A Quest for 50


Back on roads safely away from vicious man and dog-eating dogs, I decided I would try to hit 50 mph today. On US Rte 30, two miles west of Stoystown, Pa. is an awesome steep hill which is straight as an arrow, hits a dip in the bottom and goes straight up the other side. In other words, a perfect hill to gain speed. No worries about curves or stopping.

US Rte 30 looking east. The grade is longer on this side but steeper on the other side.

I parked at the bottom of the hill and started my one mile ascent up the 7% grade. Much of this climb was 10-11% but there is a 5-6% section in the middle which brings the average down.

At the top I turned around, put the bike in the big gear, and pedaled as fast as I could. I got in my aero tuck and watched the speedometer creep up – to just 45 mph. I was disappointed.

I rode through the dip at the bottom of the hill and began my climb up the other side. The total climb was 0.7 mile but the steepest section was near the bottom – the last 0.4 mile. In this section the road averaged 10% grade.

Though I went all the way to the top and turned around to try it again, my speed didn’t really creep up until I hit the bottom ramp. My Trek computer had me at 49.2. Close, but not quite 50. I will have to try again next week.

After a few minutes, I decided I would head over to Altoona, mainly to ride Horseshoe Curve. But when I reached Summerhill (yesterday, by bike) and saw the sign for Blue Knob State Park, I decided to follow the sign.

I parked at the park entrance and began the 4.5 mile climb to the summit. Many sections were hitting 14-15% and 16% in the last section. It was a nice workout.

There are no roads like Mount Washington but climbs like Blue Knob are helpful. Glad I came back, even if for a day.

Garmin Map and Stats – Rte 30

Garmin Map and Stats – Blue Knob

UPDATE: There will be no try next week. I have changed the gearing on my bike to ready myself for Mount Washington and have removed the “big ring” necessary to hit top speed.

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