Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mount Hamilton

Yesterday I rode up Mount Hamilton, the first time I had done so since March, when the grass was green and there was still snow on the ground on the peak.

View Mount Hamilton in a larger map

The day was cloudless and cool, and the parking area at Alum Rock was more crowded than I've ever seen it. We got started at about 9 AM, just as a large group was setting off. Riding among that group was enjoyable, both for the conversation as well as the confirmation that I wasn't the slowest climber on the mountain. Wise riders climb at their own pace, so the bunch quickly strung out and before we got to  the Grandview restaurant we were alone again.

I was riding with a significantly stronger rider, so I had the odd experience of feeling slow because I was holding him up, while knowing that I was keeping up a darned good pace by my own standards.

A lone tarantula on Mount Hamilton Road

On the climb out of Grant Park I spotted a tarantula walking along the road. We stopped to get some pictures, and kept a few fellow riders from accidentally running it over while we did so. Luckily no cars were coming. I've heard of (but never seen) mass Tarantula migrations on the mountains around here, but this one was by itself.

Like Route 9 a couple of weeks ago, Mount Hamilton Road just goes on and on. I kept a steady (but quite slow) pace. I had to stop a couple of times to calm my heart, but not as many as on previous trips. Sometimes toward the end of long climbs I'm completely drained, and every little ramp looks impossible. I didn't get to that point on this ride, although I was happy to reach the parking lot at the observatory.

Elevation profile of Mount Hamilton.
See a note about data for details.
The climb for an up-and-back trip should be about 4800 feet. There's a 3800 foot difference between Alum Rock and the peak, and then there's 500 extra feet of climbing on the way up, and the same on the way down. My little algorithm only gave me 4500 feet, so I have some tinkering to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment