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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rode a set of steep hills -- the hilliest and steepest loop I've ever done -- and it was in New Jersey. Good variety of climbing, including very steep -- and some gentler pretty riding to get between the hills thru some of the nicest farmland out in western NJ [ see Map ].

These hills are in the same area as the "Hillier Than Thou" organized ride which has been held in September for lots of years. I've ridden HTT once (the first year) and I've seen a lot of the painted route markings, and it hit me that in order to offer a good event for lots of riders, its route cannot be as hilly + steep as New Jersey can offer.

So I tried riding a sequence of hills that was much hillier and steeper than HTT -- in terms of vertical (and steep vertical) per horizontal mile -- with no climbs repeated. My main "Hillier Than Hillier" sequence is around 10000 vertical feet in 62 miles -- (I have another version with 13400 vertical ft in 91 miles). I put the details up in
this report

I felt real strong in the beginning, but toward the end I did walk up one section of Fiddlers Elbow (which sometimes I can ride up all the way), and I did do some "tacking" (weaving) on the steep section of the Wester - Decker climb.

I measured my time climbing up each hill, and afterward added up all the times -- my total time for the 15 hills was just over 2:40 -- that's a pure "climbing" Time Trial - (my total elapsed time of all my riding including the transitions between hills was much more longer than that).

In some ways I like this sequence better than some of the much longer climbs like I've done in the Alps in Europe: more variety of climbing, steeper challenge, quicker changes of scenery. Right now I'm feeling like I would ride it again sometime -- but I wouldn't predict how soon until my muscle stiffness fades.

Ken

P.S. Now I'm wondering if it's possible to find within 250 miles of New York City another loop of 10000 vertical feet of climbing in only 62 miles on paved roads (without repeating any of the climbs).
 

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Thanks for all your work on this (and on your web site)

I can only think that one of two things are true:

1) You are the most anal person I've ever encountered (and I'm married to an accountant)

AND/OR

2) You have WAY too much time on your hands.

Thanks though. I'll use the information and your routes.
 

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The hill guru of NJ

There's your new title.

I like Fiddlers (haven't made it up peddling), Ironbridge (relatively, a piece of cake) and Tunnel Rd as well as all the others.

Everybody should try Warrenville Rd. (which is in Warren off Rt. 22 nine miles from my house) for a tough half mile 11.8% workout or Johnston Drive (in Watchung) for something more scenic...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thegock said:
Everybody should try Warrenville Rd. (which is in Warren off Rt. 22 nine miles from my house) for a tough half mile 11.8% workout or Johnston Drive (in Watchung) for something more scenic...
Warrenville Rd is my most frequent training hill to prepare for things like "Hillier Than Hillier". I never knew about it until like six months ago somebody mentioned it on a forum. I often ride Johnston once while I'm warming up for Warrenville, but my main "merely steep" hill is Valley Drive (which connects Johnston with Valley Road). Not quite as long as Johnston but feels like less traffic, and somehow interesting, and to me seems like a more fun downhill than Johnston.
I wouldn't say "everyone" should try climbing Warrenville Rd -- given the traffic volume and speed, you want to be sure you're under control there -- no room for tacking or weaving if it starts to feel too hard.​
Thanks for the idea of the title -- but really I just put some slope calculations up on the web that lots of people have been doing for their own purposes -- and adding new hills that people suggest to me. Sometimes I can't resist actually riding some of the hills I've done calculations for.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Dumbod said:
Thanks for all your work on this (and on your web site)
I can only think that one of two things are true:
1) You are the most anal person I've ever encountered . . .
I did do an awful lot of anal-yzing for some hills in west NJ. But it's turned out to be a helpful approach when I ride in foreign countries. Like in a couple of weeks a friend from Manhattan and I will be riding some of the great mountain roads of the Dolomites in northeast Italy - [ like these photos ]. We'll have a lot invested in limited vacation time and airfare, so we don't want to choose too big a route for a day (or we'll end up stranded in the dark someplace trying to pretend we can talk Italian) or too small a route (or we'll have missed out on some great riding). So it pays to do some advance anal-ysis of hill sequences in the Dolomites, like this.
Calculating steepness of slopes is a life-and-death issue for backcountry skiing in the high mountains of western USA + Europe, because steepness is a major determinant of whether a slope is likely to avalanche, or whether it's skiable in certain snow conditions -- so that's the context where I first got in the habit of calculating steepness from topo maps. Like last winter some Utah friends and I decided to ski a notorious Wasatch backcountry route because I calculated the slope and found out that the local guidebook had got it wrong.​
Then I also wanted to do some good training for the big trip, and I thought that should include not just some intense steep single climbs (like Fiddlers or Warrenville) but also some endurance -- lots of climbing in a day. So I was happy to find out that New Jersey offered a way to get lots of vertical in one day without the boredom of repeating the same climbs. Using the results of the anal-ysis, I was able to climb 4000 meters in one day in New Jersey all on different climbs -- more than on some great routes in the Dolomites.

And the climbing in southern Warren / northern Hunterdon counties around the Musconetcong and Pohatcong rivers has its own special character very different from the Alps -- maybe more interesting. Also that section of western NJ has several hills steeper than most paved roads in Europe - (after riding "Hillier Than Hillier", climbing to l'Alpe d'Huez is a Sunday afternoon walk).

Ken
 

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guru

my compliments on a fantastic anal-isys on western jersey climbs. i live abit north of princeton and frequently go up rt 18 from canal rd to rt27 towards the end of my rides. i'd like to know how it stacks up to what you have tagged.
i've been in downtown chicago for about 8-9 years, with limited ride time, so anything over a speed bumb is a climb for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
NJ-XC-Justin said:
I'm in Bergen County . . . we must have something given I saw 500 roadies out today along 9W and 304.
Yes something -- a nice ride that can be reached from Manhattan without putting your bike on a train or car. And some other pleasant riding for those who take the time to look for it. A big drawback of "Hillier Than Hillier" and "Hillier Than Thou" is that it's not straightforward to reach either by train, especially on weekends.

What the scene on 9W north from the GWB proves is that lots of athletic riders have little or no interest in the steep hills -- since they could be riding parallel to 9W on a prettier road with bigger hills -- on the "river road" in the Palisades park.

There are some longer hills among the lakes along the NJ / NY border, including Passaic as well as Bergen county. I think most of the climbs are less steep than "Hillier Than Hillier". But I know one exception across the border in New York:

Kain Rd in Rockland county NY, parallel to rt 17A between Warwick and Greenwood Lake, includes like 440 vertical feet at around 15% grade.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
merckxman said:
Wow, that's great to have spent so much time bicycling in Italy -- and in Veneto the region with lots of the best bicycling. Tony and I will be in Veneto in a couple of weeks, but up north in the higher mountains. Maybe I can persuade him to go down south for a day, maybe we could try that Peri-Fosse climb you mention on your blog.

One of the great things about living in the metro NYC area is that there's lots of bright people from other countries. Someone who lives in our building is from Como, so in September, Sharon and I are hoping to do the Ghisallo climb (with all your blog photos) along with visiting her family and another friend nearby there who worked in Manhattan for a few months.

another place on your blog . . .
Verona bicycling

not the Verona in New Jersey, and not the way families ride in New Jersey. I was there skating one afternoon, not bicycling [ more photos ]. The closest I got to Verona bicycling was the Berici hills to the east. Sharon and I tried those because my anal-ysis suggested they might be easier for us together on our tandem than the better-known Euganei hills near Padova). Here's some more photos of riders in some other Italian towns.

Hope you find good riding now that you're back here.

Ken
 

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Better way down from Valley climb

Ken,

Rather than going back down Valley (never liked that semi blind right curve) go instead left (east) on Jonhston and take the next left. That is Hill Hollow and is a faster descent because of larger radius turns and more width. Then go left on Valley (Rd.?) and left on Valley (Dr.?) again to start the second triangle.

I did this for some of my repeats before HTH last year but favor Summit Rd repeats from the Rt 22 side because they are more time efficient.

I wouldn't go down Warrenville Rd. 12% is a bit steep with a sharp left curve that dumps into Rt. 22 at the bottom. Ascending it is not that dangerous. It is wide with good macadam and so steep that cars go slow.

Ride Hillier. Post a time. I hear it is easier this year...:cryin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thegock said:
Rather than going back down Valley Drive (never liked that semi blind right curve) instead ... Hill Hollow and is a faster descent because of larger radius turns and more width.
Funny how everybody has different tastes. I prefer Valley Dr descent over Hill Hollow because it requires more judgment and control about speed on the curves. But those who don't share my tastes could use your suggestion to repeatedly do Valley Drive as an uphill without needing to take it as a downhill. (Though some riders might find any of Valley Dr or Hill Hollow or Johnston Dr too dangerous or scary to try going down.)
thegock said:
I wouldn't go down Warrenville Rd. 12% is a bit steep with a sharp left curve that dumps into Rt. 22 at the bottom.
I love going down Warrenville Rd.
But I can understand why other riders would not like it, and I can understand why it would be too dangerous for lots more people.

Ken
 

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Foto from bridge

We lived about 50 feet from the Ponte Nuovo, which is where you took that photo of the Adige.

A nice ride would be to start out from Caprino, climb to Spiazzi, con't climbing to Novezza, etc, until you descent to Avio. Then turn south to Peri and then do Peri-Fosse. This is part of the Granfondo Avesani (medium distance...149K course), see:
http://www.lascaligera.it/GFAvesani/TabellaOraria.htm#verde

Ken Roberts said:
Wow, that's great to have spent so much time bicycling in Italy -- and in Veneto the region with lots of the best bicycling. Tony and I will be in Veneto in a couple of weeks, but up north in the higher mountains. Maybe I can persuade him to go down south for a day, maybe we could try that Peri-Fosse climb you mention on your blog.

One of the great things about living in the metro NYC area is that there's lots of bright people from other countries. Someone who lives in our building is from Como, so in September, Sharon and I are hoping to do the Ghisallo climb (with all your blog photos) along with visiting her family and another friend nearby there who worked in Manhattan for a few months.

another place on your blog . . .
Verona bicycling

not the Verona in New Jersey, and not the way families ride in New Jersey. I was there skating one afternoon, not bicycling [ more photos ]. The closest I got to Verona bicycling was the Berici hills to the east. Sharon and I tried those because my anal-ysis suggested they might be easier for us together on our tandem than the better-known Euganei hills near Padova). Here's some more photos of riders in some other Italian towns.

Hope you find good riding now that you're back here.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
merckxman said:
A nice ride would be to start out from Caprino, climb to Spiazzi, con't climbing to Novezza, etc, until you descent to Avio. Then turn south to Peri and then do Peri-Fosse. This is part of the Granfondo Avesani (medium distance...149K course), see http://www.lascaligera.it/GFAvesani/TabellaOraria.htm#verde
Thanks, I've been interested to get some ideas around Lago di Garda and Monte Lessini. Looks like that riding is pretty convenient to reach from the Verona - Bolzano autostrada.

Any thoughts on how it would be to combine the riding on the east side of Monte Baldo with riding along the east side of Lago di Garda between Torbole (in the north near Riva di Garda) and Garda? I like riding alongside water, but not if the traffic is bad. (? Traffic might be better maybe if I rode alongside the lake very early in the morning?)

Ken
 

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awesome data

on the hills. That is thesis level work man. Being from PA, I don't ride as much in NJ as I would like, but I've done some of those buggers including, I'm proud to say, the "Elbow". I think the only reason I was able to get up it was that I didn't have the data beforehand. I can't imagine doing more than a few in any one ride though especially since I have 40 miles before I get to them. I may have to drive over close and go from there. It certainly is beautiful terrain and I've heard it called the NJ Alps more than once. I hope to try some of the hills around round valley as I will be camping over there this weekend. Thanks for your efforts!
 

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east coast of Garda

The ride from Torbole to Garda (or con't to Bardolino and Lazise) is very, very nice. Right along the lake. The wind blows south in the a.m., and turns around in the afternoon (normally). So it's good to do as you describe, leaving Torbole in the early morning. We from Verona are doing it into the wind most of the time.

Malcesine is nice, and you can take a lift to the top for incredible views. Torre di Benaco is a lovely, small. Lazise is worht a visit.

Don't do this ride in AUGUST as all of Europe is on vacation and Lake Garda gets very crowded.




Ken Roberts said:
Thanks, I've been interested to get some ideas around Lago di Garda and Monte Lessini. Looks like that riding is pretty convenient to reach from the Verona - Bolzano autostrada.

Any thoughts on how it would be to combine the riding on the east side of Monte Baldo with riding along the east side of Lago di Garda between Torbole (in the north near Riva di Garda) and Garda? I like riding alongside water, but not if the traffic is bad. (? Traffic might be better maybe if I rode alongside the lake very early in the morning?)

Ken
 

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Thanks for this info. I'd heard of Fiddler's Elbow but never climbed it before. You inspired me to make the 80+ mile round trip ride to give it a shot. This may be the first time in ~15 years of riding that I saw my mph speed register with a 4 handle at some points. Luckily it was upper 4's but still!

I came mostly on Rt 57 after climbing over Schooley's Mtn. (rt 24) in Long Valley and several other shorter climbs before Long Valley. I turned up Halfway House Rd as this was one of the climbs highlighted on your map and descended to 519 a little North of Ridge rd. Halfway was steep at points but not extreme.

I travelled South on 519 past Ridge and then made the turn up Roxiticus(?) hill Rd. This first 200 vertical feet were extremely steep. My altimeter was registering 32% at one point. The reading routinely jumps too high and too low so I'm not saying 32% is correct but you get the idea. The left turn onto Ridge gives an unfortunate flat break (if you're doing this climb you're doing it because you like pain - there are plenty of alternatives) before the right turn up Fiddler's. The scary part about Fiddler's is that there is a house right in the middle of the steep part. Someone actually has to drive up and down this thing every day?!? I calcuted another 500 feet of real climbing plus some extra rollers on the top.

I fully understand why some people walk this. It's not super long but the 39x25 was a true grind even standing.
 

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Kidz

During Hillier last year there was the homeowner of the house on the left working on his garden. This is the last house on the left at the beginning of the REALLY STEEP part of the climb. With him were two children playing in the driveway who might have been four or five years old. If they llive there, I hope mom and dad don't let them take their big wheels on the street.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
merckxman said:
A nice ride would be to start out from Caprino, climb to Spiazzi, con't climbing to Novezza, etc, until you descent to Avio. Then turn south to Peri and then do the Peri-Fosse climb.
Had a fun time with my friend Tony riding in Italy -- here's some
photos of climbs in northeast Italy
Unfortunately I didn't get to try the Peri-Fosse climb, because Tony wanted to stay further north.
Instead we climbed Stelvio -- the day after we got off the airplane and assembled our bikes - (I thought this showed a foolhardy lack of respect, but Tony thought the weather looked good so we should go for it).

Then the next day Pordoi, Falzarego+Valparola, Gardena, and Sella passes. Another day we rode a loop thru Cortina and over Passo Tre Croci - [ see Map ]
Finally I did the toughest Euro climb I've tried so far: the Grossglockner highway in Austria (north side up to the Edelweißspitze) -- harder than Stelvio or Tourmalet or Alpe d'Huez -- seems that practice on our New Jersey hills didn't hurt me for Europe.

The view from Stelvio pass in June was different from New Jersey:


me climbing to the last hairpin turn:


Two other days were spent on a kind of rock-climbing Tony wanted to try that's special in Italy called "via ferrata" (doesn't use a bicycle). We had ridden our bikes around the Sella mountain group (road was crowded with bicycles already in June) -- and then the next day we climbed to the highest peak in the Gruppo di Sella, called the Piz Boe.

So there weren't any days left to ride near Verona or the Lago di Garda -- but next time I hope I'll get my chance.

Ken
 
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