Hillier Than Thou is not your average Gran Fondo. Some say this ride is a little on the crazy side. Others don’t even bother calling it a ride; rather a challenge, suffer-fest, buffet of pain, etc. etc. And that’s exactly how we like to think of it too. This is an insane 100 miles of insane riding for riders who are just as insane. Like these brave ladies and gentlemen who tackled our 2014 edition.
After planning the route, we took a look at the GPS file and found that we had accomplished exactly what we set out to create. It’s got over 12,000 feet of climbing, beautiful county roads, and nearly no flat ground. The elevation chart resembles a full set of razor sharp teeth ready to tear your legs apart.
Its hard enough to merely survive Hillier Than Thou but we figured, why not throw in some friendly competition as well? That’s why we are time the entire ride as well as selected hills (the hardest ones, of course) using Strava. Afterwards we’re going to hand out medals to champions so they can share their victory with their social media friends and their real friends too.
Along the way riders may think they’re seeing a mirage amid their suffering, but worry not, those rest stops are real. Stocked with nutritional goodies, these stops may seem to have a glowing aura about them as riders approach. Just to make it clear, our rest stops don’t actually glow and if they seem like they are, you might want to hang around for a bit and re-fuel.
When riders return, we’re going to have exactly what the doctor ordered: a barbecue. We don’t think electrolyte drinks and gels can quite satisfy the appetite of someone who just climbed over 12,000 feet in 100 miles. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you don’t want to go home and lay in the fetal position afterwards, we recommend heading down to the Long Valley Pub & Brewery for a cold one after a day like this. They like bikes and are totally cool with stinky cyclists hanging at the bar.
A friend once told me that if you don’t find yourself crying on the side of the road, 50 miles from home, not knowing if you have it in you to finish your ride, at least once a season, you aren’t training hard enough. I hope you’ve all been riding your bikes this season, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to see what you’re made of.