Friday, August 1, 2014


Several years back Damon took the locally famous "OMG-WTF" route and added HFS and HTFU to create Ascension.  The route goes up, down, and around the ridge in Maryland's Gambrill State Park.  Once a year a group heads up to Frederick and launches from a middle school for 60 miles and 8000+ feet of climbing.  Damon and I did the ride the other week.

(Gambrill is primarily a mountain bike destination.  Every time I have been on the first climb (and last descent), Hamburg Road, I see scores of mountain bikes on cars being driven to the top of the hill.  I've only once ever seen a mountain bike being ridden up the hill -- but, who am I to judge?)

Here is the Garmin data.  A few high points (so to speak):

1.  Top speed, 49.1 mph.  That came on the descent out of the park at the end of loop 1.  It's a beautiful stretch of road with long sweeping turns, good tarmac, and few to no cars.  The worst part of that descent is hammering the brakes to take a turn when the main road continues down, down, and further down.

2.  High elevation, 1707 feet.  Not much to write home about, but with the low at 380, we were playing with 1300 feet net elevation, which is not trivial.  Or not when you do it several times.

3.  The steepest piece of road comes near the bottom of the Coxey Brown climb, which is the last major climb represented on the chart.  I saw the Garmin reading 28% on the very inside of the corner.

4.  Best climb to skip:  Jackson Mountain Road.  Ascension, done properly, includes a final trip up the 40%-grade Jackson Mountain Road.  It's short but definitely not sweet.  For the first time, we did not ride it.


sam said...

I wish I could say that sounds like a fun ride, but it doesn't. It doesn't sound fun at all, except the 50mph descent.

At least the temperature was marginally acceptable for the first half of the ride!

Unknown said...

It's a good ride to remind you that, no matter how fit you think you are, you're still eligible for a severe ass-kicking.