Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Love To Hate Hills - Central Avenue(First Spring Commute of 2011)

 Let me preface my latest instalment of hateful hills with a personal observation. Being a clydesdale(affectionate term for us heavier roadies) I love to hate hills. I love them cause they challenge me, make me suffer and adds some "zest" to an otherwise routine bike ride. I hate them cause they challenge me, make me suffer and adds some "zest" to an otherwise routine bike ride. Yeah.....I know. A cycling paradox.

Let me also take the time to officially declare today as my first Spring commute of 2011. Unlike previous commutes since the New Year this actually felt and looked like a Spring day. The sun was shining, the temps were hovering around 0C, last nights rain washed away the road salt and revealed grass.Spring was in the air and was infectious.

I had a pickup truck(usually driven by anti cyclists from my experience) see me approaching in his rear view mirror as traffic queued up at a light and he actually shuffled his vehicle to the left to give me space! My faith in humankind has been rekindled by a simple act of courtesy.

 Central Avenue is a beast...at least for this vertically challenged road cyclist. Begins with a moderate climb, levels out into a false flat then juts upward fn the middle section until the grade becomes steep on the final quarter of the climb.Last summer using a level, ruler and some equation I found on Google I deciphered some hill gradients. Here is what I got for Central Avenue.....

"Central Avenue. Description - straight climb for 1.2kms. Steepens at.42km with peak at .72km. Gradient@.72km = 9.1% "

Here is the view from the crest(Upper Fairview) of North/Central Halifax.....

While on the climb I spied another cyclist just cresting the top so was curious who else would choose to tackle Central avenue with so many other choices available that can be less challenging....including the staggered approach(up/over/up/over) using side streets as you zig zag the ridgeline. Once on Willet I managed to reel in the commuter and was impressed to see her in full winter kit riding a heavy commuter complete with paniers. Good on her!