Tackling An Iconic California Climb Aboard The New Felt AR Road Bike
After several years in the making, the all-new AR aero road bike has arrived. It's the most aerodynamic road bike that we've ever created, so of course it's fast on the flats. But most cyclists don't ride on flat roads all the time, and that's especially true of the roads we regularly ride around our home in California. We always aim to make the very best bikes we can because, quite honestly, we want to ride fantastic bikes ourselves. Long, steady grinds, undulating ribbons of asphalt, and short, punchy hills are all on offer amongst our home roads. So we wanted a bike that was not only fast on routes with zero elevation gain. We wanted the all-new AR to climb well, to be comfortable enough for a long day in the saddle, and, most importantly, to descend like a dream. When the first batch of bikes were built up, we wasted no time in taking them to one of our favorite proving grounds: the iconic Gibraltar Road in the city of Santa Barbara. Made famous as a summit finish during select years of the Tour of California, Gibraltar is a ruthless, 6.1-mile/9.8km climb with an average gradient of 8%, a maximum gradient of 12%, and a total elevation gain of 2600 feet/792 meters. The views are spectacular, and the descent is one of the most exciting anywhere in the world. Here's a look at the AR's very first foray into the mountains.
Made famous as a summit finish at the Tour of California, Gibraltar Road is one of the Golden State's most iconic climbs.
With gradients reaching upwards of 12%, out-of-the-saddle efforts are a must.
Sometimes a quick check of the view can provide motivation for working through the toughest part of a climb.
In our experience, it's when the road starts to flatten out that the more spirited efforts take place.
At around 6 miles (10 kilometers) in length, Gibraltar Road keeps going up, and up, and up.
Sunset near Gibraltar's summit can be a magical time. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to descend back into town.
What goes up must come down. So begins the descent of Gibraltar Road.
A white-knuckle descent demands complete control and absolute focus.
While pro riders would race up Gibraltar Road at the Tour of California, they never had to descend it as part of a stage route.
A few S-curves and hairpin turns lead back into the picturesque enclave of Santa Barbara.