Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 560 — map & image data — nearby photos
It's Nasty Steep
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu
I went out for a long bike in the mountains of northern Kyoto on Saturday, and after 120km (75mi) of tough ups and pleasant downs with friends (that I'll write about separately: here and here), I made an attempt at a hill so steep that its name on Strava is “Nasty”.
It's so steep that they have a mirror over the road, pointing down, so that folks coming from below can see whether the road is clear up over the lip.
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/4000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
note the mirror facing down
The hill rises about 26m over a distance of 125m (85' over 410'), which puts the overall steepness at 21%, which is exactly what Kyoto City labels the road at. That's about the same slope from the ground to the top of a 6-story building over the course of a football field.
I was tired after eight hours of hard riding, but had heard about this hill the other day and wanted to try it. Manseki kindly used my camera to snap some shots.
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 360 — map & image data — nearby photos
the sliver of smooth surface that's not a death trap for bicycles
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 1400 — map & image data — nearby photos
It took me 51 seconds.
I had to make a new segment on Strava (here) because the one that was already there is way off from reality, putting the ending point well beyond the end of the hill instead of at the end of the hill, so after you're done with the climb, unless you move an unnaturally-far distance from the end of the hill before stopping to recover your breath, the stop is counted in your climb time. Just stupid and sloppy.
Lots of segments in Strava are like this because people who create them are sloppy, and Strava doesn't give any way to provide feedback or to even see who made it. So I have to end up making new (carefully-measured, seemingly-redundant) segments. But Strava also doesn't give any way to describe a segment beyond the title, so these carefully-measured segments aren't presented as such to folks who come across them, so perhaps they get lost in the slew of crap.
UPDATE: The new segment as seen at Strava is not without its problems. An easy road almost parallels the difficult climb, and they're close enough that Strava counts the easy passage as an attempt at the difficult climb, so you see ridiculously-unrealistic times for the climb, such as “7 seconds”.
As of Sep 2015, the fastest actual climb is this 29-second effort that Strava lists as #57. It should be #1. Second place should be this 30-second effort, and third should be my own 33-second effort (quite an improvement over my 51-second first try!).
But even within the limited world of Strava data, the above rankings are an approximation because true efforts are hidden for folks who happened to have ridden the parallel road some other time. Each person can appear in the rankings only once, so, for example, this incorrectly ascribed 16-second ride by one of Kyoto's fastest riders hides any time he made on the actual climb. It's quite likely this guy has done the actual climb in 25 seconds, but to find out we'd have to dig through his hundreds of Strava activities to look.
Strava could easily fix this by allowing people to remove a specific segment from their ride, but they have shown no interest in providing useful features like this.