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  1. #1
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    America's 100 hardest climbs

    Thought I'd share this for the guys/gals who enjoy climbs -

    After 5 years of chipping away, I finally finished America's 100 hardest climbs a few days ago. None where done in record speed or style, just your typical week warrior turning the pedals. Other than the handful of routes near home, they were all done on a steel Ritchey Breakaway. The list I used came from an off the shelf publication that has since seen a revision, but it’s the list I started with 5 years ago so it’s the one I stuck to till the end. I did geek out a little bit & made a batch geo map of the rides below. You can click on a ride to see it associated RideWithGPS route/pics. Thanks

    America's 100 hardest climbs

    Misc Stats:

    Ritchey case broken 4 by airline times, 1 broken spoke, 1 broken shifter, 2 flats, 245 GU shots, 35 rental cars, & 1 speeding ticket (thank you Vermont Super Troopers)

    A Quick breakdown of the rides:

    Climbs by state

    Arizona 3
    California 52
    Colorado 7
    Georgia 1
    Hawaii 5
    Nevada 6
    New Hampshire 2
    New Mexico 2
    New York 1
    North Carolina 1
    Oregon 3
    Tennessee 2
    Utah 6
    Vermont 3
    Washington 2
    Wyoming 4
    Grand Total 100, 448,482' of climbing, 1545.3 miles


    Favorites (IMHO)

    Haleakala, Maui - Perfect grade for 10,000’, start at the beach, finish in lunar landscape. Just cool
    Horseshoe Meadows, CA - Huge switchbacks, big views
    Palomar Mountain, CA - Tons of switchbacks, interesting riding
    Sherman Pass West, CA - Isolated, twisty, great views
    Mt. Lemmon, AZ - Perfect grade, scenic
    Mt. Ashland, OR - A quiet twisty climb thru forest ending at ski area w/great views
    Roan Mountain, NC – East coast Fav
    Sequoia, CA – Scenic, lots of switchbacks, big views
    Mt. Shasta, CA – perfect grade, quiet road, fantastic views
    Sandia Crest, NM – A fast, gentle grade up to a scenic overlook
    Gilbraltor Rd, CA – A coastal classic. Great views, challenging climbing

    Toughest for me

    Mauna Loa - Endless sitting & standing over 11,000’ & 44 mi of rolling grades
    Mt. Washington, NH – it’s the king for a reason – it never lets up
    White Mountain, CA – A big ride that’s both mentally & physically tough
    Alternate 14, WY – 5 miles w/gravel trucks followed by 13 mi of 10%, then numerous false summits
    Mineral King, CA – Most underrated in the guide. A dozen 14-17% ramps on a carpet bombed mining road
    Mauna Kea – Last 5 miles is wicked steep, at altitude

    Worst climbs

    Hwy 18 S, CA – A 4 lane freeway. Ride this if you have a terminal disease & wanted to end it all
    Anything on Mt. Charleston, NV – Dull. Didn’t turn my bars for endless miles. Bring ipod
    Wildrose, CA –Technically closed. It is being reclaimed by nature. Better done on mtb or cross bike
    Stainback Rd, HI – Dense vegetation w/no turns
    Rose Summit North, NV – A nice climb but very heavy, high speed traffic

  2. #2
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    Wow, that's quite the project!

    This is from the Climb By Bike book, right?

  3. #3
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    yep, that was the inspiration

  4. #4
    Road Warrior
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    Congrats, Great Accomplishment !!!!

  5. #5
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    Congrats. That is really inspiring. I am just trying to hit as many Jersey ones as I can.

  6. #6
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    It sounds like a wonderful "project". I may have to try some of the West Coast rides sometime.

    I'm surprised that HWY 242 (McKenzie Pass) in Oregon didn't make the list, although perhaps there is a tradeoff between scenic and intensity.

  7. #7
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    Inspiring! That is a great challenge and accomplishment, good for you! I am about to embark on a cycling road trip from San Francisco down south through Palm Springs and then east through AZ, NM and then north to CO and back west through Utah and NV. Now that I've seen the climbs you've done I may have to alter my rides or at least stop and do some of these passes.
    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the kind words. Looking back the only thing I'd do different is enlist someone to ride with. Those were some lonely miles, particularly in Death Valley

  9. #9
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    Pikes peak in CO probably wasn't open to the public when the book was published - certainly would've made the list.

    Its only been open to cyclists for 3 years.

    To the OP - great accomplishment.

  10. #10
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    You're probably right. Goal was to do the original list but I might start looking at any that have been changed / added since then

  11. #11
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    The only one I've done is Brasstown Bald, and that was a doozy. Major kudos to you!

  12. #12
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    That's really cool. Even without the cycling it looks like some great travel to beautiful areas.

  13. #13
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    Very cool and impressive.

  14. #14
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    One of them (Alba Road, near Santa Cruz) is right where I live. I am scared to go down it, even in a car. (18% grade and terrible pavement).

    Congrats on this and the other 99! I think I have done about 3 others.
    Last edited by wgscott; 09-08-2014 at 01:29 PM.

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    America's 100 hardest climbs

    Great job! In fact, quite amazing in my opinion. Gibraltar in Santa Barbara is the only one I'm familiar with and I'm glad to see it made the list.
    2013 Lynskey R230. Campy Chorus 11 speed.
    2013 Giant Defy Advanced SL. Ultegra DI2 11 speed.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by willieboy View Post
    Great job! In fact, quite amazing in my opinion. Gibraltar in Santa Barbara is the only one I'm familiar with and I'm glad to see it made the list.
    Yeah, Gibraltar road was one of my favorites. Wish I could afford to live there,

  17. #17
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    Very cool. Congratulations, and thanks for the nice interactive map.

    I grew up in Reno, and I was glad to see Mt. Rose on the list. That one and Haleakala are the only ones on the list that I've ridden.
    Have you ever been to Electric Ladyland?

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    Amazing. That is an awesome accomplishment. Congratulations. Just out of curiosity, what was the climb in NY?

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    I still can't get over what an experience and great journey this would be. You should write about it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Social Climber View Post
    Amazing. That is an awesome accomplishment. Congratulations. Just out of curiosity, what was the climb in NY?
    Thanks. There's only one in NY - Whiteface (aka iceface)

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    Excellent. Now I want to do a project like this.

    I don't see how Glacier Lodge and Rock Creek in the Eastern Sierras made the hardest 100 list. Certainly nothing compared to a full-blown Owens Valley-to-the-top-of-White Mt., 4K to 14K if you go the whole way (The last few miles is hike-a-bike). A group of mtb riders and I do that most summers going up Silver Canyon from Laws.

    I'd add Big Creek, which follows Tollhouse on the Climb to Kaiser, to the list. I think it's 2K ft in 2 miles.

    White Mt:

    America's 100 hardest climbs-mini-mini-img_0829.jpg
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    America's 100 hardest climbs-mini-mini-img_0834.jpg
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    America's 100 hardest climbs-mini-mini-img_0889.jpg
    America's 100 hardest climbs-mini-mini-img_0896.jpg

  22. #22
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    I concur, white mountain is a beast. Nice work & cool pics. If u like adventures like that Mauna Kea should be on your list. On the right day (weather & snow permitting) it could be ridden from sea level to its 14k summit in a single epic push. You'd need a cross bike or swap to mtb at 9.5k' were it switches from pavement to dirt

    Lower & upper rock creek rd linked are 5600' of climbing over 20 miles & that's what made the top 100. Not just rock creek from 395 turn off. Glacier lodge is one of the easier ones in the Eastern Sierra but still makes the list. The top 100 is derived from grade & length into a "hors" rating. Some of the east coast ones are 2.5 to 3 mi long but wicked steep.

  23. #23
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    My brother used to live in Kailua-Kona. We drove to where the dirt started, but the car couldn't make it much past there. I'd like to try the dirt on a mtb, not sure about the rest of the ride. Congrats for doing it.

  24. #24
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    That's some impressive climbing. Just for extra geekiness, have you summed the total climb, time in the saddle for these 100 rides? I like your map feature where you can see where they are then click on them for the RWGPS details

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowonder View Post
    That's some impressive climbing. Just for extra geekiness, have you summed the total climb, time in the saddle for these 100 rides? I like your map feature where you can see where they are then click on them for the RWGPS details
    It's 448,500' of up for all 100.
    I didn't track the saddle hours.
    Other than the hill climb races I took my time since I'd likely only ride most of them once

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