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Old 10-01-12, 12:21 AM   #1
freighttraininguphill
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My toughest climb to date-Mix Canyon (pics & video)

Well, I finally got around to climbing Mix Canyon. I joined a women's cycling club that just so happened to have a ride up Mix/Cantelow today, so I drove down to Vacaville for some good old fashioned steep hill bliss!

I felt sorry for one of the riders. She forgot that her road bike with a triple only had platform pedals, so she ended up sacrificing her socks to make a pair of redneck toe straps. This worked okay for her until the steepest section near the end, where she had to walk. I got a call from her while I was waiting at the summit. She told me to start descending and she would turn around and descend when I got to her.

It was a stair-step climb for a while, then the extended 15% and up started and during the last half-mile or so I finally had to shift to my lowest gear-a 24x34 on a road triple with mtb gearing. I'm not strong enough to rock a compact double up grades in the teens, so I stick with a triple.

Rallison's website says it's a 4 mile climb, but it's actually 4.7 miles.

I didn't have to stop as many times to let my rims cool on the way down as I thought I would. Once the steepest section is over, it's not too bad. I stopped a couple times to take pictures, and once to let my rims cool.

This climb is harder than the one I did last weekend-the 5-mile Corkscrew Wall near Foresthill. My speeds dropped to 2.5 to 3 mph on the steepest sections.

On the way back to Vacaville we rode over Cantelow, so that's another hill I was curious about that I finally got to climb. It reminds me of some of the El Dorado Hills climbs.

http://app.strava.com/rides/23631522

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/228678928

Here's the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIolCybdOdc

A sign of the suffering to come? This is right before the last steep section.





Redneck toe strap



The California Triple Crown awards breakfast took place at the same park my group ride started from.



Screenshot from descent part of ride video



More pics are here: http://s149.beta.photobucket.com/user/hardmf1/library/
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Old 10-01-12, 04:09 PM   #2
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Molto impressionante.

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Old 10-01-12, 05:32 PM   #3
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I guess it was wrong. You didn't die.
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Old 10-01-12, 09:07 PM   #4
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Molto impressionante.

Thanks BTW, that same cycling club is riding on your favorite mountain this Saturday, so you know what that means Another hill I've never climbed that needs to be dealt with, with camera recording of course!
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I guess it was wrong. You didn't die.
Nope, but hopefully some of this useless fat did. It refuses to come off, but then again I refuse to starve myself. Life is too short to deny myself good food!
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Old 10-01-12, 09:16 PM   #5
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Well done! I have to admit, the descent of that scares the bejeebers out of me. It's a climb I'm not going to do.
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Old 10-01-12, 09:52 PM   #6
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Nope, but hopefully some of this useless fat did. It refuses to come off, but then again I refuse to starve myself. Life is too short to deny myself good food!
+1 there.
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Old 10-01-12, 09:54 PM   #7
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Well done! I have to admit, the descent of that scares the bejeebers out of me. It's a climb I'm not going to do.
I remember reading your post about the descent when I did a Google search for nearby cycling climbs. I think that post was from '08 or so. I wanted to reassure you that it's not as bad after the initial steep section. I stopped a couple times for photos and once to let my rims cool, but after that I descended normally. It's kind of like the Iowa Hill or Corkscrew Wall descents. I even ended up with an unintentional Strava QOM on my 9/23 Corkscrew descent. This was in spite of one brief stop to check my rims for heat (all good), and two more very brief pauses to answer questions from the WAV Riders who were climbing and wanted to know where their lead rider was.
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Old 10-01-12, 09:59 PM   #8
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Mix is one mean mamba jamba. Great job.

Watch out if you develop a taste for the ultra steep it is habit forming to start trying to cross them them off your list one at a time around here.

Sierra Road, Welch Creek Road to name a couple.
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Old 10-01-12, 10:12 PM   #9
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It's too late. I've already got the steep hill climbing bug! Around here it's Iowa Hill Road, Slug Gulch, Jurgens/Luneman, Prospector's Grade, Cold Springs Road, Snows Road, and the Corkscrew Wall for good steep stuff. The rest of the steep climbs are shorter. There's plenty of good long climbs though, even if they're only 5-11% or so.

Gates Canyon is next!
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Old 10-01-12, 11:13 PM   #10
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You were in my back yard and didn't holla?

Congrats on the climb.

Color me dissed.
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Old 10-01-12, 11:31 PM   #11
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Thanks BTW, that same cycling club is riding on your favorite mountain this Saturday, so you know what that means Another hill I've never climbed that needs to be dealt with, with camera recording of course!
Excellent. What time? I know you're not doing the "easy side"... unless you're doing "every inch". How will I recognize your group?
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Old 10-02-12, 02:13 AM   #12
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You were in my back yard and didn't holla?

Congrats on the climb.

Color me dissed.
I thought about you when I found out we were climbing Cantelow. Then when I got home and finished uploading to Strava, Garmin Connect, YouTube, Facebook, and Photobucket I saw your Strava data from that day that showed your ride up that hill. The woman on the left of this screenshot from my video footage was the only female cyclist I saw on Cantelow. I wondered if this was you. This is at the bottom of the hill, shortly after turning onto Cantelow from Pleasants Valley.



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Excellent. What time? I know you're not doing the "easy side"... unless you're doing "every inch". How will I recognize your group?
I don't know how many riders will be sporting the club's jersey. I know I won't because I don't wear jerseys. I hate polyester and I only wear cotton tank tops in this heat, especially on climbs! Our ride starts at 7 AM. I'll be riding a blue and white Specialized Dolce Triple and I'll have my ContourHD on my helmet and my GoPro on the chest strap mount. I'll be the only one with a camera setup, so I'll be easy to spot. We will be going up North Gate Road. I am not the least bit familiar with Mt. Diablo, so I hope I'm getting the best this climb has to offer in terms of difficulty. I'm really looking forward to the 22% "wall" at the end. That will make for some good video!
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Old 10-02-12, 07:56 AM   #13
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I don't know how many riders will be sporting the club's jersey. I know I won't because I don't wear jerseys. I hate polyester and I only wear cotton tank tops in this heat, especially on climbs! Our ride starts at 7 AM. I'll be riding a blue and white Specialized Dolce Triple and I'll have my ContourHD on my helmet and my GoPro on the chest strap mount. I'll be the only one with a camera setup, so I'll be easy to spot. We will be going up North Gate Road. I am not the least bit familiar with Mt. Diablo, so I hope I'm getting the best this climb has to offer in terms of difficulty. I'm really looking forward to the 22% "wall" at the end. That will make for some good video!
Park opens at 8am but they won't hassle you for being in there early. A good place to stage is Arbolado Park. I start at 8 so maybe I'll see you on your way down.

Here are my Strava segments - http://app.strava.com/athletes/697607/segments/created the only OFFICIAL DIABLO STRAVA SEGMENTS because it's MY MOUNTAIN and many other segments people have posted are similar but not standardized in any way. You can instantly recognize the OFFICIAL DIABLO STRAVA SEGMENTS by my brand: the Д is the Russian letter "D". Example:

Д Mt. Diablo: North Gate to Summit

Don't look for me anywhere near the top of the leaderboards though!
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Old 10-02-12, 08:16 AM   #14
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The ride leader posted on my Facebook page that she wants to add Morgan Territory to this ride. I saw another cyclist's raw footage video of that climb, and it looked (and sounded!) like a good sufferfest. You know what that means!

I expect to be way down on the leaderboards too! The Bay Area is chock full of Strong Climbers who are probably two to three times faster than I am. The only climbing QOMs I have in the Bay Area are from last year's steepest San Francisco climbs, and that is only because very few women have climbed those hills (the thread with ride report, pics, and video was posted here).

I'm really looking forward to this ride. I've been wanting to climb this mountain for a while, but held off because I wanted to get a bit stronger first.
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Old 10-02-12, 08:56 AM   #15
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The ride leader posted on my Facebook page that she wants to add Morgan Territory to this ride. I saw another cyclist's raw footage video of that climb, and it looked (and sounded!) like a good sufferfest. You know what that means!
Morgan Territory is a must do, not exactly suffer climbing but long and tough. Also kind of creepy back there... like where you would get rid of a dead body or something. We did it on a century a couple weeks ago, see video (music soundtrack) here:

https://vimeo.com/50070701

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Old 10-02-12, 09:28 AM   #16
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I hope it isn't as long as Diablo, otherwise I'm in for a real sufferfest! The most climbing I've done at one time is 15 miles on Silver Fork Road in Kyburz.
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Old 10-02-12, 10:07 AM   #17
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Oops, forgot about this rider. I doubt this was Red Rider though. This was at the top of the Cantelow climb (screenshot of helmet cam video footage).

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Old 10-02-12, 01:25 PM   #18
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I hope it isn't as long as Diablo, otherwise I'm in for a real sufferfest! The most climbing I've done at one time is 15 miles on Silver Fork Road in Kyburz.
It goes to about 2000 feet, so roughly the same elevation as Junction, about the same difficulty as North Gate Road, but a very different kind of a ride. You're really in the woods back there though, so you never see the end until you get there (staging area at the top). Morgan Territory is usually done from the north, starting in Clayton from Marsh Creek Road. It's a LOT harder from the south... so you should do it both ways. The descent down the south side is called "the plunge", so you can imagine.
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Old 10-03-12, 12:14 PM   #19
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Morgan Territory is usually done from the north, starting in Clayton from Marsh Creek Road. It's a LOT harder from the south... so you should do it both ways.
Some of us who live on the south side usually do it from the south. In fact, I've never done it from the north, never been past the parking lot at Morgan Territory Regional Park.

Does one who has only done it from the north need to do it both ways? The whole thing about it being "kind of creepy back there... like where you would get rid of a dead body or something" doesn't exactly inspire me to want to go up or down the north side. . . unless I happen to have a dead body I need to get rid of -- in that case, a bike might not be the best method of transport (and the logistics of trying a "Weekend at Bernie's" type tandem trip for a body dump make my head spin).
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Old 10-03-12, 12:35 PM   #20
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Some of us who live on the south side usually do it from the south. In fact, I've never done it from the north, never been past the parking lot at Morgan Territory Regional Park.

Does one who has only done it from the north need to do it both ways? The whole thing about it being "kind of creepy back there... like where you would get rid of a dead body or something" doesn't exactly inspire me to want to go up or down the north side. . . unless I happen to have a dead body I need to get rid of -- in that case, a bike might not be the best method of transport (and the logistics of trying a "Weekend at Bernie's" type tandem trip for a body dump make my head spin).
In fact they have found bodies back there - a couple may have been victims of the Zodiac Killer in the '70s.

I'm not making any judgements, just an observation from personal experience on which way is more popular. Also, Strava lists 977 athletes with results on the north side segment and 197 on the south.

If Freight is looking for a tough climb, the south side will give her a better experience. Anyone looking for the entire experience ought to do both sides (maybe not in the same ride).
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Old 10-04-12, 12:12 PM   #21
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In fact they have found bodies back there - a couple may have been victims of the Zodiac Killer in the '70s.

I'm not making any judgements, just an observation from personal experience on which way is more popular. Also, Strava lists 977 athletes with results on the north side segment and 197 on the south.

If Freight is looking for a tough climb, the south side will give her a better experience. Anyone looking for the entire experience ought to do both sides (maybe not in the same ride).
Without Strava data, without any evidence at all other than population distribution and how tough the climb is, I would have assumed the north side would have more climbers. That is until you talk about how creepy it is and the dumping of dead bodies, then it makes me wonder why anyone but a few brave souls would venture through that seemingly God foresaken land.

All right, to be fair, your description of a creepy place where you would get rid of a body or something makes me more inclined to go there. It reminds me of those who described the San Antonio Valley to me as feeling like something out of Deliverance, it made me more curious to ride through it.

BTW, I do recognize that even many who live on the south side usually do it from the north, even if SOME of us usually do it from the south (or in my case, so far, always). From limited anecdotal evidence, most people who do Morgan Territory as part of a loop, as opposed to an out and back, go north to south, which is one reason why some who live on the south side still usually do it from the north.
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Old 10-04-12, 05:29 PM   #22
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Mix is an insanely hard climb. Good job for completing it!

The first time I rode Mix, the first 2 miles or so didn't seem that bad. I thought "What is everyone complaining about?". Then I hit the 2nd half the climb and learned my lesson.

I'll echo DiabloScott's sentiments about Morgan Territory. I climbed to the top a few times from the Concord/Marsh Creek (north) side. Then I went down into Livermore thinking that the grade would be similar. The Livermore side is much harder and you have no protection from the sun. On the plus side, the pavement is in a lot better shape. Be careful descending the north side. Since it is in the shade, there's quite a few places where you can hit some pretty nasty bumps.

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Old 10-04-12, 11:39 PM   #23
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I noticed how it took a while for the difficulty to kick in. I was wondering "when does the really steep stuff start?". Then when it hit the fun began!

I am not doing Morgan Territory. Adding it would have raised the mileage drastically from 17 miles to 67, and from 3,980' of climbing to 7,420'. After the miserable experience I had on the last 67 mile ride I did with 6,837' of climbing, I am rather reluctant to do another ride like that, especially in unfamiliar territory.

When I signed up for the ride, the original route was just Mt. Diablo. This Morgan Territory stuff was mentioned after I signed up. If they want to do it, it's fine by me. I'll just climb Diablo again from South Gate Road.
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Old 10-05-12, 12:53 AM   #24
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I ride a pistachio green and black Orbea Diva, and was sporting a Team Precision jersey. I was riding hill repeats and if we passed I wouldn't know it as we've not met and I don't know what you look like.

Sorry I missed you.
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Old 10-05-12, 10:13 AM   #25
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I still need to tackle Mix and Gates. It's a long drive up from San Jose though. Congrats on completing such a hard climb!
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