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Old 01-15-09, 01:14 PM   #1
Bacana
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First time up San Bruno Mountain. 46 MPH on the way down!

I was trying to compare my times with the race times I saw posted, but I think I went up the wrong side of the hill. I started at Orange St and climbed up to the towers. Total time was just about 30". Wasn't all that easy, but it was entirely doable, and I was able to function for the rest of the day. I like the way the ride goes--the easy slope up the hill is a nice warm-up for the steeper grades nearer the top.

At the end, I was too tired to stand and mash, so I sat and mashed. I have a 34/25, which for me doesn't allow me to spin. But I didn't zigzag or anything like that (too dangerous).

But man, coming down--whoa! I hit 46 MPH, just coasting! The bike felt smooth and solid, but man, I just kept thinking, What if I went down at this speed?? And I hit the brakes, slowing to a more reasonable 30 to 35 MPH, which would still do some serious damage.

I'm mostly posting for two reasons--first, nobody at work seemed to care. Is this normal? Second, just to get to know you folks better; I've actually met a couple of you in person sorta by accident (buying stuff offa Craigslist), which is really cool. Both people mentioned Pete!

Last edited by Bacana; 01-15-09 at 01:36 PM. Reason: Typo! Grrrr...
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Old 01-15-09, 01:29 PM   #2
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Hrm. Now I wana ride up San Bruno Mountain.
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Old 01-15-09, 02:50 PM   #3
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Hey Erin,
Good to see you try the climb. I've gone up san Bruno quite a few times coming from the
Mission street side. Worst part descending I've found is when the wind really starts to kick
up. Kind of scary when you're getting buffeted side to side. Really nice meeting you.
-John
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Old 01-15-09, 03:03 PM   #4
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Hi Bacana - congrats, it's a nice workout climbing up Radio Road. You're right, to replicate the race route you need to start from the other side of the hill at the corner of North Hill, by Intermune. Where did you hit your max speed? I find it very easy to hit 40 going down Radio Road, but am wary of the last turn before you come to the little grove of trees as the road surface is so poor I could easily imagine having a bad experience. The "second" descent down Guadalupe Canyon is also pretty fast, but the road surface is much better.

PS - yeah, you probably need to talk to fellow cyclists to elicit anything more than a "you're crazy" kind of response.
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Old 01-15-09, 03:17 PM   #5
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Hello again, John! Yep, nice to talk to you, too.

Beaker, I was rolling down Guadalupe Canyon Road going west (towards the BART station, if I'm not mistaken) when I hit 46. The pavement is nice there. I could've gone faster, but I was getting freaked out. I wasn't pedaling or anything, so it's not like it had anything to do with me. That's the fastest I've ever gone, by the way.

I'll try the other side of the hill next time, hopefully next week.
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Old 01-15-09, 03:47 PM   #6
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Do you guys stay on the shoulder when descending guadalupe canyon? I can't recall what I did when I was younger cruising down guadalupe, wasn't such a nervous nelly back then. After I ride San Bruno Mt. I head through the park on the MUP and down crocker ave.
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Old 01-15-09, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacana View Post
Hello again, John! Yep, nice to talk to you, too.

Beaker, I was rolling down Guadalupe Canyon Road going west (towards the BART station, if I'm not mistaken) when I hit 46. The pavement is nice there. I could've gone faster, but I was getting freaked out. I wasn't pedaling or anything, so it's not like it had anything to do with me. That's the fastest I've ever gone, by the way.

I'll try the other side of the hill next time, hopefully next week.
46 is pretty fast for that little stretch without pedalling. Did you have a tail wind?
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Old 01-15-09, 03:51 PM   #8
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I really need to get my phat @ss up there one day. Especially since I live in Daly City!! The thought of hitting those speeds makes it sound fun!

BTW, Pete is pretty famous around these parts. (and infamous around others...!) hehe! j/k!
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Old 01-15-09, 03:57 PM   #9
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Do you guys stay on the shoulder when descending guadalupe canyon?
I usually ride on the shoulder of roads; I don't want to get hit.

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46 is pretty fast for that little stretch without pedalling. Did you have a tail wind?
Hmm... Good question. I guess I did. I remember climbing with a headwind and thinking that was funny. So yes, I guess I had a tailwind coming down. I was pedaling to get up to about 20 or 25, but after that, gravity did all the work.

I was riding a Giant TCR C1 with Neuvation M28 wheels, if anybody's curious.
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Old 01-15-09, 04:26 PM   #10
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That was one of the first real descents I ever did on a road bike.

Very fun, very fast, very close to scary




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After I ride San Bruno Mt. I head through the park on the MUP and down crocker ave.
Can you clarify that a little? Where is this MUP (I'm not super familiar with that part of the city...).
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Old 01-15-09, 07:58 PM   #11
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After you descend Radio Rd. and go through the underpass, take a right into the Parking lot for the picnic area. From there take Old Guadalupe Trail which leads to crocker ave. Most would prefer descending Guadalupe Canyon but it's the quickest way home for me.
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Old 01-15-09, 08:32 PM   #12
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Hello again, John! Yep, nice to talk to you, too.

Beaker, I was rolling down Guadalupe Canyon Road going west (towards the BART station, if I'm not mistaken) when I hit 46. The pavement is nice there. I could've gone faster, but I was getting freaked out. I wasn't pedaling or anything, so it's not like it had anything to do with me. That's the fastest I've ever gone, by the way.

I'll try the other side of the hill next time, hopefully next week.
Is that the downhill stretch just after you leave the park and before you turn left and head past the school? If so, that's pretty impressive! Whenever I had that way I'm battling a headwind.
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Old 01-16-09, 08:19 PM   #13
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Is that the downhill stretch just after you leave the park and before you turn left and head past the school? If so, that's pretty impressive! Whenever I had that way I'm battling a headwind.
Hi, Beaker. Well, I turned right coming out of the park and headed down the big hill (Guadalupe Canyon Rd, I believe). It was a pretty gradual descent as I built up speed. I'd estimate I was about halfway down when I hit my top speed. I don't recall a headwind. It felt really cool to go that fast. I was tucked in as aerodynamic as I could get.
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Old 01-16-09, 09:57 PM   #14
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nobody at work seemed to care.
Isn't that weird? At least my coworkers are nice enough to fake like they care for the first few minutes.

But, gosh darn it, we care here!

Well done, rock on.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:57 PM   #15
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Thanks for the encouragement, everybody. Means a lot.

Just did it again today, using the race route. For whatever reason, that was a bit harder. I was pushing myself harder this time, and I was making good time. I was beating my first time by a minute, and remember, the race route is a bit longer than the way I took the first time.

But from the entrance of the park to the top took me longer; that final stretch was pretty tough. HR was up to about 170-something. I guess I tired myself out. Oh well. Numbers: Just under 31" to the top. Average heart rate was 161. Max speed down this time was about 35 MPH. It's harder to get good speeds on that side of the hill, I think. And when the pavement turns to the newish black asphalt, it's too rough to go that fast.

Oh, I think I need to recalibrate my computer/HRM (a Polar cs200). I put new wheels on the bike about a month ago, and forgot to measure. Yeah, I've read here on BF that cycling computers aren't know to be as accurate as GPS units. Anyway, my computer showed 3.5 miles; I understand the race route is 3.2 miles. This would mean that my initial descent at 46 MPH was probably closer to 41 MPH.

Is there a place to park? I parked in one of the lots there, but felt nervous about doing so. (Yes, I drove there. )
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Old 01-19-09, 07:57 PM   #16
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Well, now... I've ridden up the west side of Guadalupe Cyn a few times... gone down both east and west sides. Fun either way and well worth the ride up.
Tried going up Radio Road with a 30/30... gave up.
Too rich for my tired, old blood, I must say.
Still, I started up at too fast a pace.
I might try again a little more sanely.
Don't have that 30/30 anymore, though. Hm.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:03 PM   #17
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My computer and Garmin unit always measured about 3.5 miles so your may still be within the ballpark. Did you change tire sizes when you changed wheelsets? If not, the computer doesn't need to be recalibrated.
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Old 01-19-09, 08:09 PM   #18
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Forgot to mention--my time to the entrance was 14". It blows me away to think that some people could get to the top in that time.

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My computer and Garmin unit always measured about 3.5 miles so your may still be within the ballpark. Did you change tire sizes when you changed wheelsets?
Good to know. Nope, same size tires--700x23. Interesting.

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Tried going up Radio Road with a 30/30... gave up.
Ah, cool! Thanks for bringing that up. I meant to ask what gearing people used or had tried. It just seems like people make fun of compact cranks, but man, I wouldn't make it with 38 or thereabouts.
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Old 01-19-09, 10:02 PM   #19
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Here's my two cents, after a year of riding this route FWIW - I don't consider myself very fast, but not very slow either.

I found that first off I needed to work out what gearing to use to pace myself. It's easy to go too hard at the very start of the climb and quickly find out that you're shifting down and losing momentum - don't worry about the time so much, just pacing. Once I'd worked out what gearing worked for me for different parts of the climb, how to keep my HR and breathing under control (no HRM though...) I worked on trying to push bigger gears, and find places to push harder.

For me I always like to be aware of what gears I'm using and try to log what I've used on my rides each time. I find it helps me relate other climbs to the amount of effort I'm putting in, along with my cadence.
FWIW, I rode with a triple for most of last year, and pretty much had to go with 30x27 the first couple of times I reached that hairpin on RR. Towards the end of the year I kept in my 39 the whole way and made it up RR in a 39x21 a couple of times without incident. It's very personal though. Honestly, you should take a moment to feel good about making the top without stopping, quite a few folks I've ridden with from work with won't even entertain going up Radio Road - I won't entertain not going up there
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Old 01-19-09, 10:24 PM   #20
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Thanks, Beaker. That's very encouraging. I just checked--my heart rate reached 176. I was huffing and puffing like crazy at the end. I was very close to giving up, but man, I would've been sooooo disappointed in myself.

I think you're right, though--I think I burned out on the first part, up to the entrance. I thought I was pacing myself just fine. But I didn't have much steam left towards the end.

If you don't mind my asking, how often do you ride it? There's another hill around here that I ride pretty regularly, and it was really hard at the beginning. Now it's relatively easy. Well, compared to San Bruno Mountain, anyway.
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Old 01-19-09, 10:51 PM   #21
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These days I try to ride there twice a week. It's not too bad as I work near Oyster Point, making it a nice ~17mile out and back to the towers round about my lunch time. However, work, travel and stuff get in the way on a fairly regular basis.
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