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Old 06-21-10, 10:49 PM   #1
bigbossman 
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Mt Hamilton Loop - 1st unsupported century report

So – what to call this…. “John and Mark’s Excellent Adventure”, or “Stupid Is My Specialty”?

A few weeks back I finished The Mendocino Monster which was a rather epic effort for me, wherein I actually achieved something I’ve never done on a bike – 109 miles and 10,000’ of climbing in one day. Why I would do such a thing or how I succeeded is not germane to the story, for it is enough that I did so… that is the salient point. It is because of my success then that another Stupid Idea arose unbidden to the forefront of my consciousness.

The Prologue:
I have climbed Mount Hamilton on more than one occasion, and have ridden Mines Road from The Junction down to Livermore on many more. But I had never ridden off the back side of Hamilton down into the San Antonio Valley, and I had never ridden up from The Junction through San Antonio Valley to the top of Hamilton. 20 miles of unknown, unseen road that connected roads that I was very familiar with. The problem was that these roads are very sparsely settled, and the area is remote, arid, and wild. There just isn’t a lot of opportunity for water or food, there is no cell coverage, and for a less than strong rider the route is fraught with peril. Since I didn’t want to burden the faster riders I knew with my slow pace and I was reluctant to go it alone, the idea just sat and festered in the back of my brain. It was something I’d probably never do, so I set it aside.

The Story:
Fast-forward to this year. A few events transpire in close enough proximity to allow the window of opportunity to flicker and dance like a chimera before me.

First, I fell in with a New Crowd. I had made the acquaintance of a fellow named Chuck about 3 years ago, that led to a few casual rides together. A couple of months ago, being acquainted with him led me to a serendipitous meeting with another Chuck, the octogenarian owner of Dublin Cycles. Chuck and Chuck are preparing for the Death Ride, an annual event that they’ve been doing together for years. To that end, they’ve planned and executed a schedule of training rides, and published it to a mailing list that I get added to. I knocked off their Patterson Pass ride without issue, a 75 mile ~5,000 jaunt that leaves me a little spent but really no worse for wear and tear.

Second, Dan (otherwise known as Lanceoldstrong on BF) announces The Mendocino Monster, an organized century ride I had no business doing and hadn’t a prayer of finishing. Against my better judgment I signed up for it, anyway. All the Cool Kids would be there, and I wanna be cool, too. To the amazement of everyone, I finished the ride and chalked up 109 miles and ~10,000’ of climbing for the day.

Third, Chuck sends me an email inviting me and Mark on their next training ride, the Mt. Hamilton Loop. An “all-dayer” he says, about 112 miles and 9,000 or so feet of cumulative altitude gain.

Huh.

An unsupported century, a ton of climbing, remote locales with no cell coverage, and little opportunity for water and food. That festering little idea that lay dormant in my brain started to blossom like a tenacious little weed, and elbowed its’ way past reason, trepidation, and caution. Well, there it was. A chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and since it was right on the heels of the Mendocino Monster, I had this crazy notion that I might possibly be able to pull it off.

Huh, indeed.

Mark was in, Chuck was in, and that sealed the deal. I mean – what’s the worse that could happen? And that’s how it came to pass that Mark and I met up with Chuck and Chuck, rolled out of the Dublin Cycles parking lot at 6am under leaden skies, and headed out to seize the day.

The Epilogue:
When we rolled back into the parking lot it was 8:45pm. We had covered 114 miles, climbed 9500 feet, and cruised though some pretty spectacular Northern California countryside. Along the way we joked and laughed, suffered a bit, stopped to smell the roses, and had an exhilarating sunset-chasing 10 mile sprint for the barn.

It was a pretty good day all around.

Calaveras in the morning:






Downtown San Jose from the beginning of the Mt Hamilton climb:


The road ahead:


Midway up:


The road below:


Summit:


Snack at the top:


Point of no return, 52 miles in and mile marker "0" at the top - heading for Livermore:
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Old 06-21-10, 10:55 PM   #2
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San Antonio Valley:




Late lunch at The Junction:


Ride profile:
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Old 06-21-10, 11:41 PM   #3
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Nicely written, well-ridden, artistically illustrated: Triple win for you, sir! I applaud your temporary insanity and salute your new-found monster distance + climbing skills!

I want to be on Calaveras when it's overcast like that...man, that looks inviting!
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Old 06-22-10, 08:19 AM   #4
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Nice! That's a hard ride!

Chuck from Dublin Cyclery is a good guy. He shows up each year at my kids' school bike-a-thon and makes sure all the bikes (many of which have been sitting in a garage for a year or longer) are safe and working well. He also helped me when I was having issues getting my Kestrel (with wacky internal cable routing) to shift well.

JB

PS - I saw you out riding a few days ago - I was the one in the blue Subaru yelling at you
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Old 06-22-10, 08:32 AM   #5
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I am so jealous, like lying on the floor pounding my fists and kicking jealous.
Congratulations on a great ride and thanks for the report.

I am a Hamilton virgin.
I have got to do it, very soon too. Are you listening Midland?
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Old 06-22-10, 08:40 AM   #6
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That looks like a fantastic ride. Thanks for the great report.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:54 AM   #7
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Sweet ride!

I've not climbed Mt. Hamilton from the San Jose side ... I've always descended that, and it's a nice descent through the oaks.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:20 PM   #8
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I am a Hamilton virgin.
I have got to do it, very soon too.
Hmmm.

Me too.

Hmmm.






Oh yes, nice report BBM. Your blatant sandbagging has now been revealed to all. [please note large sarcastic smiley ]
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Old 06-22-10, 09:04 PM   #9
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Oh yes, nice report BBM. Your blatant sandbagging has now been revealed to all. [please note large sarcastic smiley ]
If I were reveal my average speed to you, your accolades would turn to snorts of derision tout de suite.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:11 PM   #10
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Great ride BBM! Sounds like you had a grand time.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:16 PM   #11
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If I were reveal my average speed to you, your accolades would turn to snorts of derision tout de suite.
I doubt that, but that's a serious ride any way you cut it.

Hot diggidy, you like tham noo fangled toot sweets too?

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Old 06-22-10, 09:42 PM   #12
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Next time you get an itch to do that loop, I'd love to tag along. It looks like a great ride and you should be proud. So I know of a few death ride tickets for sale, interested BBM?
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Old 06-22-10, 09:43 PM   #13
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Next time you get an itch to do that loop, I'd love to tag along. It looks like a great ride and you should be proud. So I know of a few death ride tickets for sale, interested BBM?
At my pace, I'd have to start at about 3am. So...... no, thank you.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:56 PM   #14
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Right on BBM & MarcoPolo!! Great pics and nice report. That is a lot of miles with gnarly climbing.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:12 AM   #15
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Thanks for the write up BBM. Great job on the ride.
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Old 06-23-10, 12:43 PM   #16
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I used to do this loop BPM, thx for the report

I havenít done the loop in over 15 years. This story with the accompanying photos inspires me to return. In í94 training for a Pac-Tour I did the loop 10 times in one summer which I felt was excellent training. I used an Avocet Vertech about three times to check the amount of climbing (I would calibrate the device by calling the PA airport for a barometer reading back in those antediluvian pre-Internet days).

What I got for a climbing total was between 7,800-7,900 feet. It recorded, if memory serves me, about 4,100 feet from the Park Victoria parking lot in Milpitas to the observatory which I felt was about right (I bypassed the climbing in Alum Rock Park). So going to the top of Hamilton was about half of the climb according to this device.

I see your GPS is stating over 10,000 feet climb. So naturally I wonder whatís correct. Sometimes I see GPS figures and they look inflated to me.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:23 PM   #17
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I see your GPS is stating over 10,000 feet climb. So naturally I wonder what’s correct. Sometimes I see GPS figures and they look inflated to me.
That's not my data, just a similar one I pulled off of ridewithgps.com that had the same elevation profile as the ride I did.

My Garmin recorded 9,444' in climbing.
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Old 06-23-10, 05:11 PM   #18
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Wow, nice work. Hell of a first unsupported century, though I guess they all are, to some extent.

Makes me feel bad that I haven't climbed Hamilton on a bicycle since I've lived spitting distance from the bottom of it.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:22 PM   #19
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Man that looks like such a fun ride! All that climbing is sweet! I think I'll try this when I can drive! What was your ride time for this?
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Old 06-23-10, 09:18 PM   #20
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If I were reveal my average speed to you, your accolades would turn to snorts of derision tout de suite.
The harder the ride, the slower the speed. This ride was done at 12.5 mph http://ridewithgps.com/routes/78959 It was a very long day, with real hard climbs.
The Sierra Cent. had less climbing, and did that one at over 18 mph.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:10 PM   #21
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Great ride and report!
I rode to Mt Ham from my house in Santa Clara when I was about 15. Was about 65 miles, scariest part was some of the East Side hoods.
I hope to return in the near future for some more time there.
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Old 06-24-10, 12:25 AM   #22
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Man that looks like such a fun ride! All that climbing is sweet! I think I'll try this when I can drive! What was your ride time for this?
Total time in saddle was about 9:50. However, we were out from sunrise to sunset - 6:15am to 8:45pm. There was a lot of loafing at coffee shops and such going on.
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Old 06-24-10, 08:07 AM   #23
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Most excellent!

BTW, a friend of mine rode nearly the identical route a couple of years ago, unsupported. She called it the "Tour di Stupid".

Great minds do think alike.
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Old 06-24-10, 10:53 AM   #24
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Good job Bossman. You have inspired me to tackle another of the bay area's mountains. Do you blog, if so link please!
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Old 06-24-10, 11:00 AM   #25
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Good job Bossman. You have inspired me to tackle another of the bay area's mountains. Do you blog, if so link please!
Nope, no blog. I've got nothing to tell anyone that's worth reading.
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