I have written about Granite Peak Skiing a number of times here, but never about Granite Peak cycling. Well, that is because until yesterday I never had the chance to climb Granite Peak (aka Rib Mountain) on my bicycle and here is my story.
Granite Peak Cycling — The Climb
According to Strava (FWIW) the Granite Peak Climb is Category 3 climb. Given the fact I think a local Category 4 climb is hugely overrated I suspect the climb is overrated too, but it surely is the toughest climb I have attempted and yes, completed. Strava reports it as 2.3 miles (3.7 Km) long and 724′ (220 m) of climb. The average grade is 6% with a maximum grade of 10-16% (my track shows a spot at 16% but the segment details I link to shows a max grade of 10%).
Granite Peak is home to a ski resort during the winter and the runs still had remnants of snow on them.
Granite Peak Cycling — My Climb
Having never taken on a climb of such magnitude my goal was to accomplish it no matter how long it took. So as soon as I arrived and the road started to point upwards I shifted down to my small chainring and a moderate gear on my cassette and kept the cadence moderate but easy. Since the majority of the climb is well under a ten percent grade I was quite comfortable. The first half of the climb found my heart beating at a pretty steady 144-145 beats per minute and a small false flat at about half way up allowed my heart to relax at 141 bpm, but as soon as the climb began again earnest my heartbeat steadily climbed to its maximum value of 158 beats per minute. I did stop at the park entrance to figure out if I had to pay a fee, but nothing was obvious and I never pay a fee for cycling through High Cliff State Park, that stop probably cost me 20-30 seconds on my total time.
The total time was 18 minutes and 26 seconds and my overall speed was 7.6 mph. Now that I have at least some experience with the segment I can probably up my speed and cycle up it smarter.
One problem I did have was the low speed and hardwork gave rise to beads of sweat on my forehead, beads of sweat that were not evaporating. Those beads of sweat found their way into my eyes and caused problems with my vision. Not a big deal on the way up but on the start of the descent it was a problem. On the way down I pulled off in a vista parking area and a fellow cyclist was there taking a break from his exertions. We chatted it up a bit I took some photos, and wiped the sweat from my brow. I then commenced with the descent.
The descent was magnificent! The speeds I was carrying and sustaining were exhilarating! Curves that at normal speeds would be boring were actually fun, I was able to trace an arc instead of a series of slow segments. I did some braking to scrub speed as the road and the paths were heavily populated with other cyclists, walkers, and joggers. Very quickly I hit the stop sign and returned to level ground and the city ride back to my lodging began.
Granite Peak Cycling — Next Time and Thoughts
Next time I attempt this segment, I will make it in less than 18 minutes and I will execute a faster descent. I will also find another route to and from the climb and my usual lodging.
I did not know what to think about this trial prior to starting it. I figured I could do it but I did not know how it would be different from my usual shorter climbs. I found it to be easier than the worst case I imagined and right in line with my expectations. Next time I will bring a bandana to soak up the sweat before it gets into my eyes. There are other Strava Cat 3s in the state and I will have to try them, perhaps looking for one more sharply inclined and see how it works out for me. I don’t know if Wisconsin has a Cat 2 climb or not but I suppose I should look to take it on, this is a goal for my trip to the Philippines next January to conquer a category 2 climb.
Granite Peak Cycling — Your Thoughts?
Have you taken on the Rib Mountain (Complete) segment? What did you think of it and how did you do? What is your biggest climb and what is your next cycling challenge? Do you believe Strava rates climbs well or not so well?