Page Contributor(s): Dan Razum, Campbell, CA, USA; Henning Bommel, Germany;
Steepest Gradient (%)
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"Another contender for the most difficult ascent in New Mexico, the west side of Cloudcroft along Route 54 is a solid route up to the high country, ending in the small mountain town of Cloudcroft. From a shallow start the grade soon gets more variable but is never steep. Near the top trees arrive for shade in places along with a bit more traffic and the summit is signed and obvious..." (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 202.)
This climb is a rarity for Top 100 U.S. Climbs as it travels from one town (La Luz, population 1,697 in 2010)) and ends in another town/village (Cloudcroft, population 697 in 2013) 14.2 miles and 3,943' up the mountain. The climb enters Lincoln National Forest at mile 1 and stays there for the remainder of the climb.
Enter Lincoln National Forest at mile 1.
Established 1902 by Teddy Roosevelt; 1,103,897 acres.
Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 5.1 (11.2%) and steepest mile at 4.3 (7.1%)
An excellent summary of this climb is found at Day 15 of Steve Garufi's Bike Across America 2011 which includes photos, a climb summary and this very important warning: "And then I reached the tunnel. Let me say up front: This is a tunnel for cyclists to be prepared for! I strongly recommend bicycle lights while in the tunnel, especially if you don't have the protection of a SAG wagon or friendly vehicle following directly behind you. In retrospect, I didn't have lights. The length of the tunnel was about 0.2 miles, and I rode fast enough that I didn't have an encounter of a car trying to pass me. But if traffic is heavy, this would be a dangerous section for cyclists." We tracked the tunnel via satellite map image to miles 5.3 to 5.41 of the climb at 5.7% over that stretch so we are certain it felt like .2 miles to Steve as he hussled through that tunnel (those of you that have ridden Mt. Baldy know to fear the tunnel). Steve and his crew created a Facebook page for this climb - Cyclists who've biked from Alamogordo.
There was a general store in High Rolls(mile 6.5) when Steve went through in 2011 - Day 15 Bike Across America.
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