The Climbduro events captured what I love about cycling while hiding me from my insecurities (racing down trails, fighting for position), and have really defined how I choose to ride. My impression of the two editions that I did was ripping the legs off of each other on the climbs, each race starting with a wide gravel road, riders are free to move up and blow up as they wish, followed by a "party lap" back down. For most of the last 4 summers, I have targeted longer climbs while taking time to enjoy the descents at my own pace and contriving loops so that I can meet up with my girlfriend for her descents.
When the pandemic took hold in 2020, virtual racing became the main form of competition, with race organizers shifting to encouraging time trials following a GPS track. Climbduro was already ahead of the game, offering this in 2019 to complement their real event. Attempting these time trials, the rides became memorable, offering up the chance to "race" on tracks where logistically it wouldn't make sense to race, in addition to experiencing the views and the descents that came after the timed climbs.
The first edition happened under smoky skies. The route, 2 stages, the first up the open to traffic section to its top, the second up to the top of the Moose Mountain summit switchbacks. Bike choice was a hot topic but mountain bikes ruled the day, offering more gearing, and requiring less precision on the Summit doubletrack, and could make it down the untimed Moosepackers to the finish. Quite a surreal place to race up to the (almost) top of a mountain! I was just outside of the top 3 on either segment, but what was interesting was that a bad shift on the transition between the two stages bent my derailleur and I had to stop and repair it between stages and even then only had minimal working gear combinations.
Construction on the summit trail required a different route but it still delivered. The first, a steep climb up the Husky Road, followed by an untimed descent of Ushoulda. The second, starting on the singletrack of Family Guy (it IS a climb trail!) and finishing on the upper sections of the Moose road. The pecking order was set after the Husky climb, and we staggered our start of the Family guy climb, so no problems were had on the singletrack. 3rd on both segments with great legs!
Prairie View- Jewel pass is a classic loop, especially when combined with the Camp Chief Hector Descent and/or Razor's Edge. I'd never really hammered it before but had been meaning too. On a long weekend to boot! The initial switchbacks are steady but not steep, but then the climb really turns into a wall. Good for keeping the gas on!
Jumpingpound Summit + Cox Hill
My preferred way of riding Jumpingpound Ridge to Cox Hill, is actually to ascend to the ridge at the Lusk pass climb, ride to the summit of Jumpingpound as an out-and-back and then continue to Cox Hill. The Summit trail climb was new to me. After a slightly longer but enjoyable spin out on the gravel with some great views, I blasted up the Summit trail. Starting off easier on some nicely rerouted singletrack, it soon takes on a steeper character similar to the other Jumpingpound climbs. After topping out and then riding along the ridge, I actually beat my brother to the Cox Hill Junction! After a brief descent, the Cox Hill climb starts immediately and becomes steep and loose near the top. I couldn't clean this section. After re-grouping with my brother, we headed down. This descent is awesome.
Sulphur Mountain Backside
If you don't have a small enough chainring, the backside of Sulphur Mountain can be a real suffer...er sulphurfest. The pitch is so steep that you'll be spending some solid time in your easiest gear, or next easiest, and that is at a hammer pace! Great views up the Bow Valley on the 2nd last switchback heading up. Once at the top, the solidarity is over as you are immersed in the crowds at the boardwalk.
Moose Mountain + Ranger Summit Linkup
The Pneuma climb has a reputation of being tough, not necessarily because of the pitch but because of the roots and switchbacks on the way up. At a race pace, it isn't bad as you float up over the roots and have short recovery sections on the slight downhills. It's not a trail where you go and set a personal best VAM, but a climb that is more than just a means to an end. It still makes a great hammer, you just might not finish as high above your start as you think you have.
Connecting to the West Bragg Creek trails is easy after descending Race of Spades. The Climbduro Quattro route featured a shorter climb on Ridgeback, a bigger climb up Bobcat and finally a couple of smaller climbs on Boundary Ridge and Snagmore. As if that wasn't enough I added in a bonus climb up Sugar Daddy before finishing off on Sugar Mama and spinning back to the Station Flats parking lot. It was around 1900m of climbing, much of that on singletrack!
Ranger Summit Linkup Redux
From the main West Bragg Creek parking lot, up Ranger Summit, then an out and back on Bobcat, followed by Sugar Mama. I had intended on starting the Triple (Sugar Daddy, and a repeat of Boundary Ridge and Snagmore) but I started in the wrong place so the route wouldn't have counted. The consolation of a lap down to the bottom of Snakes and Ladders and back up was a highlight though.
By combining Climbduro segments together, I was able to create some memorable days on the bike.