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Old 01-29-09, 12:54 AM   #1
mudworm
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Best ~40 mile hill climb loop btw Calistoga and the Peninsula?

We live in the Peninsula and have been riding around here and south. This weekend, we are going up to Calistoga for a friend's birthday. Between a late start and an early departure on Sunday, we would like to squeeze in a loop on our road bikes that's around 30-40 miles in a place we don't visit often.

From the directions, it looks like we'll drive from Calistoga down through St Helena, Napa, Berkeley, etc. Can anyone recommend a nice loop along the way that involves some serious climbing? The steeper the better. Preferably something like Bohlman/On Orbit (near Saratoga). But still, nice scenery would be appreciated too.
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Old 01-29-09, 01:31 AM   #2
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This is a nice one, but it doesn't have a ton of climbing: http://oaklandyellowjackets.org/memb...istoga_HIA.pdf

Perhaps you could add Ink Grade, which is supposed to be a pretty decent climb in the area.

Have fun!
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Old 01-29-09, 09:03 AM   #3
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Since you threw Berkeley in to the list, there are a lot of good routes in and around the Oakland/Berkeley Hills that might make the grade. To get 30-40miles and some new scenery, I'd recommend something that involved the 3 bears loop (~18miles) not very steep but has a few climbs and very nice countryside and take your pick on climbs around the ridge. As you seem to be into the difficult stuff, I'd consider trying a loop involving El Toyonal/Lomas Cantadas, (see http://www.lowkeyhillclimbs.com/2008/week8/) and perhaps throwing in a loop that could climb Claremont, not as steep but longer. If that's of any interest I could suggest a bikely or two for you.

I rode Ink grade last year which was pretty nice - a sustained 3ish mile climb, but not terribly steep. Very pretty countryside to ride though.
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Old 01-29-09, 05:18 PM   #4
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Thanks very much for the helpful information. I'll check out the routes on a map tonight when I get home. There are some helpful links on the Low Key page too about some rides that I'd be interested in checking out. Beaker, do you know what are the exact starting and ending points used by the Low Key ride? Are they obvious? I'd like to time myself if I do that ride.
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Old 01-29-09, 07:09 PM   #5
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If you would be up for a ride in Marin, the Alpine Dam loop from Fairfax (including a spur to the top of Mt. Tam) is also a GREAT ride with lots of climbing! It's about 38 miles and around 4000 feet of climbing. You can follow this route: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6296376
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Old 01-29-09, 10:01 PM   #6
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Thanks very much for the helpful information. I'll check out the routes on a map tonight when I get home. There are some helpful links on the Low Key page too about some rides that I'd be interested in checking out. Beaker, do you know what are the exact starting and ending points used by the Low Key ride? Are they obvious? I'd like to time myself if I do that ride.
mudworm, I think the start is pretty much the bottom of El Toyonal at Camino Pablo. As you can tell from the map it's pretty twisty, but you take Loma Vista after ~0.5mile and keep going straight up, El Toyonal actually has a brief descent followed by a flat section before you come to Vista del Orinda on your left, follow that and just keep heading skyward to Lomas Cantadas. I believe that the finish line was right at the crest of the hill on Lomas Cantadas when you've gone past the stables and are turning right towards the little trains in Tilden - not 100% sure there, but I think it's when you finally reach a flat bit. FWIW I did that in ~23mins give or take.

Here's a suggested bikely - you could park at Orinda BART as your start/stop and tackle El Toyonal/Lomas Cantadas first. Alternatively you could park at the bottom of Claremont and start there. This loop is ~43mils w/5500ft climbing according to bikely - but the early climbs should feed your need for some steep stuff. You could also skip the down Tunnel up Claremont part to shorten the miles.


http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...laremont-Bears
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Old 01-30-09, 11:00 AM   #7
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You did use the words Calistoga and Napa so I expect you want something in that area. Consider parking in Oakville just off of Highway 29 in Napa. Go up the Oakville grade and down the Trinity Grade into Sonoma county. This has been used by the Tour of California. North along Highway 12 to Calistoga road just east of Santa Rosa. Take the Calistoga Road and up a short, steep hill then down to a right on the St. Helena Road. Nice long climb to the Napa Cty line and a fast drop into St. Helena. South on 29 to Oakville.
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Old 01-31-09, 01:00 AM   #8
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You did use the words Calistoga and Napa so I expect you want something in that area. Consider parking in Oakville just off of Highway 29 in Napa. Go up the Oakville grade and down the Trinity Grade into Sonoma county. This has been used by the Tour of California. North along Highway 12 to Calistoga road just east of Santa Rosa. Take the Calistoga Road and up a short, steep hill then down to a right on the St. Helena Road. Nice long climb to the Napa Cty line and a fast drop into St. Helena. South on 29 to Oakville.
Be aware that the highlighted stretch has areas of minimal shoulder and maximum weekend wine tasting tourist traffic, if you dislike close vehicular encounters as much as I do...
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Old 02-01-09, 10:22 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the great information! In the end, we decided to take a tour at the Wine Country. We sorta did the loop ken suggested except in the counterclockwise direction. Also, taking into consideration the warning about the traffic, we used Silverado Trail and Bennett Valley Road to minimize riding on CA-29 and CA-12. It turned out to be a decent ride (~54 miles 5K feet ascent per MTBGuru stats). The weather was just perfect!

(Provided by mapmyride.com)

Last edited by mudworm; 02-01-09 at 10:26 PM. Reason: credit mapmyride
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Old 02-02-09, 02:25 PM   #10
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You went UP from St Helena? That's a tough climb baby. Of course going up Oakville as recommended by Ken Cummings might be worse.

http://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/hills.htm
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Old 02-02-09, 05:01 PM   #11
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We mainly wanted to check out Trinity Road in the direction that Terrible Two takes it, so we went counterclockwise. Sprint Mountain Road reminds me West Alpine Road on the Peninsula, but there are way more gorgeous mansions in Napa Valley.
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Old 02-02-09, 06:26 PM   #12
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We mainly wanted to check out Trinity Road in the direction that Terrible Two takes it, so we went counterclockwise. Sprint Mountain Road reminds me West Alpine Road on the Peninsula, but there are way more gorgeous mansions in Napa Valley.
Then you should have just blown this off and went to the Geysers - not that far north of Calistoga. Trinity is completely forgettable in the context of that ride, 20-25 minutes cleared with pure adrenaline after the fast early AM paceline run-in on Bennett Valley, and done at 6:30-7 AM when it's still nice and cool.

Geysers is a long haul, Skaggs is brutal in the heat, then you have that little Bohlman-esque 1 mile section up to the Indian reservation. By then your legs are very soft, you reach the gnarly Fort Ross climb and the temperature plummets. Great fun.
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Old 02-02-09, 06:42 PM   #13
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Yeah, Geysers. Thought about it. But I didn't know a very good loop that would work within our time constraint, and it was further out of our way. Some other day, I guess. My legs felt soft on Trinity all right.
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Old 02-02-09, 08:39 PM   #14
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You went UP from St Helena? That's a tough climb baby. Of course going up Oakville as recommended by Ken Cummings might be worse.

http://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/hills.htm
Nice link, I hadn't come across that before. It'd be good to try some of those climbs out one of these days.
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