Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Every year, I ride Mt. Hamilton on or around my birthday.  The year, the weather was gorgeous and I had plenty of time, so I drove over to the hill after breakfast and headed up.

Very slow to warm up.

Total and utter lack of motivation.

Really didn't feel like doing it that morning.  

Just rode up it last month.

Booooooring.  Crave variety.

As a result, after the first thousand or so feet of climbing, I made a right turn on Quimby and started exploring.  Despite the fact that this section of road climbed a little more, and more steeply than I had previously been doing, the bicycle ennui disappeared and everything immediately felt better.  Yay.

Of course, following this route meant I had to navigate without a map, ride some roads I had never been on, and ride some others in the opposite direction than I had previously done.  How fun!

But, yikes,  the steep part of Quimby looked like it would pitch me off the edge of the world.  I can't believe they are going to *race* down this on the Tour of California next month.  Some of the twisty switchbacks have an 18% grade, and despite the fact that the pavement looks ok to the eye, it actually has some weird undulating ripples to it that pitch you around.  Still, the views are pretty good :)
And yes, of course I've ridden *up* this before, just never down it.

After plummeting back down into San Jose, I turned south onto San Felipe Road, and discovered a gentle, rural, shady green climb that I had never climbed before.  Aside from a few suspicious cows at my snack stop, I didn't see much of anyone for miles.

San Felipe runs into the top of Metcalf Road, which was still covered in wildflowers despite the fact that many of the other hills are starting to turn brown.  I must have hit something weird on the phone with my sweaty fingers, resulting in a funny "old photo" effect being applied -- somehow appropriate to the atmosphere of this very rural, gorgeous section of road.
Another steep descent back into civilization, and then a bike trail along Coyote Creek, followed by some minor navigational challenges due to my lack of map, and I made it back to the starting point having covered more miles and gained more elevation than would have happened doing the normal Hamilton climb.  A most entertaining morning! (Happy Birthday to Me)

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