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Date Posted: 13:52:08 11/12/02 Tue
Author: upwardly mobile
Subject: wgtn hill gradients

found in the archives of yahoo egroups..............

L'Alpe d'Huez is very very steep. The total is something like 8.5 per cent
for the whole climb, but there's a good spell in the middle and another
nearer the top that are not bad - so make the average deceptive. The bottom
couple of k are horrendous. It's not so much the steepness of the hills,
it's the unrelenting nature. I think the best example of an Alpine or
Pyrennean climb here is Horokiwi - anything else is either not steep enough
or has a flat/downhill. Even that only climbs for I guess 3km or so, so do
it three times and you'll start getting the idea of one climb. A lot of the
smaller Pyrennean climbs especially have spells of 11 to 13 per cent. Easy
to compare to Welly climbs: that's 130 metres altitude gain in just one km
(Mt Vic is 199 metres I think). Ngauranga gorge from memory is something
like 8 per cent, so go do that 8 times and you've done l'Alpe d'Huez. I
personally think the hardest climb in the Alps is the Glandon, which
basically a ridge over to Croix de Fer. Riding in the direction towards
l'Alpe d'Huez there's a stetch of about 3km to the top that's 15 per cent or
so. That hits you after you've been climbing for damn near an hour and it
blows you to pieces. Personally I rode 38X24 on much of most of the big
climbs (basically all of them apart from Galibier) and sometimes that wasn't
low enough. Oh there was a hell road in Austria that climbed 1400 vertical
metres to 2800 metres at an average of 14 per cent the whole way. My pulse
was about 10 beats off max for an hour and I was riding at between 9-12 kph.
The other brilliant one was Gavia in Italy which hits that 14 per cent again
for several k's - and was until a couple of years ago unsealed except on the
corners. Factor in a snowstorm like Andy Hampsten in 1989 or whatever it
was, and you get the picture of just how good those guys are.

Happy riding


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