Hillier Than Thou

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Anonymous's picture

Congrats to the NYCCrs who braved the Hillier Than Thou this year. Some of those climbs are part of the NJ 200K and our Frenchtown Populaire (Oct 4th - www.njrandonneurs.com) - included is Fiddler's Elbow.

Check this link out for the 2001 Hillier Than Thou winner (http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/freund/HillierThanThouEventReport9-23-2001.html) - Sandiway Fong won that year and came in second in 2002 (due to lack of training - illness). For those who don't know who he is .... he was the main advisor of routes for the NJ Brevets.

You MUST ride this area sometime and see for yourself how beautiful and challenging the terrain of Hunterdon County is.


Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

"and if you MUST ride this area sometime, please check out this opportunity, The Hills Of Hunterdon County -PO'R"

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

That is one tough ride - congrats to those who did it (not me - next year maybe).

Were those two dirty words in the ride - Ademic and Bellis???

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
word play

"I'm not sure about 'Ademic and Bellis', but we did pass through one road named 'SHADES of DEATH'."

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
The Recap

Western New Jersey is a nice very nice area, although honestly the climbs are not really what I like. I prefer much longer and somewhat less steep climbs. Short and steep really isn’t my favorite kind of climb, I just suffer with them.

The four of us did not get off to the best start. One of us had forgotten water bottles, so we opted for going back for the water bottles over staying with the lead group. We also made an early wrong turn, effectively putting us 30 minutes behind from the start.

At about 25 miles, we had an average speed of just under 19 mph, about 1 mph less than the lead group, but they had over twenty racers vs. four. While this is a very, very hilly course, there are significant flat-to-rolling sections where high speeds are possible. In fact, to put in a good time you really need to hammer in the flats and take risks on the descents, not kill yourself in the climbs. I have a power meter and we used it to measure our efforts such that the last climb would be climbed at the same power as the first. In essence, hi-tech Audax! For the most part, we were successful at this, but we did run into some problems.

At 50 miles, our average speed was about 18.5 mph, still about 1 mph off the lead pack, but not bad for 4 racers given the course. Fiddler’s Elbow hits you around mile 65 or so. The lower part is not so bad – about 12 –13 %; this section can be managed in the saddle with a 39X27. The last quarter mile is brutal. Very brutal. Well over 20% average grade. Trust me; I don’t exaggerate. I suffered every inch of it. Many walk this section. One of us unclipped and had to go back to the bottom, forcing us to stop and regroup at the top. I somehow damaged my cleat pulling up on the steep section and could not clip back in. These problems cost us another 15 minutes, so that while we still had a high average speed at mile 80 (over 18 mph), we were now well off the main pack’s time. Then it rained a bit. Not enough to cause real problems, but enough to cause serious concern with the area’s tricky descents, especially given we were now an hour behind the main pack and not in contention. The rain also caused us to lose a bit of focus as well, as we were less effectively working as a group.

I had some concerns about my form, but felt very strong all day. By mile 90, it was apparent our cohesion was gone, and I decided to hammer the last 10 miles, keeping to my plan of finishing as strongly as I started. This of course means the inevitable wrong turn, somewhere around mile 93. My wrong turn lead Peter and another racer astray; during our backtracking we met up with Greg, who had also taken the wrong turn. Only Timothy made the correct turn. With bad weather looming and know idea where I was, I called for a sag. Peter decided to ride on, feeling he knew how to get to the finish. Peter finished, but got soaked. For Greg and I, officially a DNF. I am already planning on next year.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

...ANIMALS. DNF or not, you guys are ANIMALS - the ultimate compliment to someone, especially from those either not riding or off the back.

Anonymous's picture
Timothy McCarthy (not verified)
What a challenge

Hillier Than Thou proved one of the hardest one-day events I've ever taken on. I approached it far too cavalierly. John does not exaggerate about Fiddler’s Elbow. That climb was followed very closely by Iron Bridge Road, a hill which also had many riders walking their bicycles. Those two climbs really knock the stuffing out of one’s legs. John didn’t mention the long stretches of gravel road. There were also a lot of turns. All together this was a treacherous, tough event. Not to be taken lightly.

There were approximately 50 participants. Not all did the century--there was a metric century. Hats off to the organizers who with very few volunteers provided excellent support and ensured a memorable experience for everyone. What generosity of spirit!

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