Since I had MLK day off again (for the second year in a row
!), I decided to get in a short second ride this weekend. I wanted to see how my body would react to a substantial climb just two days since the previous ride, and I wanted to check my form. So I took a quick ride to the closest hill near me: Mount Umunhum.
As usual I got moving at 9 AM. With the temperature near 40 F, I was wearing just about all the bike clothes I own. I slowly pedaled up Hicks Road, trying to generate some heat on the shaded road. I felt pretty good, and when I got to the hairpin turn on Hicks that marks the beginning of the climb, I settled in for a long slow climb.
Hicks climbs for just a mile, but it's quite steep. As you can see on the diagram below, it sustains a 13% grade most of the way up, with little respite until it nears the junction with Umunhum Road.
|San Jose from Mount Umunhum Road|
Mount Umunhum Road takes up where Hicks left off, with unrelenting 10% pitches climbing away from the junction. But after that difficult start, it gradually eases as it approaches the gate mid-way up the climb. After the gate, however, there's a steep section of a few hundred yards with a grade above 12%. But by now you're used to it, so it's not so bad.
|The weather dome, observation stand and|
monolith on Mount Umunhum
Although there were some cars at the gate, I hadn't seen a soul on the whole climb. And that includes rangers. Nonetheless, at the signs announcing the end of the preserve I dutifully stopped and turned around. The MROSD has announced an intention to be more strict about keeping the open area near Umunhum closed (temporarily, during the permanent construction period), and I didn't feel the need to test their resolve today.
I may be imagining this, but on the descent the road surface seemed substantially worse than it has been in years past. In many sections I was having trouble finding a smooth line at all, and had to keep my speed down. And needless to say, the descent was awfully cold.
I descended the south side of Hicks to Almaden Reservoir. At one point I was thinking of taking McKean Road south for a bit to extend the ride, but my mission was accomplished and I decided I could be useful around the house. So I just headed back home on Almaden Expressway.
I noticed no effect from my ride on Saturday -- no lingering soreness or lack of energy. So that's good. I got up Umunhum without drama, albeit very slowly. So that's good too. After all, it's a 4.5 mile climb that averages 9.5%, so it's a substantial climb. Today's ride was just 23 miles with 2680 feet of climbing, which is short but points out how lucky I am to live so close to a great hill. And, after all, today was just a bonus anyway.
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