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Tackle these 4 challenging US bike tours

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Those who like to challenge themselves to the toughest bike courses across the U.S. often look for routes that feature demanding obstacles like gut-wrenching inclines and sharp hairpin turns. There are many courses throughout the country that require cyclists to tackle these hurdles, as well as everything from rough terrain to lengthy distances.

If you're looking to test your biking abilities, push yourself to the next level on one of these difficult bike trails.

1. Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano and the highest point in Hawaii. Although the course is only around 40 miles long, it's more than 13,700 feet high, which is more than the world's tallest mountain, Mount Everest. Once you get near the top of the trail, you'll find clouds floating next to you just over the edge of the volcano for a truly breathtaking experience. 

The trail is often considered the most difficult climb by bike with relentless uphill sections that account for the vast majority of the route. Most of the trail consists of unpaved dirt and gravel, so having the right tires is essential to ensure that you can handle each type of terrain you encounter. The Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Wire Bead Tires are ideal for extended bike tours and allow cyclists to ride on almost any trail. The Double Defense technology protects the tire shoulders and side wall from sharp objects, like glass or rocks, that you may run over while riding.

vBike trails that feature vertical mountain climbs often reward cyclists with stunning views.

2. Mount Washington Hill Climb
The Mount Washington Hill Climb is for bikers who want to challenge themselves to a sprint. The course stretches 7.6 miles and climbs more than 4,600 feet at an average grade of 11.6 percent. This is steeper than the famous Mortirolo Pass in Italy and the Alto de L'Angliru mountain in Spain – both known to be among the most challenging routes in the professional biking world. Cyclists who have previously tackled the trail note that the homestretch is the most challenging, including 50 yards at 22-percent gradient. 

3. Coast-to-coast Race Across America trail
The 3,000-mile route across the U.S. is considered by many expert cyclists to be one of the toughest endurance bike tours in the world. The trail extends across 12 states, from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland – 30 percent longer than the Tour de France – and consists of mountain trails, busy roads and everything in between. Bikers must also climb over 17,000 vertical feet over the course of the trip. 

For extended tours like these, it's important to ride with a high-quality saddle designed for long-distance touring. The Brooks B17 Special Saddle is perfect for cyclists taking on lengthy trails, featuring copper-plated steel metalwork that makes the product durable and long-lasting. 

"Mount Evans is home to the highest paved road in North America."

4. Mount Evans
Located in Idaho Springs, Colorado, the Mount Evans trail is home to the highest paved road in North America. At more than 14,000 feet high, cyclists ride through lush forests, alpine lakes and tundra. It's constantly snowing at the top of the mountain, regardless of the 90-degree heat at the bottom. Due to its height, there's an average of half the amount of oxygen near the top as there is at sea level, so it's essential to bring plenty of food and water in a reliable pannier to prevent muscle weakness. 

The road is only open June through August most years and costs $3 to ride on. However, your money and hard work pay off at the summit where you're treated to panoramas consisting of miles of rolling hills and greenery. 

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About Stephane Marchiori

Owner of Cyclocamping.com
Bike touring since 2003, including:
a 5-Year Bicycle Journey Around The World!

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