Top 20% of finishers in each age at the GFNY World Championship earn a spot for the Qualifier Corral at every GFNY World event.
You likely suspect a climb named “Alpine” to be more of a monster than a 1.6k hill with 120m of elevation gain. But there is more to this hill than the numbers suggest. While it’s early in the race, Alpine is stingy enough to separate the cream from the crop. The excitement for the race has been building up until it finally starts. It’s hard to hold back when the road finally tilts up at 15km into the race. Sure, there are a few bumps along River Road on the way to Alpine. But Alpine is where the hotshots let loose. Often, the pace up the climb is so aggressive that a small, race winning group already forms at the top. Check on your favorite climb tracking website and you’ll see that many of the top times have been achieved during GFNY. And this, despite Alpine being one of the most contested climbs globally.
How to ride Alpine
To win GFNY: At the front. If there is a move, go with it.
For a fast time at GFNY: Look for groups forming towards the top. You will need a strong group to be fast along the flat section on 9W and beyond.
To finish GFNY: Try to relax and keep your breathing in check. It’s still a long way to the finish from here.
More than being physically demanding, it's mentally challenging because it plays tricks on you at a key point during the race. After the notoriously undulating Mott Farm Road, Gate Hill may start mellow but soon picks up and gets steeper. Co-named after the late Andrea Pinarello, one of the true innovators in the gran fondo world and GFNY 2011 finisher, this climb suggests the top is near several times before it actually is. You'll see a crest in the distance and think "right there it's done!" only to find out that it continues when you reach it. Once you do finish the climb, the fast descent will take more mental energy just before the next climb kicks right back up.
How to ride Gate Hill
To win GFNY: If you are in the lead group, don't get dropped. Most years, Gate Hill takes its victims. And there is no coming back. If you are in a solid chase group, encourage everyone to stay together through the hills to make back ground once you reach the flatter terrain after Cheesecote.
For a fast time at GFNY: Gate Hill is a great climb to make time and catch back up to slowing riders. This is what you have trained for.
To finish GFNY: Gate Hill is one of the key climbs of your race. Show mental strength and get it done. If you get through Gate Hill and Cheesecote, nothing should stop you from finishing.
On a clear day, you can see Manhattan skyscrapers on the descent off Cheesecote Mountain. Your first, distant glimpse of the finish line! Cheescote's 18% grade is the steepest section of the GFNY NYC course. It comes right at the start of the climb. While short, it tends to suck enough energy to make the rest of the climb a drag. The road surface isn't the smoothest which adds to the challenge. Good news is: once you crest the climb, the toughest part of GFNY is behind you.
How to ride Cheesecote
To win GFNY: Pretty much the same applies as for Colle Andrea Pinarello. If you are in the lead group, don't get dropped. If you feel good, it's a nice climb to test the competition and thin out the group. Trying to go alone from here is a big task though, so better to have some company.
For a fast time at GFNY: Take the initial steep section with a relaxed mindset. Once the climb flattens to a more manageable 7-8%, try to find a solid pace.
To finish GFNY: One of our favorite signs that we tend to place at Cheesecote reads: "It's OK to cry." While it is, it's better to do so when riding instead of walking. Grind it out. This climb is not a beauty contest.