Climbing Eldred St. with Michael Muhney & Phil Gaimon

Eldred00

Eldred St. is that freakshow you just can’t turn your head away from.

Most people who drive or roll by on Avenue 50 probably don’t recognize its significance as being our country’s 3rd steepest road.

I’ve definitely spent a lot more time staring at it, than climbing it as it gets exponentially intimidating the closer you approach.

My Friday group ride has a variety of routes and while our Mt. Washington loop is one of my favorites, it is seldom done.

Normally when we come by here, we stop at Eldred to see if there are any takers and normally move on.

This week was different as “retired pro” Phil Gaimon happened to be¬†along for the ride.

After we both took the Mt. Washington KOM (I get credit because I held his tool bag while he smashed it), the moment of reckoning soon came.

 

I probably could have taken this KOM if I wasn’t carrying his tool bag.

 

Rolling by this iconic climb, Phil isn’t going to turn down a challenge sitting down (he came out of his saddle).

Even though I wasn’t feeling super confident about climbing it, I did have that rage of stupidness behind me so I followed.

Phil zipped right up it but at about halfway up, I realized I was in trouble.

It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t have the power, but the climb gradually steepens near the top and I was somewhat worried that I’d fall backwards if I slowed any further.

Nevertheless, I finished about 20 feet from the absolute top pretty happy with the effort.

Phil and I didn’t muster the brain power to turn on our cameras during our efforts, but I did for the next set of riders.

 

Muhney grinding Eldred St.

 

This was young Carl’s first time seeing the climb, so while he made great progress on the bottom, it might have been a bit too much to make it the rest of the way up.

At the same time, Michael Muhney was taking a more metered approach to the climb.

(If that name sounds familiar, then maybe you saw Phil & Michael tackling Gibraltar.)

 

Retired Phil & Michael climbing Gibraltar

 

This isn’t his first rodeo up Eldred and not only was he prepared to grind it out, but you could see the experience as he flexed his biceps to keep his center of gravity forward.

The one thing that made his climb even more impressive was that there were about five more gears that would have been preferential that he couldn’t use.

Earlier in our ride, Michael got caught in a rut and crashed bending his rear derailleur hanger.

No one wants to cut out of a ride early, so he was able to bend it back into a position to make his bike semi-functional again.

Yes, I had all my gears and still came up a little short, but I am getting the knowledge and guts to make it all the way up someday…