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Damn. That hurts.


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In the late 80s a friend and I did a self supported 3 night/4 day loaded tour in Arkansas. The highest point in the state is Mt Magazine, probably under 2,200 ft. We scoffed at that, as we were climbing Clingmans Dome once a month. We were in the Ouachita National Forest and there were endless one mile rollers that day. Thoroughly kicked our butts, we hitched a ride the last mile to the top of Magazine as it was dark. Camped at the bottom, met two really interesting guys and that was the first and only time I ate chicken where (1) I saw feathers on the bird before it was cooked and (2) the birds were stolen. But that’s another story in itself. Pretty sure they were running from the law, but they had alcohol and we had weed.

Moral of story - low peak doesn’t necessarily mean easy climb.
This has kind of puzzled me for years. I live with lots of steep climbs, short though, mostly... yet, there a few climbs a seem to barely notice and some that break my back. and it doesn’t seem entirely correlated with grade? I have a dramatic grade maybe 1/4 mile climb, granted I typically do it in 34.30 but it’s no big. Sometimes I big ring sprint it but less lately because I hurt my knee doing that on that climb 3 years ago.

But there is a less dramatic climb, maybe 3/4 mile long that goes past my local police station that ends on a false flat for about another mile... It busts my balls. It doesn’t look brutal at all where the other climb looks totally brutal.

That same thing applies to a number of local grades. I really don’t think it’s a psychological phenomenon.... When that police station climb finally turns downhill, I’m on fire. Then I get 3 miles of gentle descent.... I’ll do it in the low 20s (mph) depending on the lights and highway crossings.

It just seems the effort and the predictability should be more consistent with the grade?


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