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The climbs of Europe are magnificent indeed, and the famed roads are challenging, but California has plenty of capable challengers, many of which are not often talked about."
Can't see myself getting across to the US in the short term, but looking at the photos posted in the above topic and watching the Tour of California does get the juices flowing for some challenging climbs in the sun...
So some logistical questions for California would be great. Where and when to go, stay, lists of climbs etc!
I've also heard of climbs such as Mt Lemmon in AZ and Independence Pass CO, so details for other worthy areas across the country would be appreciated.
Look at the Death Ride map for more epic rides.....Monitor pass is hard, but the pavement and views are unbelievable.
Also look at the Everest Challenge route for more Eastern Sierra routes. Bishop hosts some of the best winter riding in the world. The rock climbing crowd have this place completely dialed in the winter....I'm trying to figure out why the pro teams haven't figured it out yet. It's no problem to start at 4500 feet and climb to 8000 under bluebird skies and 60F temps.
There are countless other rides like this right out my back door. If any of you are in the area and would like a grand tour, just shoot me a PM.
http://sonofdeathride.com/36601.html (Ridgecrest, CA)
Not very far from Ridgecrest is Kernville, and there is plenty of good mountain biking to be had there.
If you find yourself in Palm Springs, try this climb out: Palm Springs Tramway Road: http://www.toughascent.com/blog/?p=193
I did it last year in 100+ weather and it was a bit rough
Cielo by Chris King Cross Racer
Dalai, the ToC doesn't do the really spectacular alpine climbs. It's too early for most of them as the snow is usually not cleared by May.
The Everest Challenge route is incredible. (www.everestchallenge.com). Multiple 6000' climbs to 10,000'. Each one starts in the high desert and climbs to the high mountains.
There is also the Death Valley Road and Mt Whitney Stage races (same organizer as EC) which does similar on some other big climbs in the eastern Sierra. The DVRSR's second stage is only 12.5 miles... and 5200' of climbing. Unfortunately Son Of Death Ride is not happening this year, I would like to do that one too.
For non racing there's a bunch of stuff (and the EC has a tourist category). There is a series of three timed centuries with lots of climbing in Southern California in the spring (http://planetultra.com/KOM/) which goes over some of the nicer climbs down there. There are many other mountainous century rides like the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge and the Shasta Century (Mt Shasta is a somewhat Mt Ventoux like volcano, only higher).
There are cyclo-tourist outfits that specialize in California riding. Undiscovered Country tours is one (http://www.udctours.com/). Most do relatively easy routes but UDC does offer some more challenging stuff including the climbs from the Death Ride.
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For example, this route was done by a small group of us to test out an idea (5 total) last Fall: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/726236
It starts off on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range (most of which is taller than the Alps), crosses over to the Western side through a National Park - and then back. If you can arrange to have your things waiting for you in Yosemite National Park (at a campsite or the Wawona Hotel), it won't be nearly as difficult. But the climb from Hwy395 just to the gate of Yosemite is called Tioga Pass. The road through Yosemite will take you just short of 10,000ft
Sherman Pass is a little bit further South of that.
California as a whole:
Countless roads with "major rolling climbs" and heavily shaded, deep forest, you're-the-only-ones-around"
Mt. Shasta area and anything west to the Coast.
Sierras North of Lake Tahoe are great
Tahoe Lake & vicinity is great for both road and mountain.
The area just south of Tahoe, around Markleeville, is home to many of the mountain passes used for Death Ride (difficult) and the Alta Alpina Challenge (very difficult)
Terrible Two is an event which covers an area just north of the Bay Area (San Francisco) - look up their route as they cover a number of great climbs on very single-lane-European style roads
Riding in Marin County is just plain amazing and gorgeous. There's a reason so many of famous frame designers and founders of the sport come from there.
Mt. Diablo is just a skip from Oakland, magnificent climb.
Santa Cruz Mountain range is to the South, a veritable playground (and testing ground for Specialized, Bell, Giro and Easton)
Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) mostly follows the coast and features steep rollers and dramatic changes in flora.
Santa Ynez Valley is most often the place where both pro and amateur teams hold training camps. Plenty of roads & climbing, sometimes no traffic, and lots of wine.
Santa Barbara is a great little town featuring the famous Gibraltar Climb, called the "Alp d'Huez of North America" by some. US Postal used to do training loops of Gibraltar/Painted Cave/San Marcos Rd twice, which comes out to ~7,000ft in 100mi, most of which is steep.
Hwy 33 out of Ojai. Go mid-week (Tuesday is best) and you won't see a vehicle for hours - and it's all uphill. It won't ever be ToC featured because it has to be done as a loop in order to get back to civilization, which won't make for a dramatic finish on television.
Santa Monica Mountains have too many climbs to count, most of which are Cat 2.
Angeles National Forest features many Cat 1 climbs, a few HC. Some have been in the Tour of California
San Bernandino Mountains have great climbs - Mt. Baldy for example
Palomar Mountain - HC with Chris Horner as your current leader.
a little east of San Diego, the Cleveland National Forest has plenty of climbs to challenge you, most Cat 2 and of course gorgeous. Go in the early Spring.
Riding Death Valley (it's a National Park) is simply monumental and deceptively difficult. Outstanding landscape. Most climbs are Cat 1 and HC. They would most likely never feature in the Tour of California though because it is a National Park, very remote for the general public, and weather-timing is difficult. Go in the Winter or very early Spring. Cross your fingers because some days may find 25mph+ headwinds no matter which direction you go.
...basically any road heading into the Sierras west of Hwy 395 will be Cat 1 or HC. There are too many to count. Late Spring or late Fall is your best bet to avoid heat, but you may find the top cut short with snow. If you climb in the Summer, your starting temp at Hwy 395 may be 90F with snow or hail at the top of the climb.
Mammoth Lakes, CA is a great resort town. During the Summer it is a cycling haven - open roads, plenty of climbing with a base elevation of 6,500ft, and the entire mountain ski area is open for mountain riding. It is possible to do 100mi, 9,000ft of climbing and only encounter 3 stop signs for the entire ride. Loop over to June Lake for views so scenic you may consider just stopping for a few hours by a lake.
Sequoia National Park
King's Canyon National Park
Yosemite National Park
... and more in the area.
Use Strava's Segment explorer to see various climbs (it will only show the more popular ones however, there are more out there). For example start off with "Mammoth Lakes, CA" and then just move the map around.
Frankie13 wrote:I want to point out Six Gap in Dahlonega North.GA. Great challenging climbs ridden by the pros during the tour of Georgia. I'm holding fully supported cycle camps here and everybody loves the climbs and routes.
I've ridden out there quite a bit incl Brasstown when I lived on the east coast. Nice riding but can't compete with CA for sustained efforts imo...definitely worth it if someone is in the area and looking to ride though.
Seems like if you lived in Boulder or Denver Colorado it would be ideal.
You do not to have to drive out to these place with the bike.
The ideal would be to live no more than 10 miles away.
Coming from the Southern hemisphere, I personally look to travel anywhere between July - October to escape north for some sun. Would look at spending at least a month on the road.
I know some of these areas you mention, as I have spent ~8 months over 2 trips in the States in a previous life rock climbing (over 15 years ago so feels like it). Mostly based in San Fran... So know exactly what bikeman71 means about Bishop, Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes. How good are those hot springs!
We have friends in Colorado Springs, so would enjoy heading out to Colorado again too!
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