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Vuelta stage 17: "Climbing the Cliff" *spoiler*

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  • TheBigBean wrote:

    Swains Lane up to Highgate in London is 18% for a bit (50m perhaps). It's relatively easy even for a non goat like me with a 39x25. It's not 25%, but if you live in London it can be fun

    18% is easy... the tipping point is over 20%, I'd say around 25%, when the bicycle becomes an unsuitable vehicle to go up a hill... on cobbles even 20% is very hard.

    MTBikes are a bit better designed for some reason, I did a 32% road in San Francisco on a MTBike years ago
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,664
    I have nailed the technique to go up a 25%.... sit down, grind a small gear, sit on the tip of the saddle, elbows as low as possible, hands on the hoods. 30% is more of the same but even more technical, as the front wheel keeps bouncing, so you need to push it down at every pedal stroke. I don't think I could do 35% without a significant change in riding position... basically a different type of bicycle... probably small front wheel

    I have to ask where you practice that? Toy hill is steepest I've tried near London and that is only 12% I think, jumped off halfway up

    Chalkpit Lane - https://www.strava.com/segments/645908

    Downe Road - https://www.strava.com/segments/646102

    Both have sections of 20%, maybe slightly steeper.
  • andcpandcp Posts: 644
    NorvernRob wrote:
    I have nailed the technique to go up a 25%.... sit down, grind a small gear, sit on the tip of the saddle, elbows as low as possible, hands on the hoods. 30% is more of the same but even more technical, as the front wheel keeps bouncing, so you need to push it down at every pedal stroke. I don't think I could do 35% without a significant change in riding position... basically a different type of bicycle... probably small front wheel

    Parts of Riber Road in Matlock are 25-30%, possibly slightly more for very short distances on the hairpins. I use pretty much the same technique, sat on the saddle so the back wheel doesn't slip, but weight forward so the front doesn't lift! It's worse in Autumn/winter as a lot of leaves collect on the road too.

    The top part (funnily enough it's called Riber Road Zig Zags on Strava) is the only piece of road I've ever had to actually zig zag on.

    Is it the one used in the National Hill climb next month?

    No, we're up Bank Road again, same course as last time Matlock CC organised the Nationals: http://www.matlockcyclingclub.org.uk/#! ... 2016/u3nzd
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxijn4sKczw
    The week before Matlock run a 'double header' - Riber HC in the Morning and Bank Road in the afternoon. A grand day out.
    "It must be true, it's on the internet" - Winston Churchill
  • salsiccia1salsiccia1 Posts: 3,694
    hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    Agree entirely.
    It's only a bit of sport, Mun. Relax and enjoy the racing.
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,431
    NorvernRob wrote:
    I have nailed the technique to go up a 25%.... sit down, grind a small gear, sit on the tip of the saddle, elbows as low as possible, hands on the hoods. 30% is more of the same but even more technical, as the front wheel keeps bouncing, so you need to push it down at every pedal stroke. I don't think I could do 35% without a significant change in riding position... basically a different type of bicycle... probably small front wheel

    Parts of Riber Road in Matlock are 25-30%, possibly slightly more for very short distances on the hairpins. I use pretty much the same technique, sat on the saddle so the back wheel doesn't slip, but weight forward so the front doesn't lift! It's worse in Autumn/winter as a lot of leaves collect on the road too.

    The top part (funnily enough it's called Riber Road Zig Zags on Strava) is the only piece of road I've ever had to actually zig zag on.

    Is it the one used in the National Hill climb next month?

    Just seen it was answered above, well worth doing both climbs if you're in the area though!
  • I've been taking our winter trip to Spain up this for the past few years: https://www.strava.com/segments/3524173

    The entry on climbbybike is under "La Mezquita" http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?Co ... inID=14440

    The last km is crazy steep (signs say 30%) and there are 7.5 tough kilometres before that... all on a very narrow twisty road. Alas, as a dead end, coming back down is a tiny bit terrifying!
  • Salsiccia1 wrote:
    hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    Agree entirely.


    The Vuelta with these types of climbs is like being force feed sickly cakes. Great to watch at first, but after a while you need a rest. Finesse is not the key word here
  • I think a contest of power-to-weight ratios is as interesting and valid as a power-to-drag test, and the latter has long been accepted in grand tours.
  • Salsiccia1 wrote:
    hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    Agree entirely.

    Yes likewise.
  • hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    You don't think there's been any kind of racing up those climbs this year?
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    I think a contest of power-to-weight ratios is as interesting and valid as a power-to-drag test, and the latter has long been accepted in grand tours.

    Yeah but imagine the howls of protest if there were three or four time trials in a GT.

    I think the winner of a Grand Tour should be the best all-round rider. Not the lightest or the best time trialer so the whole course should be a balance to give everyone a fair shot not biased one way or the other.

    The Vuelta always seemes to carry almost too many mountain stages with generally only one ITT which sometimes is even up mountains as well. I think 2012 was like that when Froome got mugged by the Three Amigos.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    You don't think there's been any kind of racing up those climbs this year?

    Not of any quality no. The riders are so apprehensive of the final few kilometres of 20% that basically the whole stage is one long snooze-fest with a little bit of crazy action at the end. Contrast that sort of stage with the drama and action on stages 14 & 15 at the weekend.

    By all means have one or two crazy MTFs but today's stage will make four in this Vuelta which is mental and just too loaded in favour of the featherweight climbers.
  • hypster wrote:
    hypster wrote:
    I don't see the point of climbs like this in a GT, at least not to the extent that the Vuelta seems obsessed with them. Maybe it's just to mark themselves out as different to the TdF. One maybe but 3+ in one Tour is just madness. It stiffles any kind of racing and it just turns into a slow-motion slogfest without adding any real attraction to the GC race other than the schadenfreude of fans watching the pros struggle.

    You don't think there's been any kind of racing up those climbs this year?

    Not of any quality no. The riders are so apprehensive of the final few kilometres of 20% that basically the whole stage is one long snooze-fest with a little bit of crazy action at the end. Contrast that sort of stage with the drama and action on stages 14 & 15 at the weekend.

    By all means have one or two crazy MTFs but today's stage will make four in this Vuelta which is mental and just too loaded in favour of the featherweight climbers.

    It's like a sprint stage, but for light riders then? I can't see the issue. There's a decent length TT to allow higher weight/higher power riders to make time back, and plenty of full on climbing stages.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    It's like a sprint stage, but for light riders then? I can't see the issue. There's a decent length TT to allow higher weight/higher power riders to make time back, and plenty of full on climbing stages.

    Yeah whatever. Just another reason why the TdF is the premier Grand Tour and the Vuelta is it's poor cousin. No doubt many will opine that the TdF is so boring but I would argue the Vuelta is just too much of a lottery stacked in favour of diminutive Hispanic climbers. Probably why the likes of Miguel Indurain gave it a wide berth despite being a national hero.
  • hypster wrote:
    No doubt many will opine that the TdF is so boring but I would argue the Vuelta is just too much of a lottery stacked in favour of diminutive Hispanic climbers.

    Well, even if that was the case, what's the problem with it? It's not that the calendar is full of opportunities to shine for such riders... the so called Ardennes spring classics are hardly won by pure climbers these days
  • All Grand Tours are basically for climbers, more so these days as the number of days in the high mountains has increased and mountain top finishes have become common. Yes being a decent time triallist is a big advantage and it helps if you can ride well in a bunch, descend like a demon, occasionally handle cobbles etc but these are things which might make a difference between climbers. For that reason I don't have a real problem with these super steep climbs, yes they do reduce it to a battle of power to weight but grand tours are largely that anyway.

    On a tangent I was talking with someone yesterday about how the Vuelta could become a moveable grand tour so you might have 3 weeks in the UK one year, 3 weeks in the low countries another etc. At the moment all 3 grand tours are very samey and suit very similar riders. 3 weeks on Tour of Britain type roads would be interesting - probably have to be smaller peloton. It'd give the USA, China etc a chance to have a proper big race too if they wanted. Spanish pride might not like it of course.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Something tells me hypster is fat.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,380
    Doesn't each tour have to be distinctive in some way? Like tennis - Wimbledon is special on the grass, France on clay etc etc. Vuelta is special because of nutty climbs.
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  • When Desgrange decided to include the mountains in the Tour de France, at the time they were seen as challenging, when not inpassable...
    Fast forward 100 years and they are still using the same mountains, now with manicured roads and 22 gears drivetrains... they are no longer a challenge, if any decent domestique can go up and occasionally outsprint a climbing star...
    Some steep climbs are still seen as a challenge... bless them, I say!
  • OCDuPalais wrote:
    For me I've finally figured out that I need to go slower. I always made the mistake of trying to power through it and then blowing up terribly. So now I go slower than feels normal. Really slow it down and almost pause between pedal strokes. It works for me, but different strokes for different folks and I obviously don't have the same muscle mass or general physiology of a man even if I am lighter than most.

    I've got it! You're Alberto Contador!
    Going slower than feels normal on the steep bits... going real slow and almost pausing between pedal strokes... not having physiology or muscle mass of a man... initials "AC"... beef/cow reference...

    I've borrowed a leg from Tony Stark.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    I'm not saying there shouldn't be any steep climbs, it's just that the Vuelta seems to overload on them to its detrement at times.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    Something tells me hypster is fat.

    By contrast you're obviously not an intellectual heavyweight.
  • Something tells me hypster is fat.

    I'm the same size as Emma Pooley and I think hypster has a point. Once or twice is fun, after that it just becomes boring like a one trick pony. And I don't think it is the same as a sprint stage because in a sprint stage you can still get drama because people aren't just pootling along trying to conserve their energy for the wall at the end. It's what these walls do to the rest of the stage which makes them farcical.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,122
    hypster wrote:
    It's like a sprint stage, but for light riders then? I can't see the issue. There's a decent length TT to allow higher weight/higher power riders to make time back, and plenty of full on climbing stages.

    Yeah whatever. Just another reason why the TdF is the premier Grand Tour and the Vuelta is it's poor cousin. No doubt many will opine that the TdF is so boring but I would argue the Vuelta is just too much of a lottery stacked in favour of diminutive Hispanic climbers. Probably why the likes of Miguel Indurain gave it a wide berth despite being a national hero.

    It hasn't always been a "climber's" tour. Kelly won it, as did Jalabert (OK, Jalabert was climbing well but never a full on climber). The main reason it has developed as it has is probably to give home riders the best chance of victory. If Spain suddenlty produced a glut of top testers, I suspect we might see a different parcours (or whatever the Spanish word is).
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,078
    I don't see a problem myself. It's just another facet of cycling ability being tested and I would suggest that there haven't been that many crazily steep climbs this year. It was worse two or three years ago where there was a whole load of stages with short, steep finish climbs but all we've had so far this year is steep sections on otherwise pretty standard climbs. If you look at the leading riders they cope with the gradient riding in a pretty standard climbing style. It may have been an issue 30 years ago where the lack of gear quantities meant riders would rarely have anything easier than 39 x 24 but now the riders can go for 36 or 34 x 30. Arguably the Ventoux in the 60s could have been a tougher test.
  • CrozzaCrozza Posts: 991
    To what extent do the organisers speak to the TV companies about the ratings impact of different stages?

    Just wondering whether the reason there are so many ultra-steep comedy climbs in the Vuelta is because (a) they are available, and (b) the TV wonks tell them they are good for ratings?

    might be rubbish, just an idea
  • Which stages are people thinking are the ridiculous ones? 3 and 8 were both very steep towards the end after not very much else in the day, are there any others?
  • dish_dashdish_dash Posts: 5,243
    ok ok... back to the race... Tejay has abandoned...
  • I saw that. Anyone know his reason? The fight seems to have gone out of him since he abandoned the Tour in a good position. He’s a bit of an enigma.
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