Filtering by Tag: Mt. Hamilton

Devil Mountain Double

I first did the race in 2008 it was my second double century and certainly the toughest I'd faced. That year I stayed hotel was where the race was starting to get as much a sleep as possible before the race. The second year I did the race, I decided to spare the hotel cost and do the extra drive in the morning to get there. This year I took it to a whole another level and decided to ride to the start from home, starting at 1:30am in the morning, adding another 40 miles to race.

After 3hrs sleep it was time to get up and ride. The ride up to San Ramon was mostly uneventful, though it is interesting what you see on the road at 2am in the morning. As I passed over Calaveras, I encountered a number of cars, who appeared to be organizing there own private road race, but I'm sure they were wondering I was doing out there too.

I arrived at the race start just past 4am, plenty of time to get checked in for the race. I was then I noticed that my new saddle bag, freshly filled with tubes and C02 was no longer attached to the bike. Two miles to go and no spares, well good thing it was a supported ride.

5am at the start line ready to I was ready to go. The first few miles are just riding in a sea of red flashing lights until the base of Mount Diablo, that's when the real race kicks in and people start to separate. There was some very strong wind near the top of the mountain, making it hard to stay upright in some instances. The views as the sun comes up are spectacular. You can all the way to Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Stockon on clear day, and this was a great day for it. The climb just before you reach the summit of Diablo is what they call the Wall. I still remember my very first climb on Diablo, when my heart rate reached 200bpm, on this short stretch. A few years later I'm a little wiser (only a little) and know how to pace my self better and made the up like it was just another hill. I was also better prepared for the chilly decent and kept my jacket, until I reach the next rest stop at mile 50 on Morgan Territory Rd.

While the decent on Diablo had be fairly mild due to the speed restrictions in place, found the decent on Morgan Territory Rd, to be quite the thrill ride. A combination of a tail wind a good decent, meant before I knew I had hit 48mph and was quickly trying to slow down.

The wind was with us and against us all the way through Livermore and to Mines road where the next major ascent was, Mount Hamilton. I've done this climb a number of times, 44 miles to the top, of course it isn't all climbing, but it is all work. The lunch stop is midway through the climb and after lunch I was energized and charged up the rest of the mountain like I was on mission. 

After Hamilton, there are is still the infamous Sierra Rd, to tackle. I remained strong completed the ascent. The weather was warm but not hot and definitely made the tough climbs easier then previous years. From there onwards it just time in the saddle, though at point I'd already ridden 200 miles and was starting to feel it. But I had course to conquer (again) after a brief struggle through Caleveras, I reached Sunol. At this point I knew I only had another 20 miles to go, so I continued with all I had. 

Finally back in San Ramon, just miles from the finish I'd joined a pack for the last short climbs. I was on pace and feeling good now. I had just come down the last decent and just one more mile to go, when... my chain got jammed into the crank preventing me from pedaling. I pulled over and took look, the pin that prevents this from happening was no longer there and my chain was wedged. I decided to freewheel the last mile and I was able to rock the crank back and forth to keep some momentum going. It cost me a few minutes but I finished, 246 miles with 22,000 feet of climbing!

Ride Overview:

Early Morning Century...

How early is early? I woke up at 1:30am after 3 hours of sleep to start my ride. My route was a loop up and over Mount Hamilton, totaling 115 miles. Why this early? Well I have to get the rides in some how and I'd never tried a Century before going to work in morning. The roads were quiet and I was on mission. I didn't feel too tired and the world was peaceful. I was using a new bright headlight to keep the road ahead visible. Forty five miles in, I got some pain in my knee, at this point I was just starting the climb over Hamilton from Livermore. I realized I could either turn back and go back the way I came or continue forward. It was going to hurt either way so I decided the climb would better. The climb was long but rewarding, I earned that descent back home :-) The rest of the day, was long but I made it through it.

View from the Top of Hamilton

The Morning Challenge

The morning challenge is simple wake up and cycle before work. I've done a number of morning workouts in past but driving in morning traffic and being stuck for up to an hour is self defeating. I live surrounded by freeways, this doesn't always make for a good or safe ride come rush hour traffic.

Day One:

I drove to one of my usual starting points and got on the road as quickily as I could. My chosen route would of given me 50 miles and around 4600 feet of climbing up Mount Hamilton. This being my first attempt, my timing was off, by the time I was just over half way up I realized I was not going to get to the top and back in a reasonable time so I turned around. Still this gave me a good 42 mile ride, but unfortunately I still hit a lot of traffic on the way to work.


Day Two:

Earlier, much earlier, also I change my starting position to be closer to work while maintaining a 50 mile distance. On the road just over an hour earlier I was able to reach the top of mountain with enough time to get back. I kept up a good pace and race back to my car, only to be stuck in traffic once I reached it.


Day Three:

Refinement and simplification, ditch the car and the cycle through traffic. I started even earlier and by hitting the traffic lights just right I was able to make good time, reaching the summit of Mountain Hamilton a few minutes earlier. Very cold morning the descent was freezing, but a great 58 mile ride, without the frustration of being in stuck in traffic afterwards. Of course crossing over a couple freeways does make you a little paranoid, but it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you, right? :-)


The Bay Area in Snow!

Last time snow fell in Bay area at sea level was over thirty years ago, so it is no surprise that it made big news when the weather came. Curious to see what had fallen on Friday night I set out Saturday morning to see what was out there. I headed up Highway 9, around 1500ft I started to see some patch of snow at the side of the road. At the top of Hwy9, I turned left left to follow Skyline past Castle Rock park, to the peak of Skyline at 3100ft. By Castle Rock, families were out with there kids, enjoying the dusting of snow. 

I've spent the last hour climbing I was fairly warm, however it was now time for the descent :-) 30+ mph into the cold, doesn't lead to warm feelings, it wasn't long before may face, feet and hands had no feeling. I had reached a point of thermal runaway, at which point I was not going to regain the feeling in my extremities. So I cut the ride short, after a descent on Pagemill, I headed back to car, closely followed by a Starbucks, to warm-up. Resolved not to let the cold get the better of me again, I headed over to Sports Basement to pick up better clothing for the weather, an extra layer for the shoes, thicker gloves and a hat.

Next morning, was a supposed to be just as cold so I set out slightly later, with my new gear and thicker layers. However I was a mile into the ride when I realized I'd need to shed a little for the climbs and save the clothes for the descent.  I head out over Calaveras Rd from Milpitas, towards Livermore. As I past by the reservoir I saw the TNT's Ironteam heading in the opposite direction, but it recognize anyone. I kept up a good pace as it's a fairly flat route until you reach Mines road in Livermore. After a quick out and back on Tesla road to get some extra mileage, then it long climb up Mines road began.

It last six miles of climb up Mount Hamilton, lead me to a winter wonderland with a number of snowmen at the side of the road. As with the day before there were a number of people at summit enchanted by the snow. At the top and put on all my warmest gear for the decent and the race against the now diminishing sunlight. I made it to the city street before the dusk had completely set in.  

Heating up, Mount Hamilton

 The team was nearing the end of there training for Ironman Louisville, so I had one last special ride for them, a nice climb up Mount Hamilton. I had done the same climb myself on the Devil Mountain Double back in April and found it to be great climb. The out and back route I had planned started at on Mines Rd, near to entrance to Lake DeValle, with the round trip distance totaling just over 80 miles.

I knew Lousville was going to be hot and I wanted to prepare the team the best as I could. With a few exceptions I would say that most of our training rides rides had been fairly temperate. The forecast for the day had temperature peaking just under 90F and for a long exposed climb it was not going to be easy. I knew this ride would be the perfect challenge for the team. 

The climb to the top was indeed challenging, especially the last few miles. The good thing was I had a support stop organized for the top. One of the team would had recently completed Vineman was out to lend a hand (thanks Jeremiah). We all regroup at the top, this when the 'kind words' and 'appreciation'  for me creating the route of the day began :-) I knew then my job had been accomplished and it was time to head back down..

 Ride Details (Click here to view on Google Earth):
5hr 19mins
84.5 miles
7,183 feet of Climbing



Heart Rate:
138bpm Avg.
183bpm Max



15.9mph Avg.
35.7mph Max

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