Saturday, June 05, 2010

Time to climb

Our little city has quite an excellent cycling fitness test piece, Mont Royal's Camelien Houde. This impressive road winds up the east side of Mont Royal hill for 1.6 km, and has been part of both men's and women's World Cup races and even the Olympic road race in Montreal's 1976 Olympics.

Local cyclists use it to train, train, and train some more. (ten laps of this climb each Wednesday will make anyone a superhuman climber). We usually do one lap, but we know the recipe to improvement involves repetition.

Humans, for some evolutionary-biology reason, like to measure their individual performance against their fellow man (or woman).

According to the the user Becane on the local cycling website Velocia, the time-to-climb results can be categorized as follows:

Temps de référence:
  • Les pros .................... <>
  • L'élite national ............ 4:01 - 4:45
  • Coureur provincial ....... 4:46 - 5:30
  • Cyclosportif express ..... 5:31 - 6:30
  • Cyclosportif rapide ....... 6:31 - 7:30
  • Cyclosportif ................ 7:31 - 8:30
  • Cycliste courageux ....... > 8:30
Let's get something clear right from the start, there is a fixed start and end point to measuring your time on this climb. Down at the intersection of Mont Royal avenue and Camelien Houde is a small grass-covered traffic island (a pork chop in traffic engineer parlance). This is the starting point. Past the canyon at the top of the hill is the summit of the climb,and there is a line across the road here (somewhat worn down, but it's still visible). This is the end of the climb. No cheating!

Ok, so we like to climb, the problem is that we like to climb at a pace that is under our maximum effort (it's training, not a race, and we're old and like eating dessert), as well this year we have been doing all our urban climbing training on our mountain bike, with its fat knobby tires and full suspension. And this resulted in a time of 8:47 (this was a very relaxed evening ride). We can do better, much better. We will take out our Bertrand road race bike and ride up the hill to attempt a better result. And we hope our wheels survive the downhill, because our road wheels and Montreal's rough roads don't play well together.

For those who like a bigger challenge, the time to climb on a Bixi is 8:37. Yes, we were beaten by a Bixi (although this had to be a very motivated Bixi rider).

We think there should be a public race up this road on Bixi, perhaps as part of the Tour de l'Ile weekend or the women's world cup race activities. Funny costumes optional, but we note that our friend who participates in Swiss cross-country ski races and uphill mountain marathons has been beaten by very colourful dressed and costumed race participants (one team carried a cow sculpture for an entire race!). Heck, this race could be part of the Montreal comedy festival!!! We hereby renounce all rights to this idea if the Just Pour Rire comedy festival wishes to pursue this idea.

You might not obtain olympic-class times up this hill (or, maybe you will!), but it is very inspiring to see the expert climbers practicing their craft. This climb welcomes all sorts of climbers, you included. Stopwatch is optional, we usually climb it just for the fun.


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your idea sounds a lot like the Bay to Breakers 'race' in San Francisco :)


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