Tag Archives: bicycle

New Years Day Mt Hamilton ride details (check road conditions before heading out, due to fire)

Late-breaking news- due to a large grass fire near Grant Ranch, the road up Mt Hamilton might be closed. You may be able to get up-to-date info here; if there’s a yellow triangle on the map, click on it for any reference to road issues. You should also check the Caltrans site here. If both make no reference to road closures, we should be ok. –Mike–

We’re doing the annual New Years Day Mt Hamilton ride a bit differently this year, getting off to a much later-than-normal start because we’re taking the train! Anyone interested in joining us, we’ll be on the #422 CalTrain (the earliest southbound train on the holiday schedule) which leaves Redwood City at 9:07 and arrives in San Jose at 9:51am. From there plan on a 40 minute ride to the base of Mt Hamilton, so 10:30 should see us ready to go.

CalTrain #422 stops EVERYWHERE so you can join us anyplace along the way. If you haven’t taken a bike on CalTrain before, you’ll be placing it on a rack that stacks up to three other bikes next to it. I doubt the train will have that many bikes, but if it does, the potential for getting a scratch of two does exist. Also, good idea to write your final destination on a piece of masking tape and attach it to the top tube. For me, that would mean writing “REDWOOD CITY <======> SAN JOSE”. That way, on the way back in particular, people know not to stack a bike in front of yours if you’re getting off first.

Tickets for CalTrain have to be purchased BEFORE boarding, so allow a few minutes before arriving at the train station. Machines do take credit cards, even for small amounts.

If we start up the hill at 10:30, faster riders will be at the top by 12, slower riders 12:45 or so. Plan on spending 30 minutes at the top if it’s a beautiful day (which it should be!) and bring a camera! Also, bring crisp dollar bills for the coke machine. It will not accept soggy bills, so put them into a baggie and seal it. The descent is very long and not as fast as you’d think, so plan on an hour and a half ride back to the station, maybe even a bit longer. Returning trains leave from San Jose Caltrain every hour, on the hour, except for an extra train tossed in at 5:35pm. If you leave the top at 1pm, you should be able to make the 3pm return train.

If interested,┬ásend an email to MikeJ@ChainReaction.com so I have some idea if anyone’s coming. Not that it matters if it’s just two of us or 10… this ride goes on, no matter what.

The weather is expected to be in the upper 60s in San Jose but we could see as low as mid-40s on the climb and descent, so I’d recommend leg warmers, a light base layer, regular gloves and another pair of full-fingered, and a lightweight jacket. Hopefully you won’t need the extra clothing, but if you do, you’ll be really glad you brought it.

One last thing. Bring whatever you need to eat because, aside from cokes, you’ll be nowhere near a place you can buy food for four hours! Don’t risk bonking. It’s a long climb and you’re going to burn up a lot of calories.

–Mike–

I could get used to this (not being last)

26:38, 26:17, 26:46. Those would be my times for my last three trips up Kings (the regular way, not through the park). And the week before I left for France, another 26-something.

Nice not being the last person up the hill anymore!

Nice not being the last person up the hill anymore!

The past 6 years, I’ve had at most 3 sub-27 times up Kings (each year), and almost never back-to-back. I’ve finally reversed the slow decline in my climbing times since 2006! But the faster guys on my ride… well, they just keep getting faster, and I don’t quite get that, since they’re getting older just as fast as I am. But at least I’m regaining a bit of┬álost ground.

There’s a stark contrast between this year and last; the 2012 Tour de France trip saw me completely collapse on both the Tourmalet and Peyresourde, climbs that should have been well within my capabilities to ride hard. This year, the climb I really wasn’t looking forward to, Ventoux, went very well. Alpe d’Huez, no problem. Back side of the Semnoz, again, no issue, felt good!

Kevin arrives a bit late to the party

Kevin arrives a bit late to the party

Nice not being the last person up the hill anymore!

It makes me wonder how much last year was affected by that mortality thing, knowing that I was getting close to the age where my father died. My improvement on the bike really did start immediately after passing that milestone. Strange, the way your mind can harass you. Jens says “Shut up, legs!” Guess I should be saying “Shut up, brain!”

Big group this morning, too many to get right but definitely had both Kevins, Mark E, Marcus, George, Keith, JR, Karen, Karl… at least one other I’m forgetting. Lots of trash talk from George, saying that he never sees me at the front heading down 84 towards West Old LaHonda. This is not true, or maybe it’s just on Thursdays (when George isn’t with us) that I’m at the front.

Hate it when this happens. I'm off the back on the final pull up West Old LaHonda.

Hate it when this happens. I’m off the back on the final pull up West Old LaHonda.

Or maybe I’m just sitting 3rd wheel most of the time. Whatever, I went to the front fairly hard and stayed there for a while, after which I got more grief from George because I was “in the drops” which he thinks I never do.

Pilot Kevin pointed out that he’s seen more before (in the drops). Clearly, to put George in his place, I’ve either got to get really strong, or George will have to suffer from something really debilitating, like owning a business. Neither is too likely to happen.