hill questions

4 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I have two questions about local hills.

Are any of them big enough to be categorized by the
system used for European bike racing? What category
would Perkins be, for example?

Are there any hills within fifty miles of Central Park
bigger than Perkins?


Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

"Perkins alone would be a Cat 4 climb; however, Bear Mountain coming up Seven Lakes from 9W would be a Cat 3 climb. While many seem to dismiss ""Perkins,"" Bear Mountain is a great place for training. I like to use a big gear coming up Seven Lakes, then switch to a small gear so I can maintain a comfortable cadence on Perkins. Multiple repeats will improve your climbing.

All of the big climbs in the area (Mohonk, Peekamoose, Minnewska, South Gully Road, Glade Hill Road) are Cat 3 climbs. The climb from Ellenville to Sam's Point, which includes South Gull Road, would be considered a Cat 2 climb, making it the hardest local climb.

Further afield, Mount Greylock in Massachusetts is a Cat 1 climb, and Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY is a true Hors Catagorie climb. We have our annual race up it on June 22. Then there is Mount Washington in New Hampshire, one of the most difficult climbs in the world. Unfortunately, Mount Washington is only open to cyclists twice a year, although I know several people who have done moonlight rides up it. All the others are open to cyclists, but Whiteface you must climb in the evening hours after the toll road closes.

The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains have many fine climbs, Wintergreen, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell are among them. The first two are Cat 2. Mount Mitchell is a Cat 1 and a Cat 2 climb separated by 15 miles or so of rollers. Too bad, it would be a fierce climb if you could access the summit directly."

Anonymous's picture
Art (not verified)
Categories Explained

Here's a link that describes the criteria used for rating climbs in the Tour de France:



Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Hill climbs

"The ranking of climbs in the Tour de France is not intended to give an objective measure of their difficulty. Its purpose is rather to assign points in the KOM competition. Therefore the system is somewhat arbitrary. A climb at the end of a difficult mountainous stage might be given a higher ranking (i.e., lower number) than the same climb if it were placed at the beginning of the stage, as the FAQ page explains. A small climb on one of the earlier flat stages might be assigned points for the purpose of KOM, (because there must be a KOM jersey even before the mountainous stages), whereas if the same climb were on a mountainous stage, it might not be assigned any category, but would be considered a mere bump. So ranking of climbs isn't very meaningful when taken out of the context of Tour de France stage racing. And it's one thing to ride up a mountain, quite another to race up the mountain, especially after racing for 130 miles.


Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Not Quite True

"While a climb's location does in fact affect its rating, its never more than up or down one catagorie. A Hors Catagorie climb at the end of one stage might be a Cat 1 at the beginning; it won't be less. Tourmalet will be Hors Catagorie no matter where it might be. Given this understanding, the ranking system is a pretty good relative indicator of a climb's difficulty, without having to resort to profiles or topgraphic maps.

As for riding vs. racing up a mountain, any rider or racer can only go at their critical power for that climb. If, in a non-race context, you push your self to that level, its a similar experience. As Benard Hinault once said, ""... we all suffer on the climbs; some just get to the top faster than others."" Obviously, a tourist riding up a mountain does have the option of backing off a bit... Can't wait for South Gully Road tomorrow. Too bad Whiteface Mountain is so far away."

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