Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mount Hamilton

I feel like I should always arrange a bike ride up Mount Hamilton in the springtime. So today, I did that.

View Mount Hamilton in a larger map

Like just about every other time I've climbed Mount Hamilton recently, I thought that perhaps this time I'd continue through to Livermore for a 100-mile ride. And like every other recent time, that didn't happen. This time it wasn't even close.

The briefly green Joseph D. Grant County Park
I got a good early-ish start, which would have been earlier except that the Paris-Roubaix race literally came down to the wire so I couldn't leave early (and I'm certainly glad I didn't). On the lower slopes I felt pretty good. The farms near Clayton Road were a lush green under cloudy skies, and Grant Park was showing off similarly. It hasn't been a very wet spring, so it was a little surprising that it looked so vibrant.

On the second climb, it became clear to me that I wasn't going to Livermore today.
The Reverend Hamilton
I haven't put in many miles recently, and other silly sports have left me sore. And I'm generally out of shape, but there might have been a little more to it, like maybe coming down with something mild. I shouldn't be this sore, for example.

I struggled up the mountain, and reached the windy top just as clouds were beginning to hide the sun. After an invigorating juice drink (or two) I had a pack of peanut M&Ms (or two) and headed back to the car.

On the way down it was shortly after noon, and while the sun wasn't bright it had shone earlier. The flowers, therefore, were on display in their yellows, blues, purples and especially the oranges of the California Poppy. That was gratifying, because one of the pleasures of riding behind Mount Hamilton is seeing the exuberant wildflower displays. Or so I hear; I haven't managed to get back there during the spring. And I suspect I've missed my chance this year., too.

Elevation profile
Today was just short of 45 miles, with 4900 feet of climbing. The most difficult kilometer was very near the top, with a grade of 6.2%, whereas the third hill as a whole has an average grade of 5.9%. It's very consistent. I was certainly struggling near the top, so I'm glad the computer also found it slightly more difficult.