Some of you may remember the big steep climb up Alpe Cermis in the Tour de Ski in northeast Italy a couple of years ago (with the video of strong ski racers collapsing together at the top). I think it's the steepest long climb that's ever been in a major international ski race.
- At the time I commented (on another forum) that doing a climb like that was a good way to show off how tough cross-country ski racers really are, since it was steeper than any of the climbs in the famous Tour de France bicycle race.
It's the steepest long climb that's ever been included in a major international road bicycling race - (and happens to also be in northeast Italy, about three hours drive from Alpe Cermis). The average steepness for about 850 vertical meters is around 14.5-15% grade, which is more than 50% steeper than the notorious Alpe d’Huez climb in France. (Perhaps someone can calculate how much bigger + steeper it is than the Afton coulee).
- Somebody responded to my comment about Alpe Cermis by giving a link to an elevation profile of the Monte Zoncolan road up the west side from Liariis + Ovaro -- which did indeed impress me as roughly as steep as the Alpe Cermis ski climb. Even if Zoncolan isn’t anywhere near France, I can respect the Giro d’Italia race.
What I did not know at that time was that the Zoncolan climb which had been included previously in the Giro was not that profile -- instead it had been up the “easier” east side of Monte Zoncolan (from Sutrio).
So who's really tougher?
me non-pro non-bike-racer versus MtZ:
This year I pedaled up the Monte Zoncolan west side road on my heavy steel touring bike. Before I started I was expecting a glorious failure -- that somewhere in the middle I’d be off my bike walking. But I made all the way up still pedaling -- and I did not collapse at the top. I even kept on riding and finished this loop back to the start.
- ... which does not show that I'm tougher than XC ski racers. I think what it shows that really low gears really work - (and serious specific hill training works). And that MtZ did not have any sections as steep as shown on that profile - (see ridiculously detailed discussion of how the objectively publicly measurable data sequence of an elevation profile, referenced in the Wikipedia, could be wrong).
Never skated to the top. Never even been there.
But classic with the right klister I’m confident I could climb up Alpe Cermis on skis.