Not to burst Jonahwebb’s bubble,(or anybody else that rode up Canton),that is quite a feat,but from some of the people I’ve talked to from the dirty dozen,they have said there are even more difficult hills than Canton because many hills are almost just as steep but way longer which makes them even more challenging.Still,congrats to anyone even attempting to ride Canton.
Canton on its own is a combination of both legs and technique, hence why experienced riders don’t consider it to be the most difficult of the hills. On DD day however, is also about the 8 grueling climbs you already have in your legs by that point.
But, as @mick said, difficult to find a more photogenic DD climb than Canton.
I found Canton to be the most challenging of all the DD hills. It was a combination of the steepness, the fear of looking up at it, the disconcerting transition from concrete to Polish block, and the technique required to climb it. I could not get it during the regular training rides, after I’d done all the other hills, and had to go back to practice on the weekend between the end of the rides and race day.
It wasn’t until I began to feel the right balance on the last training ride that I started to understand how to do it. There’s a certain point where you’re leaning far forward enough that it becomes merely a challenge of pushing hard enough with your legs while steering more or less normally. I had to get off the seat, down on the drops, and forward a fair bit, while still looking forward enough to steer. Then I could do it, and the knowledge that I could helped with the fear.
I expect this is more or less natural for experienced hill climbers (especially mountain cyclists), but it was new to me.
Some of the other hills — Logan, Rialto, Boustead — also required new-to-me techniques, but Canton was the only hill I couldn’t figure out after a few tries and watching other riders. (My ultra-low gearing helped me on the other, longer hills, of course.)
Again ,not to argue the point,Canton might be the steepest but it’s not nearly as long as some of the other hills.I have also ridden up Canton,(about 25 years ago),and don’t know if I could do it today,but just from a personal standpoint,I myself have found other hills more difficult and challenging because the other steep hills were many times longer.Other DD riders felt the same as I,but maybe it does depend on the bike rider.
Just curious,but does anybody know the steepness of Commercial Road and Negley Avenues.I know these 2 streets aren’t as steep as Canton Avenue,but they are sooooo much longer,(especially Commercial Road),and speaking for myself,had more of a leg burn climbing these 2 hills than Canton.If someone knows the answer I would appreciate it.