Monday, July 21, 2008

11 Standard for Climbing Bragging Rights

I dont have time for a big post today but there was another interesting question I wanted to put forth here tonight.

I bet you readers have done some amazing things on the bicycle in your lives.

Taking into consideration your experience and the regional influence, what is your standard for climbing bragging rights? And is there an ultimate universal standard at all? I wouldn't know.

For example, very recently, I was told it was the 2% rule. Which means for every 10 miles you go in horizontal distance, the vertical has to be 1000 feet in climbing. So 30 miles equates to 3000 feet, 100 miles equates to 10000 feet of climbing and so on.

That sounds a little low to me, and I guess I could break that with a 10 mile ride with 1000 feet of climbing every day?!! And a bike messenger somewhere in the Alps (say) breaks the rule with a pretty solid margin on any short jolly ride to the grocery store. :)

Well, I'm not sure whether there are grocery stores near the Alpine passes but thats another matter. So anyway, Will, Don etc...what are your thoughts?


  1. I realize you are referring to a different Don, however I am going to chime in. I'm not sure, in Ohio, it is possible to follow the 2% rule. I don't know all of Ohio HAS 1000 feet of elevation. Out in my neck of the woods, a few hundred feet it a lot. Just saying.

  2. I forgot there are a couple of Dons who read this blog. Well, I did put a link on that name, so you count in the rest of the group. Thanks for the input... yeah I guess those areas around Erie are pretty low. Like Buffalo,NY for example. Borrrrinnggg...

  3. 2% is about right here in Austin. 33 mile loop I do has a bit over 3000 feet of climbing.

  4. Chris : Do you fill Helium in your tires for that? :)

  5. Anonymous12:16 AM

    It depends if it's on the road or off road. I've done the Durango MTB 100 a couple times. 18,000 feet of climbing in 103 miles. On the road, Mt. Evans climbs 6610 feet in 28 miles. Of course then you get to descend back down.

  6. Rob : That's pretty extreme and you have the license to brag about that for the rest of your life. We are unfortunately stuck in the less blessed parts of the country so this 2% rule is I guess being democratic if you will.

  7. Anonymous9:31 AM

    You know... I think it does seem low but I'm really not sure? Unfortunately, Will is tied up in the Alps right now but I like to hear from him as well as Leslie.

  8. Anonymous6:34 PM

    It seems that 5%-6% is the standard on major passes in Colorado. You won't find modern roads with a sustained grade of more than 6%. Now, on the older roads, all bets are off. My Front Range favorites:

    * Lookout Mtn: 4 miles, 1500' of climb and plenty of competition every day
    * Lefthand Canyon w/Old Stage: 18 miles, 4000', including a full mile at 10%
    * Squaw Pass: 15 miles, about 3500' ending at about 11,000'
    * Mt Evans: 28 miles, about 7800', ending at over 14,000'
    * Triple Bypass: 120 miles, 10,200' of climb

    Locally, merely completing these is routine. I think that it is ok to brag if:

    * You did the Bob Cook Memorial Mt Evans climb in 3 hours or less
    * You did the Triple Bypass in under 7 hours
    * You can do Lookout Mountain in under 20 minutes pretty much any day of the week.

    I can't match those times, but I run into guys around here who can, and my hat is off to them. They can brag all they want.

  9. Michael1:45 AM

    Mt Seymour hill climb just outside of downtown Vancouver a few miles

    1050m altitude gain in 12.9 km ie steep as hell at an average of 7%, but with ramps a little steeper than 10% thrown in

    Cypress Mountain hill climb, also just a few miles away from downtown

    700m gain in 10k. 5% average grade, but there are 2 long'ish flats which skew the equation. Average real climbing time is all in the 8-9% range.

    All in all a couple of solid Cat.1/borderline HC TDF style climbs in our immediate neighbourhood.

    Cypress is a mental grind with LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG straightaways, while the Seymour climb serves up loads of switchbacks and is a far more ascetic experience.

    Just outside of Quebec City (my home town) you will find sustained climbs in the 12% range that are 6+ km long. They aren't bringing the ProTour there for nothing next year!

  10. I'm horribly late on this post, but I just stumbled across this blog looking for some VAM data. Great site!

    I have to say that The Everest Challenge should be worth something for bragging rights - first day is 128mi and about 15,000', second day is around 80mi(?) and a bit over 14,000' - one "Mt Everest" worth of climbing in one looong weekend. Hell of a race!

  11. Anonymous12:02 PM

    I am proud to say there are three wonderful & well organized rides in WISCONSIN that have over 100' per mile - Horribly Hilly, Insane Terrain, and the Dairyland Dare. What makes these extra challenging is they are rollers, not just a few long steady climbs that allow one to get into their "rhythm".


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