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  1. #1
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Toughest Bay Area climbs

    I'm pretty new at this, so my definition of "tough" is probably not the same as yours. I'm basing my list on a combination of how steep the road is plus how long it is. Please add to the list. I'm always down for trying out something new!

    1. Mix Canyon Rd in Vacaville (nothing can even touch this beast)
    2. Geysers Rd in Cloverdale (difficult combination of grade and length)
    3. Cambridge Dr in Benicia (think the last 200 yds of Mt Diablo times 2)
    4. Mt Diablo from Danville (not super steep but really forces you to manage your pace)
    5. Calaveras-Felter Rd in Fremont (the back side of Sierra Rd)
    6. Livermore side of Morgan Territory Rd (Livermore)

    My to do list:
    1. Sierra Rd in Fremont
    2. Mt Hamilton in San Jose
    3. Mt Tam

    Bob

  2. #2
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    4. Mt Diablo from Danville <--- The easy side
    Bob
    I vote for Alba Rd in Boulder Creek.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    Lots of Silicon Valley hills rated here: http://www.westernwheelers.org/main/...BA_Climbs.html

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Oakville Grade (the east side) has to get at least an Honorable Mention. A solid mile of no-rest-for-the-wicked nastiness exposed to the sun the whole way, where the easy stretches in which you hope to recuperate are 14%. The rest of the climb is somewhere between 16% and death. For some of you (and here I cast a fish-eyed glance at LanceOldstrong), a mile of this is a workout. For this climbing-challenged Clydesdale, it one of the rings of Hell.

    The east side of Patterson Pass also deserves at least an Honorable Mention. I don't recall the total length (5 miles? 6?), but it starts gentle and keeps increasing with a 13% or so pitch to what has to be The Mother Of All False Summits. I am not exaggerating. You slog up that, feeling good about yourself, knowing to a moral certainty that this (gasp) has (wheeze) to be (barf) the top (choke). Then you see it, the remaining half-mile or so of nasty stair-steps (16%-20% ramps separated by 8%-10% "flats") -- even if you did this ride just a week ago, it is very hard not to get tricked by the false summit. And don't forget that it, too, is completely exposed to the sun.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

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    If proximity adds value, then Gates Canyon deserves some mention. It's right next to Mix Canyon. It's a bit shorter and less steep, kind of like a troublesome kid brother.

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    Ink Grade on the east side of Angwin is not really steep or long, but it is impossible to get a good rhythm going while climbing it.
    Not in the immediate bay area, but the toughest climb I have ever done is the east side of Mt Rose. You need to start from -395 on the south side of Reno, and do it on a day when the temps are 85-90.

  7. #7
    Riding Off to the Next Adventure, RIP hooligancyclist's Avatar
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    Pine Flat tops all of these. Both peaks together are almost easy compared to Pine Flat. I know a seldom-ridden road in Santa Rosa that is even tougher than Pine Flat. The steepest Pine Flat sustains is 18 or 19 percent. The climb up Bald Mountain has many pitches in the mid 20 percent range. Some hard packed gravel and a dead end road. Poor condition and blocked to auto traffic. Goes up 2400 feet to 2700, panoramic view at the top. I've taken pictures up there and it was put in a magazine. On a clear day you can see Shasta, 190 miles away.
    "Well, folks, here's the deal: I'm the best there is, plain and simple. I mean, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. You know, nobody can hang with my stuff. I'm just a....just a lean, shaven, American winning machine."

  8. #8
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    I did Jameson Creek once, down in the Santa Cruz Mtns. Once was enough.

    Hicks down south of San Jose was fun, too.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, itís the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Great info! Thanks.

    I didn't mention Gates Canyon (which is almost as insane as Mix Canyon) because sections of it are dirt. I also didn't know that the Danville side of Mt Diablo was the easy side. I've been riding that side because I descended down Northgate Rd once and the pavement wasn't as nice as Southgate.

    Bob

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    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Is this the Pine Flat mentioned above?

    http://www.sonic.net/~douglasi/bike/pineflat.html

    It looks tough, but not as bad as some of the others?

    Mix Canyon Rd:
    Elevation Gain: 2178 ft
    Length: 4.0 miles
    Average Grade: 10.3%
    Steepest Mile: 15.8%
    Steepest 3 Miles: 11.8%
    Steepest Mile in California at 15.8%. Second place goes to Old Priest Grade at 15.0%.
    3rd Steepest 1/2 Mile in California at 16.2%. First place goes to Marin Avenue (18.1%) and second place goes to Mattole Road South 2 (17.5%).

    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    I vote for Alba Rd in Boulder Creek.
    Alba is pretty tough, average 10% over ~3 miles.

    I hear On-Orbit is tougher, though I've never tried it.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  12. #12
    Too Fat for This Sport Diegomayra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    Mix Canyon Rd:
    Elevation Gain: 2178 ft
    Length: 4.0 miles
    Average Grade: 10.3%
    Steepest Mile: 15.8%
    Steepest 3 Miles: 11.8%
    Steepest Mile in California at 15.8%. Second place goes to Old Priest Grade at 15.0%.
    3rd Steepest 1/2 Mile in California at 16.2%. First place goes to Marin Avenue (18.1%) and second place goes to Mattole Road South 2 (17.5%).

    Bob
    I remember this road well.



    Wasn't too bad, short and sweet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rumbutter's Avatar
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    Jameson Creek is pretty tough but Welch Creek gets my monster of the Bay Area vote.

    http://lowkey.djconnel.com/2010/week6/

    unless you bring off road into the equations then there are some absolutely brutal fire roads out there......

  14. #14
    Riding Off to the Next Adventure, RIP hooligancyclist's Avatar
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    Yes, as a whole if you take averages it is not so bad. It is fine until mile marker 39-41, those are hard miles then you get some downhill, but then you get miles 43-45, those are the ones that kill. One 1/4 mile section averages 18-19 percent and the rest you see might not look like steep, but the other 1 3/4 miles are ramps up to around 20 percent then a little section of flat. It is completely expose to the sun and I've never seen wind there so it gets hot quickly.
    What I think we should do is ride all these roads and see what we think, no?
    Quote Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
    Is this the Pine Flat mentioned above?

    http://www.sonic.net/~douglasi/bike/pineflat.html

    It looks tough, but not as bad as some of the others?

    Mix Canyon Rd:
    Elevation Gain: 2178 ft
    Length: 4.0 miles
    Average Grade: 10.3%
    Steepest Mile: 15.8%
    Steepest 3 Miles: 11.8%
    Steepest Mile in California at 15.8%. Second place goes to Old Priest Grade at 15.0%.
    3rd Steepest 1/2 Mile in California at 16.2%. First place goes to Marin Avenue (18.1%) and second place goes to Mattole Road South 2 (17.5%).

    Bob
    "Well, folks, here's the deal: I'm the best there is, plain and simple. I mean, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. You know, nobody can hang with my stuff. I'm just a....just a lean, shaven, American winning machine."

  15. #15
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hooligancyclist View Post
    What I think we should do is ride all these roads and see what we think, no?
    Definitely. Build a list and start checking them off.

    Bob

  16. #16
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
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    No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
    I'm in it to finish it.

    My Cycling Blog

  17. #17
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
    That one has to be the toughest!

  18. #18
    bam
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    hicks-a-hum is not what people usually refer to as easy. ~5 mi ~10%

    http://app.strava.com/segments/611999

  19. #19
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumbutter View Post
    Jameson Creek is pretty tough but Welch Creek gets my monster of the Bay Area vote.

    http://lowkey.djconnel.com/2010/week6/

    unless you bring off road into the equations then there are some absolutely brutal fire roads out there......
    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
    My top two

  20. #20
    Member bobonker's Avatar
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    Wow...this is nasty. Can't wait to try it out. Is the road open every day to the public? Ie, no gate at the bottom?



    Bob

  21. #21
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Yes Welch Creek is an open/public road. There are houses along the way. The only thing to note (other than the unrelenting nature of its steep pitches) is that it's pretty narrow, so watch out for traffic coming up when you descend back down. It's actually a really picturesque climb. Not that you'll be enjoying the scenery though...

  22. #22
    bam
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    welch creek is also not easy


  23. #23
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Cat Hill climb. You start to notice after few laps.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  24. #24
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    Diablo to the junction is easy on both sides if you pace yourself. But it's the summit that kills me!

  25. #25
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bam View Post
    hicks-a-hum is not what people usually refer to as easy. ~5 mi ~10%

    http://app.strava.com/segments/611999
    Nice KOM BTW

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