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  1. #1
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    In your face, Palomares!

    Today the ride took my own chubby self (5'10" 218lbs) from walnut creek to the top of Palomares road and back. This, for me, is a milestone achievement, so I must 'brag'. Quotes intentional, because I know normal cyclists can do it 3x and hardly notice. Clearly I'm not at that point yet.
    So for now, I'm very glad I made it up that very steep, seemingly endless incline that was spewed forth from the bowels of cycling hell. It was a great ride, weather was fantastic for January and although I can't say I was fast... or that I resembled a human once I got to the top, Palomares is in the bag.

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    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Palomares means "pigeon houses", also a city in Spain. Bravo.

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    VNA
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    Congratulations--keep doing it and it will become easier--it is a great feeling that is why we ride.
    Indeed it was a nice day, so much warmer, rode up Pinehurst to Skyline/Chabot Observatory and down Redwood back to Lafayette.
    Lots of standing water, the creeks were really going with some mud and rock slides that is a nice change.

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    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    Great job, nice report too.
    I could feel your enthusiasm and joy at the accomplishment.
    Palomares is a real nice road, I am overdue for a visit.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    In Ascensu Est Verum

  5. #5
    VNA
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    Palomares means "pigeon houses", also a city in Spain. Bravo.
    Interesting it is way South right across from the border of Morocco and Algeria according to the map.
    Also in spanish as in french there is a "dedicated" word for a pigeon house: "pigeonnier" and actually there is a second one: "colombier" but I am not aware of any town in France with such a name!
    At least I will go to sleep a little less dumb compared to this morning!
    Sorry just rattling on--too good of a ride today and its effect!

  6. #6
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    Thank you guys. Ironically I forgot to mention the best part. I finally found a saddle! Made it to the end of the ride without any sit bone pain, then realized (for once!) my butt was not at the forefront of my consciousness during the ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by VNA View Post
    Congratulations--keep doing it and it will become easier--it is a great feeling that is why we ride.
    Indeed it was a nice day, so much warmer, rode up Pinehurst to Skyline/Chabot Observatory and down Redwood back to Lafayette.
    Lots of standing water, the creeks were really going with some mud and rock slides that is a nice change.
    Hehehe. I wanted to do part of that ride from Castro Valley up to Skyline and Chabot observatory. It's really a beautiful area. The view from skyline is amazing and I'll never get over how much wilderness there is in the Bay Area... But I decided to drive it first, then quickly decided I wasn't ready to bike it yet! Maybe in 25lbs

    I also noticed my ears were warm for a change... And a lot more water in creeks. On the descent we stopped to clear some 10+ large boulders that were completely blocking the road. Drive and bike carefully. Lot of loose gravel near the shoulder as well :/
    Last edited by slimyfrog; 01-18-16 at 10:46 PM.

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Way to go on making it up Palomares. And don't put yourself down - it is not Alpe d'Huez, but it ain't easy, either. You made it, and you enjoyed it, and that is all that really matters.

    Next, arrange to go up the south side - a much prettier climb. Doing it as a clockwise loop from either of the Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations is a great time on the bike.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  8. #8
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
    Next, arrange to go up the south side - a much prettier climb. Doing it as a clockwise loop from either of the Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations is a great time on the bike.
    I'm apprehensive of cycling in Niles Canyon road traffic. I suppose I could use the south-side descent to recover, do a U turn, (maybe take a 4 hours nap) and start a south side climb.

  9. #9
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimyfrog View Post
    I'm apprehensive of cycling in Niles Canyon road traffic. I suppose I could use the south-side descent to recover, do a U turn, (maybe take a 4 hours nap) and start a south side climb.
    You are wise to be apprehensive of Niles Canyon, it is what I like to call "not fun." I rarely do it, so far I have only done it when I pretty much had to in order to do a group or organized ride. I don't find it overly dangerous, but a little nerve wracking, and just "not fun."

    Keep climbing, and you will find that eventually, descending to the south side and turning around isn't that big a deal (although for me, never to the point where it is a walk in the park). There was a day when I could not get to the top of Palomares, there was a day when it would have taken everything I had to get to the top of Palomares, but now, while still a deal, not a big deal to go up the north side, down the south, and back the other way. Of course, it helped when I got really low gearing, and most people crazy enough to be cycling on Palomares will still blow by me.

    Whether "normal" cyclists can do Palomares 3x and hardly notice depends on your definition of "normal." If "normal" means hardcore cyclists who spend a lot of time on the bike and climb a lot of hills, then maybe you are right, but I wouldn't use that group for my definition of "normal." Heck, I spend a lot of time on the bike and climb a lot of hills, and if I did Palomares 3x, I would definitely notice. I could do it, but I would notice. If you are to the point where you can go from Walnut Creek to the top of Palomares and back, then I am afraid that you may have already arrived where most of us here are -- beyond "normal." Non-cyclists certainly will think a ride like Walnut Creek to the top of Palomares and back is really hard core and not normal, so you should be very happy with that accomplishment. You can always shoot for more because there are a lot of rides out there that are fun and beautiful, and shooting for more can give you more incentive to get a lighter bike engine. If you keep going, you may make yourself amazed at the day when that ride was a big deal for you, but you absolutely want to relish the milestones!

  10. #10
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Palomares has a tough profile.

    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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    Congratulations on your accomplishment and thanks for sharing the story!

    Is that a "popular" route/segment? Would that climb happen to be a named segment on Strava (anyone know this?) I have a riding buddy who lives out there, and maybe we'll try it one of these days.

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimyfrog View Post
    I'm apprehensive of cycling in Niles Canyon road traffic. I suppose I could use the south-side descent to recover, do a U turn, (maybe take a 4 hours nap) and start a south side climb.
    I agree that riding on Niles Canyon on a weekday, especially during commute hours, is a truly bad idea. On a weekend morning, I have no problem doing it from Sunol to the foot of Palomares. I agree with blt that it is not the most fun road in the world (parts of it are very pretty, but the high-speed traffic is annoying), and it certainly is not the highlight of the ride, but for five or six miles, it is worth it to me to get to Palomares, which is a wonderful road.

    Another option is to take BART to the Fremont station and ride out to Palomares from the west end of Niles Canyon. The distance on Niles is shorter (albeit slightly uphill west to east as opposed to slightly downhill from Sunol) and there is a more consistent shoulder out to Palomares. Then you either ride all the way home or hope on BART again (Castro Valley or West Dublin/Pleasanton, as you prefer) to get home.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    Palomares has a tough profile.

    Oh, so that's why Mile 1.5 to Mile 2 always feels so hard.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  14. #14
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    Palomares has a tough profile.

    That's awesome. Thank you so much for posting this. I was wondering how it compared to my ultimate goal and nemesis. What do you use to generate these charts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren128 View Post
    Congratulations on your accomplishment and thanks for sharing the story!

    Is that a "popular" route/segment? Would that climb happen to be a named segment on Strava (anyone know this?) I have a riding buddy who lives out there, and maybe we'll try it one of these days.
    Thank you. I'd say it's a known climb in the area. On my strava the full climb is called "palomares full climb" and it splits into three major segments:"Palomares near top", "Last stretch to goats", "The pain of palomares". There might be more hidden segments I didn't browse for...

    And thank you @blt I will definitely keep climbing. I love the challenge and I do love seeing myself get better on Strava over time. Sometimes though I find it difficult to feel too great about accomplishing something when a lot of other people are doing it at 5x my speed It's a hefty dose of humble sauce!
    Last edited by slimyfrog; 01-23-16 at 05:59 AM.

  15. #15
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Isn't that mile 185 of the Devil Mountain Double? I remember riding up it at at 10:30 at night hearing frogs and having a deer bounce across my path and being pretty sure I was going to die, or at least never ride a bicycle again.

    I think I saw a winery, but I never went back to check. Can you make wine out of tears and lactic acid?
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    Isn't that mile 185 of the Devil Mountain Double? I remember riding up it at at 10:30 at night hearing frogs and having a deer bounce across my path and being pretty sure I was going to die, or at least never ride a bicycle again.

    I think I saw a winery, but I never went back to check. Can you make wine out of tears and lactic acid?
    Reading about DMD it sounds like it's the south side climb. I did north side and I didn't cry, but a 1/4 mile from the top I was kind of hoping a mountain lion would eat me.

  17. #17
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimyfrog View Post
    . . .Sometimes though I find it difficult to feel too great about accomplishing something when a lot of other people are doing it at 5x my speed It's a hefty dose of humble sauce!
    When you are feeling humbled by the fact that so many people on nasty roads like Palomares are so much faster than you, that you never pass anyone there, everyone you see is passing you, and you want something to make you feel a little better, remember 2 things.

    1) What you are doing is at least as hard, if not harder, than what those blowing by you are doing. While you may not be in as good physical condition as they are, your mental toughness is at least as great as that of anyone else out there. Those blowing by you may be faster, but they are likely having an easier time of it, your mental toughness is as great as that of anyone out there, greater than many. There are cyclists in better shape than you are who don’t want to ride Palomares because it is too tough.

    2) There are plenty of cyclists out there that you might keep pace with, or even pass, but they don't want to take the challenge of riding a road like Palomares or any of the other nasty climbs around the Bay Area (except maybe Diablo, it is "sexy" enough that more people are willing to endure suffering to try to make it to the top). On a nasty climb, you don't see any cyclists in worse shape than you, because none of them are willing to endure what it takes to ride those roads. If there are those out there riding slow like you (for instance, if I'm on the road the same day as you), you won't likely see them, even if you are riding 0.25 mph faster then me, the odds of us being close enough together for you to pass me when you're only gaining about 22 feet per minute are really slim, but most who are as slow or slower than you just can't handle that climb.

    It is always good to stay humble, but you should also feel good about your accomplishments.

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    Isn't that mile 185 of the Devil Mountain Double? I remember riding up it at at 10:30 at night hearing frogs and having a deer bounce across my path and being pretty sure I was going to die, or at least never ride a bicycle again.

    I think I saw a winery, but I never went back to check. Can you make wine out of tears and lactic acid?
    You're wrong, Curtis. You didn't see a winery. You saw, or should have seen, two wineries. And I don't think you can make wine out of tears and lactic acid, but I would not be surprised to find out that shlivovitz is made out of that. (Shlivovitz is the national rot-gut of my ancestral stomping grounds of Croatia. They claim it is a plum brandy. It tastes more like, well, tears and lactic acid, with turpentine thrown in for extra flavor. It will get you drunk and make you regret every second of it.)

    Quote Originally Posted by slimyfrog View Post
    Reading about DMD it sounds like it's the south side climb. I did north side and I didn't cry, but a 1/4 mile from the top I was kind of hoping a mountain lion would eat me.
    Yup, the DMD goes up the south side of Palomares. That isn't even the final insult of that ride. After Palomares and the ride into Castro Valley, the sadists that run that ride make you go over Norris Canyon Road to get back to the San Ramon start/finish. Just a little bit of "was that really necessary" to close out an otherwise torturous event.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  19. #19
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blt View Post
    except maybe Diablo, it is "sexy" enough that more people are willing to endure suffering to try to make it to the top
    Quoted for Truth.

    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  20. #20
    Senior Member slimyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blt View Post
    When you are feeling humbled by the fact that so many people on nasty roads like Palomares are so much faster than you, that you never pass anyone there, everyone you see is passing you, and you want something to make you feel a little better, remember 2 things.

    1) What you are doing is at least as hard, if not harder, than what those blowing by you are doing. While you may not be in as good physical condition as they are, your mental toughness is at least as great as that of anyone else out there. Those blowing by you may be faster, but they are likely having an easier time of it, your mental toughness is as great as that of anyone out there, greater than many. There are cyclists in better shape than you are who don’t want to ride Palomares because it is too tough.

    2) There are plenty of cyclists out there that you might keep pace with, or even pass, but they don't want to take the challenge of riding a road like Palomares or any of the other nasty climbs around the Bay Area (except maybe Diablo, it is "sexy" enough that more people are willing to endure suffering to try to make it to the top). On a nasty climb, you don't see any cyclists in worse shape than you, because none of them are willing to endure what it takes to ride those roads. If there are those out there riding slow like you (for instance, if I'm on the road the same day as you), you won't likely see them, even if you are riding 0.25 mph faster then me, the odds of us being close enough together for you to pass me when you're only gaining about 22 feet per minute are really slim, but most who are as slow or slower than you just can't handle that climb.

    It is always good to stay humble, but you should also feel good about your accomplishments.
    Thank you. You make some good points. That really helped. I'll try to keep things in perspective and I assure you I will keep climbing I'm absolutely hooked. Cycling is all about the challenge for me. At the same time, I completely understand people that avoid hills because I used to feel the same way. In April I reconnected with an old friend, after 15 years drifting, and he showed me a whole new side of cycling. He's the one responsible for getting me hooked to hill climbing. I intend to make a lot of deposits at the suffer-bank in the coming years

    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    Quoted for Truth.

    That does look great. Ah... bay area is excellent on a bike. I can't wait to try Diablo... Soon.... Soon...
    Last edited by slimyfrog; 01-25-16 at 09:33 PM. Reason: got a little too quote-happy

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