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Old 08-14-07, 05:42 PM   #1
ROJA
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The BIG THREE! Compare them here (Hamilton, Diablo, Tamalpais)...

I've ridden the devil and tam, but never the "wonder down under" or the "San Jose Hoser" or whatever name you want to give the evil peak that watches the southern region of our lovely Bay Area.

Who has done all three and wants to compare them. I think Tam is easier than Diablo, but has some steeper stretches. What do you BiFos think?
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Old 08-14-07, 07:17 PM   #2
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I've done all 3. None of them is hard. Tam is the easiest because of the shorter length. At 2600 feet, Mt. Tam is only slightly taller than popular peninsula climbs like Tunitas Creek or Kings Mountain or Page Mill Road.

Diablo is a little steeper than Hamilton, but Hamilton is 20 miles of climbing, which can wear you out if you don't pace yourself.

I assume you're talking about the San Jose side of Mt. Hamilton. The back side is steeper, but with substantially less elevation gain since it does not go down to sea level. You can do both sides for a good workout.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:28 PM   #3
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I've done all 3. None of them is hard. Tam is the easiest because of the shorter length. At 2600 feet, Mt. Tam is only slightly taller than popular peninsula climbs like Tunitas Creek or Kings Mountain or Page Mill Road.
I can't wait until I feel that way about climbing Diablo.
I'll go on record a say that the last 200 yards of Diablo is Hard.
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Old 08-14-07, 08:21 PM   #4
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I subscribe to the opinion that Hamilton is the most difficult of the three.
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Old 08-14-07, 08:23 PM   #5
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I subscribe to the opinion that Hamilton is the most difficult of the three.
Especially on a 90+ deg day...
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Old 08-14-07, 10:03 PM   #6
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I've done all 3. None of them is hard...The back side is steeper, but with substantially less elevation gain since it does not go down to sea level. You can do both sides for a good workout.
I would agree with the fact that none of them are terribly hard. However, the Backside of Hamilton is a hill that never ends. Especially if you came all the way from Livermore. I thought front side is a lot easier than Diablo by far. Doing a "Double Dip" on Hamilton is a great workout.

This summer while training for Death Ride, I did all three of these in a seven day period. My personal "trifecta".
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Old 08-14-07, 11:01 PM   #7
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I've done all 3. None of them is hard.
Oh, I must have been riding somewhere else!

I've also done all 3 - Mt. Tam from Fairfax and from the ocean, Mt. D. from both north and south gates and Mt. Hamilton, but just from the Livermore side. I'm not a great or fast climber, so all of these climbs seem really long. I've ridden Mt. D. enough to know where to push a bit and where to recover (not that I've gotten any faster!). It is a bit harder from the North Gate, but it's not a huge difference. Of course, that last section can be a killer.

Mt. Tam from Fairfax is a really good climb, especially the section from the dam up to Ridgecrest. The 7 sisters always kill me. I think getting up to Ridgecrest is easier from the ocean side - it's one longish, but not too steep, climb. From Fairfax, you climb up to the golf course, then go down to the dam then back up again (and that's the steep section, although it is not very long). The 7 sisters can be tough - a set of rolling hills (are there really only 7? it always seems like more) that are actually on an underlying 3-4% grade - so the downhill sections really don't give you as much momentum as you might think. The last section up to the summit is a nice ride, but really not that tough.

Mt. Hamilton does seem endless - once you settle into the climb, it just seems like you don't get a break - no flat sections to recover on. I think Mt. Hamilton is the hardest, but that may be because I had to go 40 miles or so on Mines Road just to get there! The average grade is also a bit steeper than Mt. D. One of these days, I'll get around to riding up from San Jose.

Even though they're technically not mountains, and are not as long as the 3 mountains, there are some climbs around that I think are tougher. Sierra Road in Milpitas comes to mind, as does Redwood Gulch and Jamison Creek down near Big Basin. I weigh close to 200 pounds, so steep hurts worse than a long, but more gradual, climb.

JB

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Old 08-14-07, 11:23 PM   #8
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Mt. Hamilton (from San Jose) isn't too hard if it's not too hot and you can get into a good rhythm. I've climbed it when it was over 100 degrees and it wasn't much fun. The descent is terrible- too many holes, bumps, and piles of gravel. The few short repaved sections are just a tease. Oh, and watch out for turkeys. Almost hit one yesterday.

Diablo is a bit steeper (and the last 200 yards are just nuts), but a lot shorter. It seems to get more auto traffic, especially on the weekends. It's fun to descend. I climbed it three times in a day when I was training for the 2005 CA Death Ride. The last 200 yards on the third ascent hurt bad. Fortunately, I had friends at the top shouting encouragement.

Mt. Tam is still on the to-do list...
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Old 08-14-07, 11:57 PM   #9
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I thought the last 4 miles to the summit of Mt Tam was boring, relative to Diablo. Also, there was a lot of loose gravel up there, and a TON more traffic than on Diablo. But both are strenuous rides for me

I haven't done Hamilton yet, but I liked Diablo a lot better than climbing Tam, especially now with the new blacktop up top.
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Old 08-15-07, 12:34 AM   #10
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I've done Diablo and Hamilton but not Tam. I think Diablo is harder since there's not too many areas to recover unlike Mt. Ham where the road was designed with a lot of flat switchbacks where the mules can rest during the construction of the observatory.
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Old 08-15-07, 08:05 AM   #11
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Great thread, thanks for the insight. It's cool that each of these mountains has different approaches, which makes for a number of different rides. I'll have to try Hamilton and the North Gate of Diablo one of these days.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:17 AM   #12
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ACTC has a nice profile viewer that will let you graph the grades. Click here to view it.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:22 AM   #13
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No love for Quimby Road shortcut to Mt. Hamilton?
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Old 08-15-07, 11:01 AM   #14
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No love for Quimby Road shortcut to Mt. Hamilton?
Haven't tried that one. What's it like?
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Old 08-15-07, 11:09 AM   #15
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Haven't tried that one. What's it like?
Twice as steep as the long route.
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Old 08-15-07, 12:50 PM   #16
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From the Ca. Triple Crown website, here's some climb profiles (I couldn't find one for Mt. Tam; Mt. D is from South Gate and Mt. Hamilton is the approach from Livermore, with the last San Antonio Valley Rd. climb included at the beginning of the graph):

Mt. Diablo:
http://www.caltriplecrown.com/images/DM03Diablo.jpg

Mt. Hamilton:
http://www.caltriplecrown.com/images/DM03Hamilton.jpg

JB
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Old 08-15-07, 01:27 PM   #17
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Mt Hamilton's east side is very different from the west side. The west side slopes are about 5.5 to 6%; the east side is 8.5% average and has parts over 10%.
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Old 08-15-07, 01:42 PM   #18
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From the Ca. Triple Crown website, here's some climb profiles (I couldn't find one for Mt. Tam;
Here's my Garmin trace for the Mt Tam elevation profile:

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Old 08-15-07, 02:34 PM   #19
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Mt. Diablo Profile - both sides.

Red X ?? Click HERE


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Old 08-15-07, 05:03 PM   #20
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While we are on the subject, what is the distance of the Diablo climb (as per the Mt. Diablo Challenge)? The organizers say it is 10.8 miles, but the Motion Based results very considerably.


http://www.savemountdiablo.org/Mount...Mount%20Diablo

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/n...digest/view.mb
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Old 08-15-07, 05:47 PM   #21
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While we are on the subject, what is the distance of the Diablo climb (as per the Mt. Diablo Challenge)? The organizers say it is 10.8 miles, but the Motion Based results very considerably.
10.8 miles is right - from The Athenian School parking lot at the base of Southgate Road. That is where The Diablo Challenge starts.
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