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  1. #1
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    Hors Categorie question

    Hors Categorie is known not passable to vehicle. But I have ridden many routes that is classified as HC but is passable to cars and even buses. So why still classified as HC. In my opinion, if its not passable to to vehicles, Iíd reckon we canít even ride up. Any advise?

    Iím referring to road biking.

  2. #2
    corning my own beef
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    for the purpose of categorizing climbs for cycling, while the original basis or 'rules of thumb' of how ascents were categorized may have been related to what type of vehicle could pass, the race organizers and officials who are making these decisions for the purpose of bike racing are not obligated to consider motorized vehicles in their assessment.

    The system for rating climbs has been in place for ....... more than a century, yes? The original criteria for categorizing the ascents was, "what gear (in my car) must I use to get up this hill?"

    Many of the climbs currently passable by cars, buses, etc., were little more than dirt paths many years ago. Does that mean the methodology behind the system used to categorize climbs should be reassessed? I would say NO, but your opinion may be different.
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  3. #3
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    Aren't the categories defined for 5 through 1 which are considered categorized climbs? Anything more difficult than 1 is HC. No?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ph0enix View Post
    Aren't the categories defined for 5 through 1 which are considered categorized climbs? Anything more difficult than 1 is HC. No?
    but a hill cat 4 in one race can be a different ranking in another race. it depends on the general course.
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  5. #5
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    Well, nowadays they are rated by length and vertical climb, and the category can be adjusted depending on other factors such as road surface and the position on the route. Historically, when the category system was developed after the war, they did use the "what gear does the car need to be in" method. Modern cars are far more capable than cars were in the late '40's, which is why that's not such a good rule of thumb anymore.
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  6. #6
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    As others have said, you're simply mistaken about what "hc" means. Historically, climbs were rated from First Category (hardest) to Fourth Category (easiest), a system similar to the brightness rankings of sky objects used by astronomers (a First Magnitude star is brighter than a Second Magnitude).

    When the folks who describe climbs in bike races decided that some of the First Category climbs were harder and deserved a different ranking, they could have gone one of three ways.
    (1) make the hardest ones First, move the others down to Second, and move all the others down, adding a Fifth Category.
    (2) use zero, and possibly negative numbers if they want to rank some even harder. That would sound funny, though it's what the astronomers do (there are zero-magnitude and negative-one magnitude objects, and so on)
    (3) call the hard ones "beyond category"

    They picked (3)

    Phoenix, I think it only goes to 4, at least in the Euro races. You may be confused by the US racing license system, which starts with Cat 5.

    A small language pet-peeve of mine: the climb rankings historicallly used ORDINAL numbers. It really doesn't matter, but it bugs me to hear an announcer refer to a "Category Two" climb rather than "Second Category." But it doesn't matter, really; just tradition.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by novetan View Post
    Hors Categorie is known not passable to vehicle. But I have ridden many routes that is classified as HC but is passable to cars and even buses. So why still classified as HC. In my opinion, if its not passable to to vehicles, Iíd reckon we canít even ride up. Any advise?

    Iím referring to road biking.
    You are NOT correct in saying that HC climbs are not passable by a vehicle. This is simply incorrect. MAYBE it was that way many decades ago but cars followed the TdF from the early years and many pictures from the 1930s show cars going up the classic climbs. They probably struggled, they overheated, they burned out clutches and brakes, but they did it.

    Here is a guide to categorized climbs:

    Climb categories:
    Category 4 - usually less than 3 km with a slight grade
    Category 3 - up to 5 km in length, slightly steeper grade
    Category 2 - 5-10 km long, greater than a 4% grade
    Category 1 - 10-20 km, greater than 5% grade
    Hors Categorie - 15-20 km at grades often above 10% (averaging 6+%)

    Final categorization of a given climb also depends on the difficulty of the stage, and where the climb occurs in the stage.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    As others have said, you're simply mistaken about what "hc" means. Historically, climbs were rated from First Category (hardest) to Fourth Category (easiest), a system similar to the brightness rankings of sky objects used by astronomers (a First Magnitude star is brighter than a Second Magnitude).

    When the folks who describe climbs in bike races decided that some of the First Category climbs were harder and deserved a different ranking, they could have gone one of three ways.
    (1) make the hardest ones First, move the others down to Second, and move all the others down, adding a Fifth Category.
    (2) use zero, and possibly negative numbers if they want to rank some even harder. That would sound funny, though it's what the astronomers do (there are zero-magnitude and negative-one magnitude objects, and so on)
    (3) call the hard ones "beyond category"

    They picked (3)

    Phoenix, I think it only goes to 4, at least in the Euro races. You may be confused by the US racing license system, which starts with Cat 5.

    A small language pet-peeve of mine: the climb rankings historicallly used ORDINAL numbers. It really doesn't matter, but it bugs me to hear an announcer refer to a "Category Two" climb rather than "Second Category." But it doesn't matter, really; just tradition.
    Thanks, you're right! I got the 5 from MapMyRide. They rate climbs up to 5 but I've never seen it in any pro races or even on Strava.
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