Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hardest Climbs on the Avalon

Climbs of the Avalon
Avalon Climbs Ranked by Category and Length
During a recent club outing a couple of the younger lads were discussing a ride they`d just completed on the southwest Avalon. They started at Colinet, went down the North Harbour road, up the Cape Shore to Placentia, then across the dirt section through The Cataracts to Colinet. Now, Saint Bride`s - Placentia is only 30 kilometers but nortoriously hilly, with perhaps the steepest pitches anywhere on the Avalon. I took three hours to do it north to south one afternoon, on a hybrid with 26 inch wheels and two full rear panniers. It's incredibly beautiful down there when you can see through the fog (doesn`t Rex Murphy write somewhere that Gooseberry Cove is the closest thing to heaven he's ever seen?).

The boys were getting gradients of 14% from their onboard GPS units, and their discussion got me wondering about what might be the most difficult climb on the Avalon. I started plotting all the long hills I could think of using the Map My Ride interface. The data are tabulated above. Categories were assigned by the MMR software itself. My criteria were not rigourous; I simply eyeballed the longest possible section with the highest average gradient for each climb; I did ignore anything less than a kilometer however, because finding the steepest pitch shorter than that would be too exhausting to do by hand.

Is there any application where the raw numbers are quite as misleading as they are for bicycle climbs? From South Side Road up Shea Heights is a lot of work, but I've never found it as hard as coming up the other side from Maddox Cove, though the latter ascent is given the easier Cat 4 rating here. Despite these shortcomings, I believe the table does give a good overview of climbing on the Avalon.

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