View Bohlman/On Orbit in a larger map
Today was supposed to be reasonably warm, so I got an early start heading over Kennedy to Los Gatos. Since this is part of my daily commute I'm always looking for new routes through here, so today I decided to follow Overlook Drive around. At least I thought Overlook Drive came back around to Route 9, but instead it just dead-ends. To get back to Route 9, without retracing all of Overlook Drive anyway, you take Lucky Drive. That's a one-lane road marked private, but it gets the job done.
After that it was time to start the morning's major climb. I took a left from Route 9 onto Oak Street, which turns into Bohlman at the cemetery.
The road climbs up toward the southwest, then eventually turns toward the southeast and gets distinctly more difficult. Partly that's because the grade really does increase, but also you can see more of the road rise ahead of you, without respite.
The morning was still reasonably cool, but the top of On Orbit Drive is exposed, and it must get awfully hot in the afternoon.
When people talk about climbs having a maximum gradient of something or other, I always wonder how they're measuring that. I suspect they're using a level, measuring a few meters at most. That's not especially meaningful to a cyclist -- if you can be past the spot in a couple of pedal strokes, it doesn't matter.
My analysis program breaks the ride into approximately 100 meter segments, plus or minus 10 meters as it tries to divide segments at grade changes. Even with that fairly rigorous standard, there were several segments near the top of On Orbit that registered over 15%. And 100 meters of 15% definitely matters.
After one of these extended 15%+ segments you get to the top of On Orbit, and your reward is a brief descent to meet up with Bohlman again. Then you continue climbing, but at moderate grades and with occasional flat sections in which to recover -- it's time to shift out of the granny gear. Five hundred feet of climbing remain, but the hard part is over.
|The end of the Bohlman/On Orbit climb|
|The old alignment of Highway 17, exposed in|
|Steps? A retaining wall?|
After tramping around a bit I carried my bike back out to the current alignment of Highway 17, survived the dusty, steep bit on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and headed home.
I mentioned earlier a slain dragon -- that was Bohlman. The archaeology was in Lexington. The compulsion? The story behind that is that this was actually the second time I've climbed Bohlman. The first time was last Sunday, and several of these photos are from that trip.
I felt like I needed to do it again because my Garmin 500, through some combination of hardware fault, software bug and/or user error, lost the track for that earlier ride. For me, not having a track for a ride -- particularly one that I've not done before -- has become a little like not having done it at all. Oh, who am I kidding? It's a lot like not having done it at all. I try to ensure that I ride only for enjoyment, so I don't focus on timing and (almost) never use Strava. But this bit of completism has been hard to stifle. It's a sickness, undoubtedly.