To prepare for my ride I've been going online to figure out the steepness of the hills on my route. The longest and steepest grades that I've been able to find are the ones coming out of Snake River Canyon and going up to Sherman Pass. The main climb for each is between five to seven miles at generally a 5% grade with some sections going up to 6 or 7 % grade. I'm sure I'll come upon some grades that are over 7% however, they won't be overly long. I've loaded my panniers with canned food (about 25 pounds) and have been doing my rides to include some hills around this area. Just to give everyone an idea of what type grades there are around here, I went out today and took some measurements. To give some perspective for my local readers, I started with Lower Peoh Point Road:
It starts out at a 7% grade but kicks up to 8% for the final grind; luckily, it's not too long but it definitely gets the heart muscles working.
The longest that I've come up with is Thorp Prarie Road; I haven't ridden it yet this year but it's one you don't forget.
It starts off at a modest 5% grade which continues for over a mile. Then, just as you start going around a curve, you notice the grade is increasing; because you're going around a curve you can't see the end of the climb or how much the grade is increasing. Finally, you see the top of what has become a nearly 9% grade but as you reach what you thought was the crest of the hill you see that it's merely a decrease to a 6% grade which lasts for another quarter mile. The feeling of accomplishment you have upon completion of a grueling climb is indescribable; plus, you get to relax and enjoy the scenery on the way down.