often in the Tour - maybe because they dont fit in the traditional route map.

    Mount Ventoux Le Mont Du Chat Col de Cranon Tourmalet Telegraphe-Galibier Col del La Bonette

    These could be be considered harder than L'Alpe d'Huez. The Ventoux is probably the hardest that's
    included on a regular basis.

    The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.

    I think the reason why the L'Alpe is considered so crucial is its always the last Col of a stage
    plus the fact that it starts with a bang as the first few kilometers are at over 10%. I think the
    gradient on the sharp turns may act as a spring board for attacks. The last couple of kilometres
    though it eases up to 3% and then flattens out. Compare this to the Ventoux which finishes at 10%
    and "flattens" out to 9%.
     
  6. Rik O'Shea

    Rik O'Shea Guest

    [email protected] (Michael Fuhr) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:
    >
    > > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was
    > > not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    >
    > The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    > "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient.
    > Their site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other
    > countries:
    >
    > http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm
    >
    > The toughest climb on this list is Angliru, with a difficulty of
    > 507. The toughest Tour de France climb on the list is the Galibier + Telegraphe combo, with a
    > difficulty of 486. Mont Ventoux is 406, while Alpe d'Huez is "only" 296.

    This info makes sense. If I recall correctly it was stage 15 to Luz-Ardiden (when Armstrong fell).
    Ulrich attacked or attempted to distance himself from Armstrong on the Tourmalet. Roche said this
    was a harder climb than L'Alpe d'Huez but ironically not a good place to attack! He heavily critised
    Ulrich's attack as being naieve because there was a long non-technical descent to the base of
    Luz-Ardiden and no possibility of maintaining the attack on the descent even if he had gotten away
    from Armstrong. As a point of interest Roche said the finish to Luz Ariden also presented a very
    difficult climb and was the place to attach as the gradient never eased up - maybe Armstrong was
    listening to Roche!
     
  7. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Michael Fuhr) wrote:

    > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:
    >
    > > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was
    > > not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    >
    > The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    > "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient.
    > Their site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other
    > countries:
    >
    > http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm
    >
    > The toughest climb on this list is Angliru, with a difficulty of
    > 507. The toughest Tour de France climb on the list is the Galibier + Telegraphe combo, with a
    > difficulty of 486. Mont Ventoux is 406, while Alpe d'Huez is "only" 296.

    And don't forget the Pandera, I watched it last year when heras won, and they did it again this
    year.There are some climbs in the giro and vuelta which look like they are as bad as or worse than
    any in the tour. Did anyone see the Zoncolan in this year's giro? It's only about the last 15k which
    are the toughest- at one point the gradient was 27%. THe best climbers in the world and they were
    all in agony. Simoni just flew up and left everyone behind. And yet even he had such a terrible time
    on the alpe.

    There are some great photos of suffering on the Alpe, 1992, and other Alpe photos on this website:

    http://www.first-contact.demon.co.uk/cyclingindex.html
     
  8. Carl Sundquist

    Carl Sundquist New Member

    Joined:
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    The Gentings Highland climb in Langkawi is a grind too, but at least in the initial versions of the race, the stage was pretty short and it was the only climb of the day.
     
  9. Kenny

    Kenny Guest

    > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was not
    > the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?

    Remembering the look of my dad when he climbed several cols during our holidays, he suffered the
    most on the Mont Ventoux, the Tourmalet and the Stelvio in Italy.
     
  10. > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.

    I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad... but as I was descending the
    back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be one of the toughest things I
    could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.

    Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up, never changes, just goes and
    goes and goes. You even wish it would get steeper at times, just to break things up a bit. But it
    doesn't. Even the corners are graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel exactly the
    same. It's downright eerie.

    Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade flattens out in the hairpins (so
    you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel like you're getting somewhere.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com

    "mr60percent" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one of
    > > the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final uphill
    > > climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe d'Huez was
    > > not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    >
    >
    > I think there are a lot harder individual climbs than L'Alpe d'Huez in France but they aren't used
    > very often in the Tour - maybe because they dont fit in the traditional route map.
    >
    > Mount Ventoux Le Mont Du Chat Col de Cranon Tourmalet Telegraphe-Galibier Col del La Bonette
    >
    > These could be be considered harder than L'Alpe d'Huez. The Ventoux is probably the hardest that's
    > included on a regular basis.
    >
    > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    >
    > I think the reason why the L'Alpe is considered so crucial is its always the last Col of a stage
    > plus the fact that it starts with a bang as the first few kilometers are at over 10%. I think the
    > gradient on the sharp turns may act as a spring board for attacks. The last couple of kilometres
    > though it eases up to 3% and then flattens out. Compare this to the Ventoux which finishes at 10%
    > and "flattens" out to 9%.
     
  11. "Marlene Blanshay" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Michael Fuhr) wrote:
    >
    > > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) writes:
    > >
    > > > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one
    > > > of the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final
    > > > uphill climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe
    > > > d'Huez was not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    > >
    > > The guys who run altimetrias.com have attempted to quantify this by calculating a climb's
    > > "coefficient of difficulty" using a formula that takes into account climb length and gradient.
    > > Their site catalogs climbs in Spain, but they do have a list of well-known climbs in other
    > > countries:
    > >
    > > http://www.altimetrias.com/htm/ComoCoefUK.htm
    > >
    > > The toughest climb on this list is Angliru, with a difficulty of
    > > 507. The toughest Tour de France climb on the list is the Galibier + Telegraphe combo, with a
    > > difficulty of 486. Mont Ventoux is 406, while Alpe d'Huez is "only" 296.
    >
    > And don't forget the Pandera, I watched it last year when heras won, and they did it again this
    > year.There are some climbs in the giro and vuelta which look like they are as bad as or worse than
    > any in the tour. Did anyone see the Zoncolan in this year's giro? It's only about the last 15k
    > which are the toughest- at one point the gradient was 27%. THe best climbers in the world and they
    > were all in agony. Simoni just flew up and left everyone behind. And yet even he had such a
    > terrible time on the alpe.
    >
    > There are some great photos of suffering on the Alpe, 1992, and other Alpe photos on this website:
    >
    > http://www.first-contact.demon.co.uk/cyclingindex.html

    Well, for one day I thought it would be the circle of death or the (circle of the dead men) Talking
    about Aubisque and the Col du Tourmalet but also one year where Lemond finished with Luz-Ardiden. In
    the early years tour organizers were criticized for including mountain passes that were thought to
    be too difficult and would lead to deaths amongst the competitors. Otherwise I always thought
    Galabier and Croix de Fer coupled with Alpe d'Huez would be good show for hardest one day ride. Mont
    Ventoux was good but I can't remember what other climbs it was coupled with except I remember
    Armstrong saying that was really one mountain he was not looking forward too, more so then any
    other. I think that is where Tommy Simpson died.

    B-
     
  12. "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    >
    > I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad... but
    as
    > I was descending the back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be one
    > of the toughest things I could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.
    >
    > Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up, never changes, just goes and
    > goes and goes. You even wish it would get steeper
    at
    > times, just to break things up a bit. But it doesn't. Even the corners
    are
    > graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel exactly the same. It's downright eerie.

    Ventoux sounds like Mt. Evans. I hear Mt. Evans is a steady even never ending climb taking you above
    the tree line like Ventoux, where Evans is 14+, once the highest paved road in the world.
    >
    > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade
    flattens
    > out in the hairpins (so you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel like
    > you're getting somewhere.
    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com
    >
    > "mr60percent" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > [email protected] (Rik O'Shea) wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > Stephen Roche in this year's Tour commentary said that the L'Alpe d'Huez stage was always one
    > > > of the hardest stages because there were a number of Cols to be negotiated before the final
    > > > uphill climb to L'Alpe d'Huez. However he did say that as an individual climb that L'Alpe
    > > > d'Huez was not the hardest. So what is the hardest climb ?
    > >
    > >
    > > I think there are a lot harder individual climbs than L'Alpe d'Huez in France but they aren't
    > > used very often in the Tour - maybe because they dont fit in the traditional route map.
    > >
    > > Mount Ventoux Le Mont Du Chat Col de Cranon Tourmalet Telegraphe-Galibier Col del La Bonette
    > >
    > > These could be be considered harder than L'Alpe d'Huez. The Ventoux is probably the hardest
    > > that's included on a regular basis.
    > >
    > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    > >
    > > I think the reason why the L'Alpe is considered so crucial is its always the last Col of a stage
    > > plus the fact that it starts with a bang as the first few kilometers are at over 10%. I think
    > > the gradient on the sharp turns may act as a spring board for attacks. The last couple of
    > > kilometres though it eases up to 3% and then flattens out. Compare this to the Ventoux which
    > > finishes at 10% and "flattens" out to 9%.
     
  13. Michael Fuhr

    Michael Fuhr Guest

    "Bruce Johnston" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Ventoux sounds like Mt. Evans. I hear Mt. Evans is a steady even never ending climb taking you
    > above the tree line like Ventoux, where Evans is 14+, once the highest paved road in the world.

    This page has a small profile of Mt. Evans:

    http://www.bicyclerace.com/coursemap.htm

    The page says that the "altitude at finish" is 14,540 ft, which is wrong -- no mountain in the lower
    48 is that high. The 4348m figure is correct (14,264 ft), although the road actually stops somewhat
    below that.

    http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=13&n=4382285&e=445641&s=50&size=m&datum=nad83

    --
    Michael Fuhr http://www.fuhr.org/~mfuhr/
     
  14. Mr60percent

    Mr60percent Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    >
    > I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad... but as I was descending the
    > back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be one of the toughest things
    > I could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.
    >
    > Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up, never changes, just goes and
    > goes and goes. You even wish it would get steeper at times, just to break things up a bit. But it
    > doesn't. Even the corners are graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel exactly the
    > same. It's downright eerie.
    >
    > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade flattens out in the hairpins (so
    > you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel like you're getting
    > somewhere.
    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com
    >

    That's right it depends which side of the Aubisque you go up. I think the side you came down the
    average gradient is twice as steep as the other ascent.

    I think the Ventoux is nasty in a manner that graphs, gradients and profiles dont convey and the
    monotony of the ascent when you get above the tree-line cracks you mentally - not a "fun" climb that
    I would consider doing more than once.
     
  15. "mr60percent" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]> wrote
    in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    > >
    > > I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad...
    but as
    > > I was descending the back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be one
    > > of the toughest things I could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.
    > >
    > > Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up,
    never
    > > changes, just goes and goes and goes. You even wish it would get
    steeper at
    > > times, just to break things up a bit. But it doesn't. Even the corners
    are
    > > graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel exactly the same. It's downright eerie.
    > >
    > > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade
    flattens
    > > out in the hairpins (so you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel
    > > like you're getting somewhere.
    > >
    > > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com
    > >
    >
    > That's right it depends which side of the Aubisque you go up. I think the side you came down the
    > average gradient is twice as steep as the other ascent.
    >
    > I think the Ventoux is nasty in a manner that graphs, gradients and profiles dont convey and the
    > monotony of the ascent when you get above the tree-line cracks you mentally - not a "fun" climb
    > that I would consider doing more than once.

    In a way that reminds me of Tioga pass here at 10+. I much rather do Sonora pass at 9+, not because
    it's easier but it's actually harder and extremely steep with the switchbacks but much more fun and
    gutsy to climb, IE (the back side). Tioga pass can hypnotize you into a trance, again (the back
    side). I like Sonora pass with all the wakeup calls along the way and much more pretty scenery too.

    B-
     
  16. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    mr60percent wrote:
    > I think the Ventoux is nasty in a manner that graphs, gradients and profiles dont convey and the
    > monotony of the ascent when you get above the tree-line cracks you mentally - not a "fun" climb
    > that I would consider doing more than once.

    Parley's Canyon from SLC to Park City sounds vaguely similar. It's just about the only paved route
    to Park City, but contains I-80. It's long, hot, breezy and stinky with vehicle exhaust. Not a steep
    grade, just 5% or so, but it never ends. There's usually a light breeze up the canyon making no
    breeze for a rider.

    Ventoux sounds fun. I'll have to try it someday.

    --
    --
    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "We should not march into Baghdad. ... Assigning young
    soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what
    would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever
    greater instability." George Bush Sr. in his 1998 book "A World Transformed"
     
  17. > In a way that reminds me of Tioga pass here at 10+. I much rather do
    Sonora
    > pass at 9+, not because it's easier but it's actually harder and extremely steep with the
    > switchbacks but much more fun and gutsy to climb, IE (the back side). Tioga pass can hypnotize you
    > into a trance, again (the back side). I like Sonora pass with all the wakeup calls along the way
    > and much more pretty scenery too.

    I use Sonora Pass each year as my final hard ride prior to heading to France. Some years you get the
    pass, some years the pass gets you! We do an out-and-back from Dardanelle to 395, taking in both
    sides on one short (in terms of miles) day. Overall I would rate the difficulty of both sides of
    Sonora Pass to be similar to climbing Ventoux, although Sonora Pass gets a tough rating simply
    because it's steep, while Ventoux plays head-games with you.

    www.ChainReaction.com/sonora_gateway.htm

    Tioga Pass I find to be a pretty easy climb from the west side but, as an out-and-back (from the
    Chevron station to the top and back) it's a long haul because there's so much climbing on the
    "descent." Plus, as you alluded to, after a while the endless granite formations leave you wanting
    something more. Even the road is paved with granite bits. Tenaya Lake *is* a treasure, though.

    www.ChainReaction.com/tiogapass.htm

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Bruce Johnston" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "mr60percent" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]>
    wrote
    > in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the
    L'Alpe.
    > > >
    > > > I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad...
    > but as
    > > > I was descending the back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be
    > > > one of the toughest things I could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.
    > > >
    > > > Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up,
    > never
    > > > changes, just goes and goes and goes. You even wish it would get
    > steeper at
    > > > times, just to break things up a bit. But it doesn't. Even the
    corners
    > are
    > > > graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel exactly the
    same.
    > > > It's downright eerie.
    > > >
    > > > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade
    > flattens
    > > > out in the hairpins (so you can get your speed back up) and the
    numbered
    > > > corners make it feel like you're getting somewhere.
    > > >
    > > > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com
    > > >
    > >
    > > That's right it depends which side of the Aubisque you go up. I think the side you came down the
    > > average gradient is twice as steep as the other ascent.
    > >
    > > I think the Ventoux is nasty in a manner that graphs, gradients and profiles dont convey and the
    > > monotony of the ascent when you get above the tree-line cracks you mentally - not a "fun" climb
    > > that I would consider doing more than once.
    >
    > In a way that reminds me of Tioga pass here at 10+. I much rather do
    Sonora
    > pass at 9+, not because it's easier but it's actually harder and extremely steep with the
    > switchbacks but much more fun and gutsy to climb, IE (the back side). Tioga pass can hypnotize you
    > into a trance, again (the back side). I like Sonora pass with all the wakeup calls along the way
    > and much more pretty scenery too.
    >
    > B-
     
  18. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected]
    (mr60percent) wrote:

    > "Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles" <[email protected]>
    wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > > The Aubisque, Joux Pane and maybe Hautacam are as hard as the L'Alpe.
    > >
    > > I climbed the Aubisque from the Lourdes side, which wasn't too bad... but as I was descending
    > > the back side I remember thinking quite clearly that climbing that would be one of the toughest
    > > things I could imagine. It seemed like it just never let up.
    > >
    > > Ventoux is nasty in a monotonous kind of way; it just never lets up, never changes, just goes
    > > and goes and goes. You even wish it would get steeper at times, just to break things up a bit.
    > > But it doesn't. Even the corners are graded in a strange way that the inside vs middle feel
    > > exactly the same. It's downright eerie.
    > >
    > > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade flattens out in the hairpins
    > > (so you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel like you're getting
    > > somewhere.
    > >
    > > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles www.ChainReaction.com
    > >
    >
    > That's right it depends which side of the Aubisque you go up. I think the side you came down the
    > average gradient is twice as steep as the other ascent.
    >
    > I think the Ventoux is nasty in a manner that graphs, gradients and profiles dont convey and the
    > monotony of the ascent when you get above the tree-line cracks you mentally - not a "fun" climb
    > that I would consider doing more than once.

    I think it's that barren, desolate lunar landscape that makes it particularly unappealing. But it's
    like Kitzbuhel, or Paris Roubaix- everyone kind of dreads it ,but everyone wants to win it! It
    looked really nasty in 2000, with the horrible weather. The wind up there must be horrible!
     
  19. Mike Jacoubowsky/Chain Reaction Bicycles wrote:

    > Alpe d'Huez, on the other hand, is simply fun to climb. The grade flattens out in the hairpins (so
    > you can get your speed back up) and the numbered corners make it feel like you're getting
    > somewhere.

    I quite liked Luz Ardiden for a similar reason. Back when I rode it, they had signs up with the
    average grade for the next km and markers out to let you know how far to go.

    The one I enjoyed the most was the climb up to Pont d'Espagne, which has been used in the
    Tour (once?)
     
  20. "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > In a way that reminds me of Tioga pass here at 10+. I much rather do
    > Sonora
    > > pass at 9+, not because it's easier but it's actually harder and
    extremely
    > > steep with the switchbacks but much more fun and gutsy to climb, IE (the back side). Tioga pass
    > > can hypnotize you into a trance, again (the back side). I like Sonora pass with all the wakeup
    > > calls along the way and
    much
    > > more pretty scenery too.
    >
    > I use Sonora Pass each year as my final hard ride prior to heading to France. Some years you get
    > the pass, some years the pass gets you! We do an out-and-back from Dardanelle to 395, taking in
    > both sides on one short (in terms of miles) day. Overall I would rate the difficulty of both
    sides
    > of Sonora Pass to be similar to climbing Ventoux, although Sonora Pass
    gets
    > a tough rating simply because it's steep, while Ventoux plays head-games with you.

    That last stretch coming up the back side of Sonora pass is the killer. I rode from Dardanelle up
    the front side and then down the back side and then back up again to the top from the back side.
    After that little relay the last stretch coming up the back side to the top is really demanding
    coming at the end like that. One time I cracked big time right near the top with some locals and
    another time I beat all of them having a good day. You are not kidding about some days the pass gets
    you, especially Sonora pass! How about Ebbetts pass? I never got a chance to climb it but once going
    over it with a car I can see why locals get angry at the Death Valley riders. That road is so
    narrow, not enough room for both bikes and cars.

    B-
     
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