Climbing Hamilton my legs reminded me I’d ridden West Alpine yesterday!

A group of way-too-enthusiastic cyclists at the top of Hamilton today.
New Year’s Day, which means it’s time to climb Mount Hamilton again! Kind of a ritual, no, not kind of, but a serious ritual that I’ve done for a couple of decades at least. Don’t even remember the first time, just that the idea was started a very long time ago by a good customer, David Harvey. He’s still a good customer, but he’s long since given up on Hamilton, far as I know.

Just me, solo again, as Kevin wa with his girlfriend. Rode down to the train station, took it to San Jose and set off. Nice to have a bit of a warm up before hitting the hill; not so nice to deal with the endless number of stoplights along the way!!!

Beautiful morning to climb; started in the low-50s and warmed up to 64 near the top. Felt a bit overdressed but not too bad, and would rather be too warm than too cold! This was my first year up Hamilton that I didn’t see a single cyclist I recognized, although I’ll probably hear from a few that passed me in the other direction.

After yesterday’s ride up WEst Alpine I knew it wasn’t going to be fast or easy, but it really wasn’t that bad. I had a goal of under 1 hour 50 mintues, and made it with a couple minutes to spare.

Perhaps the hardest part about this ride is making it back to the train station in time. I had to push harder than need be because I thought the train left at 2, and I was hitting every stop light on the way back (in Downtown San Jose). Made it by 1:57, only to find the train didn’t leave until 2:38pm. Time enough to pick up some food and coffee from the train station cafĂ© even!

Last ride of the year- West Alpine with PR on flat lead-in

Last West Old LaHonda photo of 2017. Really. I promise!
I’d thought about doing the usual Sunday ride, the coastal loop featuring Pescadero and Tunitas, but with the annual ride up Mtn Hamilton the next day, thought it might not be such a great idea going that long. Obviously, if I just took it easy, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal, but that doesn’t seem how I roll.

It was a solo ride, giving me a bit more flexibility in how I approached things. I decided to do West Alpine, thinking for some reason it might be “fun.” And it was, because the segment popped up on my Garmin for the lower part of West Alpine, the flatter part, and in short order I was on target with my best time, flirting with a few seconds faster now & then, and just decided to go for it. If I blew up on the main climb from the effort on the flatter section, so what? I was solo, so nobody to see me fall apart!

As it was I didn’t fall apart, at least not completely. It wasn’t super-fast but it wasn’t super-slow either. The important thing is that, for the most part, I can still set out to accomplish what I want to, at least on a bike.