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  1. #1
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    Where to find 13 percent grade in Marin County?!

    Hi,
    I am new to bike forums as I am fairly new to cycling. I am currently training for Wildflower triathlon and have got the swim/run down but need to practice time in the saddle. Does anyone know any 13 percent grades lasting about 2 miles in Marin County? Maybe that's getting specific, but I figured there has got to be at least one! The climb at the beginning of the bike is 13 percent and I need to get my confidence up! It could be something longer than a couple of miles, I am just trying to simulate the experience as best as I can! Thanks for any info and happy riding!

  2. #2
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Welcome to Bike Forums! 13% is very steep. I can't think of any climb in the Bay Area, much less Marin, that is that steep for that long. Maybe Sierra Road down by San Jose?

    Check out the Low Key Hill Climb series for a few other good ones (not in Marin):

    Quimby looks like 13%, but it isn't quite 2 miles (1.5 or 1.25?): http://lowkey.djconnel.com/2008/week3/

    This one (Jamison Creek Rd.) is two miles at 11%: http://lowkey.djconnel.com/2008/week6/

    Good luck with the tri training and let us know if you find any monster hills for your training.
    Last edited by ROJA; 01-26-09 at 03:22 PM.

  3. #3
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Here's some nice lists of climbs mostly on the peninsula, don't know anything like this for Marin.

    http://www.westernwheelers.org/main/...BA_Climbs.html

    http://www-graphics.stanford.edu/~lu...ike-grade.html
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  4. #4
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Looked up in the Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike)

    The NorCal climbs include:

    Nacimiento Fergusson Road (west) in Monterey
    Average Grade 6.9% (max 11%), Length 6.9 miles, Total elevation 2,506 ft

    Bohlman Road / On Orbit Drive in Saratoga
    Average Grade 12.8% (max 21%), length 2.3 miles, Total elevation 1,557 ft

    Bohlman Road in Saratoga
    Average Grade 12.0% (max 21%), length 2.6 miles, Total elevation 1,648 ft

    Alba Road in Santa Cruz
    Average Grade 10.2% (max 19%), length 3.8 miles, Total elevation 2,030 ft

    Hicks Road / Mount Umunhum in San Jose
    Average Grade 10.0% (max 18%), length 4.1 miles, Total elevation 2,160 ft

    Marin Avenue in Berkeley
    Average Grade for half mile 18.1% (max 28%)
    Average Grade for mile 14.1% (max 28%)
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  5. #5
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    13% for the entire 2 miles? Pretty monstrous climb! You'd be climbing something like 1,400 feet in that 2 miles, or close to half of Mt. Diablo! I can't imagine there's a climb like that in a triathlon - that would be a killer after a long swim.

    Looking at the Wilflower course map, it looks like the Beach Hill climb you're worried about? It looks like it goes up 400 feet in about a mile. That's a 7.6% average grade - tough (steeper than Mt. Diablo, for example), but not 13%. There may be some 13% sections to worry about, but it's not 13% for the entire mile. % grade calculator can be found here: http://www.csgnetwork.com/inclinedeclinegradecalc.html
    It won't be perfectly accurate - it looks for horizontal distance, while your cycling computer will measure along the diagonal, but it will be very close.

    To answer your question - try Bo-Fax road, specifically the section from Alpine Dam up to Ridge Crest. Plenty steep enough, and long enough too to test your climbing. But it's not 13% for 2 miles.

    JB

    edit: here's a link to the infamous "Billy Goat List", with elevation and distances for each climb: http://home.att.net/~bikemaster/routes/bgoats.htm There are some inaccuracies (Mt. Diablo is about a 3,200 foot climb, at least from the south gate), and the subjective rankings are, well, subjective (Redwood Gulch is rated a 6, or as hard as they come, but Sierra Road is a 5?). Still a useful list, though.
    Last edited by jonathanb715; 01-26-09 at 04:57 PM.
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

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  6. #6
    Senior Member powpow's Avatar
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    Try the "Marshall Wall" heading east from the town of Marshall on the coast. I don't know about 13%, but it's a good climb.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/view_route?r=456948293

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    Senior Member 1jacktripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triandtri View Post
    The climb at the beginning of the bike is 13 percent...
    I've done Wildflower (LC) before, and, unless the course has changed, I can assure you that it's not a 2-mile 13% climb right after the swim. The Nasty Grade, which is prob. 40 miles into the course, is probably something that might be of more concern.

    I suggest hooking up with your local ex-Wildflower vets and asking them about it. How fun. I miss that event.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumbutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msincredible View Post
    Looked up in the Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike)

    Marin Avenue in Berkeley
    Average Grade for half mile 18.1% (max 28%)
    Average Grade for mile 14.1% (max 28%)
    Wow I didnt think there was anything that steep in California (28%). I am going to have to seek that one out one day.

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    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumbutter View Post
    Wow I didnt think there was anything that steep in California (28%). I am going to have to seek that one out one day.
    It is a fairly busy street. I wouldn't recommend riding up except at a time with no traffic.

    There are some even steeper streets in California (but they are shorter): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filbert...(San_Francisco)

  10. #10
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumbutter View Post
    Wow I didnt think there was anything that steep in California (28%). I am going to have to seek that one out one day.
    Here is the description from the book:

    Marin Avenue may contain the most difficult half and full mile of climbing in the U.S. It is not the steepest in either category but throw in stop signs, traffic and leg numbing grade variability and you will see why it is more difficult than its statistics suggest. For the full mile, enjoy the first 1/10 mile as it is the only break you will get. Negotiate 'The Circle' and your real troubles begin as you slam into sustained 20% grade. The only forgiveness comes from the cross street sections which are flat. At Santa Barbara (cross street) the real fun begins as you hit the steepest half mile of the climb. After 8/10ths mile the grade finally eases and you finish the torture fittingly at a seminary at the top of the hill. Good luck with this one!

    Directions: From I-80 in Berkeley, CA, take the Buchanan Street exit toward Albany. Head east on Buchanan for a half mile which becomes Marin Avenue. Follow Marin for 1.5 miles to begin the climb by continuing east.
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  11. #11
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
    It is a fairly busy street. I wouldn't recommend riding up except at a time with no traffic.

    There are some even steeper streets in California (but they are shorter): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filbert...San_Francisco)
    Fixed the link
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    Where would you be starting from in Marin County? 13% is going to be fairly unpleasant for a newer cyclist unless you are already in good shape. There are plenty of hills in Sausalito or you could ride from the main drag up to the top of the Marin Headlands & Hawk Hill. Jonathan's suggestion is good except you have to do a fair amount of climbing just to get to that point at Alpine Dam.

  13. #13
    Two wheels is two wheels pelikan's Avatar
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    A bit north, but Pine Flat in Geyserville will make your kness scream (if you go all the way to top that is)
    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...e/664914375985

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    Here is a tour of the steepest hills in San Francisco. He claims that 2 of them are 31%. Four more are between 26% and 30%.

    http://www.russianhillroulette.com/

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    If you ever wondered about how much stronger pro bike racers are than you and me, here is a photo of some Texan climbing Taylor Street in San Francisco (16% grade) in his big chainring:


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    There is a .pdf file of the course available from the website.
    http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.c...ong_course.htm

    Find a few steep hills and go up them to see how they tax your system differently compared to lesser grades. Then build a training regimen that includes them in there. The steep hills in SF are great but not practical to form a longer ride since you would be stopping constantly for signs and red lights.

  17. #17
    Team Embolism maillotpois's Avatar
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    Ditto on Pine Flat - the top part.

    Also Skaggs Springs Rd. out of Lake Sonoma has an excellent wall past Rancheria that has some of the longest sustained steep I have encountered in Marin or Sonoma. It's at least a mile of considerable double digit steepness. When it gets less steep in parts, you are grateful that a 9% seems easy.... Ft. Ross is also "nice".

    The back side (Petaluma side) of Wilson Hill is pretty steep, but not as long as you are looking for.

    Back side of Marshall Wall - the Hwy 1 side.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    If you ever wondered about how much stronger pro bike racers are than you and me, here is a photo of some Texan climbing Taylor Street in San Francisco (16% grade) in his big chainring:

    http://www.kenpapai.com/racing/sf2002/lance0451.jpg
    Looks like Lance and the guy next him are both shifting.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostic View Post
    There is a .pdf file of the course available from the website.
    http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.c...ong_course.htm

    Find a few steep hills and go up them to see how they tax your system differently compared to lesser grades. Then build a training regimen that includes them in there. The steep hills in SF are great but not practical to form a longer ride since you would be stopping constantly for signs and red lights.
    That's what I was looking at when I said it looks like a 400 ft. climb in about a mile. That is a pretty hilly course for a triathlon!

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  20. #20
    Team Embolism maillotpois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    Looks like Lance and the guy next him are both shifting.
    And the guy next to him is looking back because he swears he had a bigger cog on there....

  21. #21
    triathlete? roadie? MTB? caelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1jacktripper View Post
    I've done Wildflower (LC) before, and, unless the course has changed, I can assure you that it's not a 2-mile 13% climb right after the swim. The Nasty Grade, which is prob. 40 miles into the course, is probably something that might be of more concern.
    That's good to hear! I am planning on doing the Wildflower MTB tri, but I was considering the long course either this year or next instead, and a 13%, two mile grade would have slightly discouraged me!
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  22. #22
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
    It is a fairly busy street. I wouldn't recommend riding up except at a time with no traffic.
    Have you climbed Marin? I've climbed it once in my car and it was insane.

  23. #23
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    Have you climbed Marin? I've climbed it once in my car and it was insane.
    I actually like to drive up Marin, it's quite fun. When the freeway is clogged by traffic and going through the tunnel means a 1 hour bumper to bumper ordeal, I opt for the nicer, though longer, bypass: Marin up to Grizzly and back to 24 on the other side of the tunnel.

    I wouldn't dare riding it though.

  24. #24
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    I normally peel off 24 and use Claremont for that purpose and then down Fish Ranch or up Grizzly peak and down Lomas to Orinda.

    I'm gonna give Marin a go this year -- I need for the mornings to be warmer first.

  25. #25
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    I plan to do a big climbing ride in Marin on Saturday on 3 of the biggest climbs.
    I don't know if any of the grades are sustained 13%, but the climbs I plan to do are:
    Mt. Vision, Limantour and Bo-Fax from Bolinas to the 7 sisters and back via Panoramic to Mill Valley.
    Should be about 100 miles R/T from SF with over 6000 ft of climbing. I'll be leaving from the GG bridge at 8 AM and will be stopping at the Roastery in San Anselmo at 9AM.

    Anyone here is free to join me for this tour of the big hills of Marin.
    Last edited by Pizza Man; 01-27-09 at 01:16 PM.

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