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Something I was wondering about today. I'm out riding the typical flat stuff that's closest to me and realize that I'm getting winded while pushing fast through some singletrack. I thought to myself "if I feel out-of-shape riding this flat singletrack, how would I do climbing the mountains that I'm always reading about on MTBR?!"

Granted, we all know that Florida has climbing ... but its not sustained climbing. And we certainly have technical stuff (Moonscape/Gatorback at Alafia, John Henry at Alafia, all of Razorback, etc),technical stuff that's probably as difficult or more difficult than alot of stuff we read about on here ... but our tech stuff usually doesn't come amidst alot of climbing. I wonder if the riding that we're used to has developed the lungs and endurance needed to really tackle some sustained climbing?

Whaddyathink, would you be up to it?

(pic attached for the heck of it, from Toe a couple of years ago)
 

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From South Florida, we do chartered bus trips to Tsali, Pisgah, ans Tanasi 4 to 5 times a year and usually do pretty well for the most part. Sustained climbing to me is like road riding....pick a comfortable gear and pace and ride it. Most of the stuff up there is not as technical as what we ride down here, nor as rooty, but for all that climbing.....you get those nice sustained downhills that we only get very short spurts of. We just got back from Tsali a month ago and that place just flows and flows. There's a few tougher climbs but the most part you climb some and you drop some probably 200 - 400 feet at a whack and the more sustained climbs are rewarded with some sweet downhills when you let the brakes go! Mr. Garmin said 37 Max on the Thompson's downhill run, Pisgah is similar but more varied with all kinds of riding usually not as fast and swoopy as Tsali but really very different trail personalities. Bent Creek has some sweet climbs ans an awesome downhill run at Green's Lick. DuPont Forest has Slickrock and Burnt Mountain and a bunch more trails I haven't ridden yet, Tanasi is absolutely awesome just across the border in Tenneessee, kinda like Tsali on steroids. East of Asheville is Kitsuma's killer run and Heartbreak Ridge off of Mount Mitchell is another mini epic. There is so much riding there that you could take a month off and ride every day and not catch it all.:thumbsup:

It's mountain biking versus trail riding. I love our trails here, but the mountains are....THE MOUNTAINS!:D

Nice shot of the TOE....R.I.P.
 

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Shortcutting Hikabiker
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When I go up there the climbs are granny all the way, slow spinning up. It sucks but is well worth it on the trip down. I also tend to try to pick trails that are solid climbs up then solid downhills to the bottom. Forget that climb, decent, climb, decent type trail. I like to get the climmbing out of the way first. And if you are tired of climbing you can always get off and push, and at the speed I climb pushing usually isn't much slower, LOL.

I'm going to have to disagree on what mtb777 said. There are trails in Pisgah that will put Florida to shame technically. Some of those DHs are solid root strewn rock gardens that are perpetually wet with a very small margin for error. Tsali isn't technical at all but I don't even bother to go there anymore, been there done that. If I am going to the mountains I want some big elevation chages and sweet singletrack. Not a big dirt sidewalk next to some lake. I go straight to Pisgah/Dupont... Brevard.
 

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I was up in Norther AZ about 2 weeks ago, around 6000ft. I do have the experience of being a california native and knowing what climbing is like. In my opinion, my first of two rides in Prescott, I got my @ss handed to me, more by the elevation then anything else. The second one was better and we did about 20 miles with only a few truly extended climbs.

It's not a hard concept to learn, you just have to get used to serious fatigue and stretching the legs on the way down so they are fresh for the next climb. You just gotta sit and spin, sit and spin.
 

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elevation

Carnage mentioned elevation, and I am skeered of how I will feel at 11,000 feet after spending 2 years at sea level. In NJ, I was a good solid climber in the foothills, we concentrated on pushing hard gears to carry speed up. I spent almost 2 years in NorCal, and climbing in the foothills was no problem, but once you go up into the sierras, performance goes way down. Now having been down here at 3 feet above sea level for an extended time, CO scares me. So many people down here are roadies as well as mtb'rs that I am sure most people do well when riding on the ups someplace low, like GA and NC. Has anyone from FL been up to a high elevation to ride? How was it?
 

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I have family in Charlotte and our family bought a house near Pisgah a couple of years ago. While its definitely a different animal, its all reasonably do-able for a in-shape flatlander. A couple of weeks ago I took my SS up to charlotte and had a blast, not much I couldnt ride at USWC....but was wiped at the end of the day. While I am in shape, I dont consider myself experienced at all. Only been riding consistently for about a year and on SS for a few months...
 

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Surfin' da mountain
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Just 'cause we live in FL doesn't mean we're limited to riding there. I've been on a few chartered trips from SoFl to the West North Carolina area with mtb777 and others. Last summer I rode in California, Colorado and Eastern Utah. Before that I went on an Escape Adventures tour and out climbed people I've never met before from mountain states. Before that on a trip to Hawaii, I rode there, albeit on a rental Kona FS bike, but in the Kohala Mountains on the Big Island.

On another subject, I have to agree with mtb777, the average FL XC trail is more technical compared to else where because we don't have those sustained climbs and downhills. Every mile needs to count. The 401 trail in Crested Butte is a smooth, non-technical ribbon of downhill bliss and considered an Epic Ride. In flat SoFL the 401 Trail would be boring. Engineer Mountain in CO, Dark Hollow in Brianhead, UT and Kitzuma in Pisgah are some of the most fun trails ever ridden if you love screaming downhill through the trees, but none of them are very technical. Like just about everyone, I had to walk a few places on Porcupine Rim. I've only been intimidated by Blow Hard in West UT and Tick Canyon in SoCAL and attribute that to the level of bike handling you need to ride in FL. Friends in SoFL who rode Whistler last summer said that place is way more technical than FL. I'm sure you can find a few places in WNC that are more technical than FL also, but on average, FL is more technical.

I don't judge the quality of a trail by its technical challenge, but by its fun factor. So how do Floridians do in the real mountains and am I up to it? In 30 days I will be arriving in Denver with my bike, hell yeah I'm up to it and so are you! Ride on Dave!

Another advantage to living in FL, you can ride and go to the beach the same day, year round.
And not everything is flat in Florida!
 

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I go up to Mammoth (peak is 11k feet, town is around 7.5k feet) about once a year and to be honest, I don't feel that winded, but while I'm there, I"m going downhill about 90% of the time and using the lifts to get me to the top. I've found that trails in Florida tend to do a good job and getting one good at technical riding, but that sustained climbing is only done with practice that we just can't get much of down here.
 

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Another advantage to living in FL, you can ride and go to the beach the same day, year round.
And not everything is flat in Florida![/QUOTE]


Dang , I would love to ride in those mountains!!!
 

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I work at a shop here in Park City, UT and we have a lot of Florideans (sp??) come by...they all tell me they're in great shape and want to do a 30 mile epic on their first day. Well that lasts for about 8 miles and then they come back! Seriously, there's no doubt most of you guys who ride can handle sustained climbs but altitude is a *****. Unfortunately, around here you gotta climb EVERYWHERE..unless you ride the lift stuff but whatever. I had a hard time my first season out here coming from New England because all my trails up north were short bursts of climbing...with off camber roots, rocks everywhere and mud like a *****. Out here you just switchbacks like a mother....
 

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You should be in shape to climb mountains (like Vinokourov).

When I used to race I did well the further north I went. I did poorly at places like Hanna Park and Markham because they are too flat and too fast.

Personally I do better in the mountains. Riding about an hour east of Seattle, we climbed 3000 feet of dirt doubletrack. Fontana, Amasa Back, Utah's G.E.M. trail (800 feet altitude gain in 6 miles) are other trails I've ridden with lots of climbing. I'm not a climber and I hate going up, but it seems I am good at it.

I guess we need to build a trail up the side of that Mt. Trashmore I keep passing on I-95 near Ft. Lauderdale!

 

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WolverineGator said:
I guess we need to build a trail up the side of that Mt. Trashmore I keep passing on I-95 near Ft. Lauderdale!
Good call!! Everytime I go by those lovely piles of garbage I picture them in 10 years with slopstyle, "DH", and switchbacks all over them. The "florida mountains" will eventually be converted to recreation areas, similar to Dyer park and a project near Ft. Pierce.

As for riding in the mountains/high elevation. I think acclimatizing (sp??) is definately a good idea for extreme altitude, but for around a mile up I think it's not much of a factor, although I have no evidence to back that up, just a hunch.

The times I've been to Pisgah I have been completely exhausted on my climb up Black mountain, which I think totals around 2000' in ~8 miles. Dupont is much more gradual and has more "up and down" to it. I did Pisgah first day, felt dead, then did Dupont second day and felt great.
 

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Not Smart Enough to Quit
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Although I'm not in Fl (I'm in central AL) I agree that if you don't climb a lot, then you are at a disadvantage. Especially if you don't road bike. I think that it's in the differnt power out put profiles that you would have for a flattish XC trail & one with a 3 mile climb. The flat trail would require a less steady output than the long climb would. More similar to a series of short high power sprints than a steady hard effort.
 

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WolverineGator said:
When I used to race I did well the further north I went. I did poorly at places like Hanna Park and Markham because they are too flat and too fast.

Personally I do better in the mountains. Riding about an hour east of Seattle, we climbed 3000 feet of dirt doubletrack. Fontana, Amasa Back, Utah's G.E.M. trail (800 feet altitude gain in 6 miles) are other trails I've ridden with lots of climbing. I'm not a climber and I hate going up, but it seems I am good at it.

I guess we need to build a trail up the side of that Mt. Trashmore I keep passing on I-95 near Ft. Lauderdale!


F.O.R.C.E., a new Palm Beach mountain bike club has gotten permission from Palm Beach County Parks to rebuild the trails on Mount Trashmore (Dyer Park) so that is a wish with fullfillment in the works! They also care for PineHurst trails just south of Okeeheelee Park too! A good bunch of riders.:thumbsup:
 

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FloridaFish said:
Good call!! Everytime I go by those lovely piles of garbage I picture them in 10 years with slopstyle, "DH", and switchbacks all over them. The "florida mountains" will eventually be converted to recreation areas, similar to Dyer park and a project near Ft. Pierce.

As for riding in the mountains/high elevation. I think acclimatizing (sp??) is definately a good idea for extreme altitude, but for around a mile up I think it's not much of a factor, although I have no evidence to back that up, just a hunch.

The times I've been to Pisgah I have been completely exhausted on my climb up Black mountain, which I think totals around 2000' in ~8 miles. Dupont is much more gradual and has more "up and down" to it. I did Pisgah first day, felt dead, then did Dupont second day and felt great.

A good Pisgah first day ride would bee something like Laurel Mountain which is an up and down gradual climb going up about 2000? or so that can be done as an out and back or linked with the fun Pilot Rock downhill to feed your need for speed! There are some trails you can shuttle to avoid not so much the climb (LIAR) but get more speed time in! If you are there for a long weekend, you'll want to optimize your time. Black Mountain IS a kick of a climb. Kitsuma at the other Black Mountain east of Asheville also has a kick your tail 1200? foot climb with 12 or so technical swithchbacks and a nice reward after it. I still disagree about Tsali being lame as it's very fast and flowy but, yes it's not technical, but I think it's a great starter ride(s) for a mountain newbie. You can't beat the views and every time I go there, It gets faster!:thumbsup:
 

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I have never mountain biked with anyone from FL, but I am always impressed how well the flatlanders handle the N.Georgia mountains on their road bikes.
 

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mtb777 said:
A good Pisgah first day ride would bee something like Laurel Mountain which is an up and down gradual climb going up about 2000? or so that can be done as an out and back or linked with the fun Pilot Rock downhill to feed your need for speed! There are some trails you can shuttle to avoid not so much the climb (LIAR) but get more speed time in! If you are there for a long weekend, you'll want to optimize your time. Black Mountain IS a kick of a climb. Kitsuma at the other Black Mountain east of Asheville also has a kick your tail 1200? foot climb with 12 or so technical swithchbacks and a nice reward after it. I still disagree about Tsali being lame as it's very fast and flowy but, yes it's not technical, but I think it's a great starter ride(s) for a mountain newbie. You can't beat the views and every time I go there, It gets faster!:thumbsup:
Would you recommend this to some one who's about to hit Pisgah for the first time?
 
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