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

blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,215
edited September 2016 in Pro race
Ok, so it's come up in yesterday's stage chat. Thought we might as well start tomorrow's race thread now and see what folks can come up with on this latest comedy climb finish.

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Castellón - Llucena / Camins del Penyagolosa

Following a rest day, we have a 177.5-kilometre stage with another high-altitude finish in the unprecedented Mas de la Costa, in Llucena. It is a short mountain pass, just 4km long, with an average inclination of 13% but with peaks of up to 22% that may cause serious problems for more than one. It will be a great innovation for the 2016 Vuelta. The race, true to its style, discovers yet another mountain pass that will, undoubtedly, become a global reference after its inclusion in this year's edition of the Spanish tour. The battle among the top classified riders will commence from the beginning of the climb and could put an end to the hopes and dreams of some of the favourites.
"Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
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  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    Kittel FTW.
  • Nice climb, very similar if a bit harder than our Welsh Bwlch Y Groes (2.6 Km at 13%) which is notoriously a wall. Suits Quintana very well
  • Yes, this is a km and a bit longer at 3.8kms and a few tenths lighter at 12.6%.

    MasCosta.gif
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,614
    With the talk of it being the toughest ever Vuelta climb, is it really any worse that Bola del Mundo or the Angliru? Looks similar to the steepest parts of both of those but they have a few kilometres of climbing prior to the steep section to tire the legs.
  • So apart from being longer, how does it compare to Widecombe? That was one where I knew it was a mistake to see it on the way down first.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,614
    Top_Tor_Widecombe_in_the_Moor_profile.jpg
  • I have trouble going up anything over 10%, what is the limit for pro riders you reckon?
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,614
    I suspect the limit is in traction before their power. A long 25% after 160km would challenge even the best but 30% with the right gearing for a short stretch is possible for enthusiastic amateurs in the dry. Beyond that keeping the front wheel down and / or getting grip at the rear becomes a real challenge no matter how good a cyclist you are.
  • There's some short stretches of really steep in South Wales, and it is really difficult over 20% to keep the centre of gravity in the right place and steady to have downward pressure on the back wheel and not lift the front while also moving forward. Once the back wheel starts sliding, you are in trouble.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,127
    It becomes about technique as well as power to weight, keeping enough weight forward but also enough weight over the back wheel for different stages of the pedalling cycle. Di Luca was very good at this I seem to recall.
  • 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
  • Pross wrote:


    That looks good wonder what the catch is? I think my ideal job would be scouting routes for the grand tours, driving round Southern Europe reccying the nastiest little roads there are and saying send them up that.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Pross wrote:


    That looks good wonder what the catch is? I think my ideal job would be scouting routes for the grand tours, driving round Southern Europe reccying the nastiest little roads there are and saying send them up that.

    That's a job for two people... :wink:
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    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
    Since I put weight on, I've found it increasingly difficult to do anything over 20% for anything more than about 50 metres (somewhat unsurprisingly!)

    When I was a bit lighter, I found the best way to attack really steep climbs is to power up them if they're less than 100 metres, but anything more than that and that tactic becomes an awful, awful mistake as getting into the red whilst still looking to get up 20% gradients basically causes your legs to explode. That then makes the next 10 minutes extremely unpleasant - and I regularly misjudged climbs and spent the following 5km absolutely grovelling, even on the flat.

    I used to ride with a bloke who was much heavier than me but still managed to spin his way comfortably up 20%ers without any real problems. Everyone's physiology is different, and it took me yonks to figure out my 'best' way of getting up steep ramps.

    The worst thing for me is that as my power has increased, I've got much better at long, draggy climbs than I used to be, but I've moved to Lancashire, where all the hills have had that peculiar British approach to engineering applied to the roads over them: "Just go straight over it, all that hairpin shizzle wastes tarmac"
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • 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
  • 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

    You can try Barhatch lane, but it's not too difficult as 25% goes... Round here Bushcombe lane (Cleeve hill) is a killer at 25-30%... then of course half the climbs in the Fred Whitton: Honister is 25%, Newlands is 25%, Hardknott is 30%, Wrynose is 25%...
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    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.
  • 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

    https://www.strava.com/segments/4479066

    As hard as it looks because the surface is terrible and it's almost always wet.
  • I have trouble going up anything over 10%, what is the limit for pro riders you reckon?

    Yeah me too for anything more than a couple of hundred metres. Growing up in a place with short sharp ramps is one thing, a couple of kilometres of 10+% in the Alps is something else (I hate the bottom of Alp d'Huez for example with ramps of 11-12% in the first 2kms, the rest is fine). 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.
    Correlation is not causation.
  • 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.

    yet, they yield better racing than an hour of Tourmalet.

    At the Giro, the Zoncolan has always delivered
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,431
    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.
  • 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?
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 14,066
    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

    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
  • Personally don't think there is any place in bike racing for gradients over 20pc. It just makes it into something comical, a gimmick. A 15km ascent at 7-9 PC is tough in a way that requires guile, some thought, some skill as a climber. More than 20pc or even 15pc for any distance is just a silly freakshow, not really racing IMHO.
  • ocdupalaisocdupalais Posts: 3,947
    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...
  • More than 20pc or even 15pc for any distance is just a silly freakshow, not really racing IMHO.
    Disagree. If it’s a road, it’s fair game for a road race.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,220
    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

    https://www.strava.com/segments/4479066

    As hard as it looks because the surface is terrible and it's almost always wet.

    Just like the rest of Wales.
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    Personally don't think there is any place in bike racing for gradients over 20pc. It just makes it into something comical, a gimmick. A 15km ascent at 7-9 PC is tough in a way that requires guile, some thought, some skill as a climber. More than 20pc or even 15pc for any distance is just a silly freakshow, not really racing IMHO.

    Seeing Valverde come to a standstill is funny though.
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    So realistically if Froome wants to win this race he's going to have to gain 1'30 in 2 stages and hope that his ITT is huge. Sky to go full bore tomorrow FTW.

    Preview here. I have to say I'm really looking forward to the last few days of this race whatever the outcome.

    http://www.cyclingquotes.com/news/2016_ ... 7_preview/
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