Famous Fargo Street CONQUERED! (2.23.11)

I was joined by Steve (Steveyo) for another attempt at the monster of all climbs: Fargo Street in Los Angeles. It’s 33% grade makes it one of the 3 steepest streets in the US! Steve went first and made it about 3/5th of the way up, but this was only his first time ever at Fargo.

He actually went about 30 feet further than my 2 previous training attempts, so he did a fantastic job. I’m especially glad that Steve finally had a chance to see and experience Fargo, in person. I’m sure he will be posting his comments about here soon! :slight_smile:

Now it was my turn and I had doubts since I couldn’t seem to get more than about 300 of the 530 total feet. That last half is a killer and it’s where so many fail…on bikes in the LOWEST gear!

So with Steve’s encouragement, I set out to conquer Fargo…for the very first time! I had come close in mid/late 2009 when I tried it last, but lost momentum about 2/3rds up, and fell off. I mounted again and finished, and although it wasn’t a successful climb, I was still proud of my “almost” attempt.

Today I gave it all I had, to the point where my max heart rate went beyond the 165 I had figured as my max, to a chest pounding 171! And I had already hit that max by the HALFWAY point!

I could barely catch breaths and my lungs were burning so bad I thought they would catch fire! When I heard Steve shout out, “20 feet left” (He later admitted it was really more like 40 feet, haha) I felt a rush of adrenaline that ultimately pushed me over the top!

I made it to the top of Fargo in 3:02, and it was the greatest feeling–once I convinced myself I wasn’t going to have a heart attack! :pI figured at my age, it’s now or never! I seriously doubt I could have done it without Steve rooting me on!

I had originally thought that going with a 20" wheel would be easier, lighter, and turn much easier. I made the decision to stick with my kh 24, with a lighter road tire. It paid off! If I never do it again, at least now I can say, I DID IT!:D:)

That looked like hard work! And I bet that it’s even steeper in person!

You’d win that bet, haha! If you “freeze” the video at 2:34, (and beyond) as Steve gets in front of me and is shooting down at the hill, you get a pretty good idea of how steep it really is. But it’s still not like being there…and RIDING it! :slight_smile:

unigeezer, defying the laws of gravity

ALRIGHT!! I was waiting to see the video of this!! That is so cool man. You’re gonna have to make your own patch!

Just look at the vertical lines of houses and telephone poles on the sides to get an idea for the grade, and then however hard you think it looks to ride up it, probably multiple that by 2.

Thanks Dane. Yeah, cameras can’t do justice to the real thing, but you still get a pretty good sense, espeically in the shots shooting back down the hill! I’ve trained on a few 19-22% grade hills at the beach, but that is no match for the 33% grade “WALL” that this monster is! :o And even 11% grade hills can be hard over a distance! Like me and Steve were saying today, if you want to be able to bench press 300 pounds, you don’t train with 100lb weights, haha.

haha yeah. And people who know, and have experienced Fargo street, know what a BIG deal it is to make it all the way–on a bike– and with ultra low gears! A luxury we don’t have. It feels especially good to get thumbs up from them. They get it. :slight_smile:

Great work, looks like a hell of a climb!

Wow! Congrats. BTW, just as I started reading this thread, I heard that Ford Fiesta commercial come on in the background (American Idol, which I am not watching). :slight_smile:

That street looks like something from the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. The angles look all wrong. Is it a one way street, up only? Otherwise I imagine lots of car brakes catching fire before they get to the bottom!

A huge achievement that was. One of those things you never need to do again. …Unless you’d like to challenge your time… or ride up it in a straight line… :astonished:

Once upon a time, I rode the Clementine Loop trail in Auburn, all in one shot. That’s about 7 miles, with 1000’ of climbing, and lots of technical singletrack. That’s the whole thing with zero dismounts of any kind. Having finally achieved it, I never need to do it again.

Nope, Terry has to do it again on the 6th for his patch!! And he has to do it straight up with no weaving!:stuck_out_tongue:

Well done Terry … certainly an inspiration man … respect:smiley:


Or ride up 37% grade Canton Ave. in Pensylvania (one of the last hills in the Dirty Dozen race). Two degrees steeper than Baldwin Street (35%) in New Zealand which is the worlds steepest according to Guiness.

Or do the whole Dirty Dozen. I looked at last years results and it seems as though the lead group dose each hill together and only the top five get credit for completing the hill (5 points for 1st … 1 pnt for 5th and none for everyone else). I read in the top article (or maybe some other) that many of the competitors ride back to the bottom if they have a dismount so they can do each hill clean and take up to 7 hours :astonished: to finish all 12.

Edit: Canton would be even more of a major feat since it is cobble stone.

Another option is doing the Whiteface Mountain race w/ Steveyo.

Yep, I was there, and I saw it and tried it. It’s steep. I had plenty of excuses for not succeeding, but the bottom line: I failed.

Terry, OTOH, made it all the way up, and, in his defense, I’m not sure it could be ridden without weaving. He’s set up a light KH24 with lightwt cranks and tire, pumped rock-hard, maybe the perfect rig for this hill. His ride was infinitely more impressive to me after I took a shot at it. It’s really a nutty incline.

Congrats to MuniAddict.

Thanks. Sleeping in this morning never felt so good!

Thanks John! I’m already having fears about being able to do it again, especially on the actual event day coming up! I’m not a superstitious person, but I’ll probably try to do everything the same, if I can even remember what I did! Unfortunately, I won’t have Steve there next time to cheer me on! :o

And your 7 mile loop ride sounds like a huge challenge as well, so congrats to you on that! :slight_smile: But you’re right; Once you do something like that, you’ve done it, and never have to do it again, like a uni-century! But I still want to do another one anyway…someday! :slight_smile:

Ok, howabout a little knitting, just to pass the time while I’m climbing? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks Johnny! :slight_smile:

Wow, those sound beyond insane! Maybe in the next life, haha. :o

Thanks Steve! You were definitely motivating me to make it! Could you come back in March? :wink: You did amazingly well for only your very first time at Fargo, and even went further than my two previous training attempts in the past couple weeks! We both know that you definitely would have made it if you had the benefit of training there, as I had.

And what people don’t know, is that directly after Fargo, we went to ride MUni at Sullivan Canyon! Can’t get enough of that Uni stuff! Great meeting you and thanks for being there buddy! :smiley:

Make the audio into a mp3 file and put it on your ipod as your climbing. haha

Or better yet, you come come down! :smiley:

It’s the 6th right? I might actually, I’d love to see people climb it. Would be a good op for some awesome emotional shots.

That was painful to watch (in a good, witnessing triumph, sort of way)!

And the few times you stopped to hop…each hop dropped you back a few inches…:stuck_out_tongue:

Well done, both of you!

Thanks. And those few little “hops” were to correct my direction, and stay upright on the turns, with gravity pulling me down like you can’t believe! And “hop” is probably not the most accurate term; on that ROCK hard tire, with close to 100 psi, it was more like trying to bounce on a brick! :p:o