Today, I attempted to drag both of my tires up Old Teton Pass Road. It was
a valiant attempt. But, in the end, I didn’t even make it to Crater Lake. The drag force was so incredible that I was able to only take heal to toe steps. It was barely possible to even keep both tires moving. Each time I stopped, I had to break the static friction of the tires on the road – even more of a challenge.
Towing uphill, I experienced drag force in excess of 60 pounds. At that point, I could lean forward 30 degrees and the tires didn’t budge. Without trekking poles to stabilize and provide the extra little forward force, I would not have even gotten half way to Crater Lake.
Dragging 2 tires downhill was more difficult than dragging a single tire uphill. This really surprised me. I anticipated that the downhill portion would be easier, yet it wasn’t.
The effect ended up being that though the drag force was increased by up to 50%, the speed reduction was 7-to-1. It took me 4.5 hours to travel 4 miles (1.125MPH) uphill with a vertical ascent of 2,000′ with a single tire. With 2 tires, I was able to travel roughly 0.6 miles in 3.5 hours (0.17MPH) with an ascent of 150′.
I wanted to see how much load I could really handle and how far I would get if things got to the nearly impossible level. Now I know where that point is, what it feels like, and what’s going to happen. Also, knowing how much strain my tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles could take was important.
What I found was that above a certain drag force level, I’m reduced to standing up and then leaning over to move the whole mass rather than using my legs to lift the tires forward. Essentially, this ended up being a mechanical strain test rather than a heavy muscle workout. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted. But now I know how it feels and what the effects are.
This was a great experiment but I won’t be using two heavy pickup tires again, as I put more strain on my body than I did working out my muscles.