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Old 05-30-13, 03:58 PM   #26
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Yea, just do it. If you can't make it this time, just turn around and try it again later.
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Old 05-30-13, 07:19 PM   #27
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I'll admit that the large number of detailed responses probably makes you overthink it, but yes...Just Do It (tm). It's not like scaling El Capitan...it's just a bike ride.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:44 AM   #28
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Not to add more over-analysis to this, but, I think there's also water (from a hose?) at the ranger residence just before the left turn at the bridge at the bottom of the second descent on the way up. I think I used it once on a hot day and no one shot at me...

Like everyone says, it's not hard (steep), it's just long (like close to 20 miles long), and if you ride this tomorrow maybe you guys should get an early start like say 6-7 so you remove heat from the equation on the way up.
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Old 05-31-13, 01:45 PM   #29
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Agreed, not that big of a deal. Hamilton is definately no Haleakala.

I would mention when descending to be careful of cars passing ascending cyclists on blind turns as I've seen that happen plenty on busier weekends. Also, I know it adds a little bit of weight, but I'm partial to insulated water bottles--cold or at least cool water--can make a real difference in the enjoyment of the ride over warm plastic water.

I use arm covers also to protect my skin from sun exposure.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:13 PM   #30
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Agreed, not that big of a deal. Hamilton is definately no Haleakala.
Have you ridden that? Funny you bring that up, I just got back from Maui, where I managed to pull it off. It's also not steep, or difficult in terms of grade, but it just goes on and on and on...I never once felt like I was out of breath, it just slowly saps all the life out of you. The last 2,000 vertical feet were hilarous. I could not stop cramping, and could not turn the 34x28 more than about 60 rpm. 10,000+ feet of climbing at alpine elevations can do that to you!
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Old 06-02-13, 07:23 PM   #31
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So how did it go? The conditions were perfect Saturday morning for my first trip up. A little warmer on the east side but not too bad, and a little warmer but not all that bad on the last climb on the west side again (that totals about 9000' of climbing- about the same as doing the entire west side twice but its quicker since the east side is much steeper). There was a breeze that kept things relatively cool. I finished with almost a full bottle.
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Old 06-02-13, 09:42 PM   #32
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ok.. saturday's ride was pretty weak on my part. i got up past the first climb and in the the part entrance just barely alive. i forgot to pace myself and found myself running out of leg. i tried to ride a bit more but something about my setup on my bike is not right, because i was getting pain in the lower back, the boys were numb. bumped into my friend that went on the ride and stopped by to check on my before he continued and suggest i should turn back before i get injured.

my friends later made it all the way up to lick, but couldn't ride back down.. didn't have the leg. so our SAG wagon went to pick them up. end of the day we were all limping.. but at least they made it to the top and i didn't.

today morning, i met up with a close family friend that happen to be a sports PT and also certified in bike fits. had some major adjustments done, main on the saddle part and seatpost. we went out afterwards to test it out and rode 19.4 miles with good results and most of all, felt good on the climbs.



i'll try mt. hamilton again... and hopefully will get better and better at it.
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Old 06-03-13, 07:41 AM   #33
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I was not able to complete climbs when I started out riding. You will improve fast if you keep training.

Sustained climbing does put more strain on the lower back. I do some core work in the gym, but climbing also seems like a good way to improve the muscles used for climbing. You just need to be careful and not try to do too much too quickly.
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Old 06-03-13, 09:41 AM   #34
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So how did it go? The conditions were perfect Saturday morning for my first trip up. A little warmer on the east side but not too bad, and a little warmer but not all that bad on the last climb on the west side again (that totals about 9000' of climbing- about the same as doing the entire west side twice but its quicker since the east side is much steeper). There was a breeze that kept things relatively cool. I finished with almost a full bottle.
Wait, what route is this? Did you start in SJ, go up, over to the east, and then back up again the east side? I started to do that once...once. Got about 2 miles down the other side and said EFF THIS! That was a steep 2-mile climb, I couldn't imagine going all the way down then back up!
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Old 06-03-13, 03:05 PM   #35
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Wait, what route is this? Did you start in SJ, go up, over to the east, and then back up again the east side?
Yep. It's kind of steep- there's about a mile in the middle that's at least 10% and the whole thing averages 8.5%- but not too bad if you have gearing. Not in the same league as Bolhman. It's 2000' of climbing in 4.5 miles where the last climb on the west side is 2000' in 7 miles. It is usually hotter there than the west side- it sees less wind and since its east facing it has more sun in the morning to heat up.

Until a few years ago I didn't see anyone else doing this (although sometimes there'd be riders who were climbing it as part of the loop from Livermore).
But lately I see more people who are going over the west side and then turning around at Isabel Creek and going back up the east side.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:51 AM   #36
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Alright dammit, now I gotta try. Do you know when you've hit the bottom on the east side?

edit; n/m looks like the bridge across the creek.

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Old 06-04-13, 11:59 AM   #37
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thanks for the tip ericm979. yea i love to climb and need to overcome the fear of the climb ahead. will keep trying at it, that's for sure.
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Old 06-04-13, 12:30 PM   #38
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It's real obvious even without the bridge: you're in a small valley and the only way out is to climb.

Watch out for the cattle guard. It's about three miles down, right after the one straight section where you get some speed. There's a tight right-left turn combo and the guard is at the exit of the left. There's a couple spots where small rocks fall from the cut bank. They're sharp and will cut tires or cause pinch flats.

There is a spring at the turn below the 3 mile mark (painted on the road). I have never drunk from it but it can be useful to soak your helmet on a hot day (using the water pouring out of the overflow).

On the way up, the cattle guard is where it gets hard. If you are counting and you probably will be, the top is at about mile 0.75- the numbers count down from the junction of 168 and 130 which is at the turn to the observatory.
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Old 06-04-13, 04:47 PM   #39
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I'm on it this weekend...unless it's 95
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Old 06-05-13, 12:47 AM   #40
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I'm on it this weekend...unless it's 95
i heard this weekend will be hotter than last weekend...
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Old 06-05-13, 09:30 AM   #41
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Weather is so annoying! In the winter, it seems like the cycle is rain on the weekend, then nice/clear during the week. Now we are in this pattern where it's 100 on the weekend, and barely 70 during the week. WTF!
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Old 06-05-13, 03:47 PM   #42
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I rode up Hamilton this past Sunday and started about 4:50pm. It was probably 15 degrees cooler than Saturday. Very nice (virtually no traffic descending [although there was a heavy CHP and sheriff presence early in the ride due to young men in souped up coupes must have attracted resident's attention) and any cooler and I would have liked to have had a vest for the descent.

I should be happy to be an old guy who gets up and safely down. But the more you ride it (and start looking at the posted times from the LKHC series), the more you'll think about breaking it up into the three climbing segments and analyze what you can do to go faster--which usually for me comes down to don't take it easy on the flatter parts. I was reading today about the ultra-marathoner who died on Mt. Diablo this past week. I believe one can over exert oneself and it probably isn't wise to try red-line it all the way up. I think I'll continue to ride fairly easy to the bridge by the fire station and then go the final 6.5 miles and 1,800 feet as hard as I can.
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Old 06-05-13, 04:20 PM   #43
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The article I found says they are wating on an autopsy to determine his cause of death. So I'm not sure which conclusion you are jumping to.

If you have certain kinds of heart disease or any number of other defects, you can die from any sort of exertion, even mild. (i.e. Ed Burke, see http://www.roadbikerider.com/medical?page=1)

But if you don't have those, it is very difficult to over-exert yourself. Going moderately hard like you would for a long climb like Hamilton is really unlikely to do so. You can't "red line" all the way up a 4200' climb. The very best local amateur racers are doing it in just over an hour. An hour as fast as you can go is no where close to "red line". The worst that will happen is your legs will hurt near the end and you may puke. It'll be unpleasant for sure, especially the last 5 minutes. But it's not going hard like you would at the end of a race when sprinting the last part of a climb (like at Pescadero or Sea Otter).

But even doing those sprints, or all out 3 minute intervals, is not going to do it. Your brain and body have many safeguards to prevent one from over-exertion. It is not like a car engine where if you over-rev it, pistons and valves meet and the rods go through the cases in a spectacular failure.

OTOH, a few people do die from heat exaustion. Even that is difficult to do- you have to be very very determined to keep going even though you are feeling very poorly. I have ridden in very hot conditions (111 degrees on Diablo, 117 racing in Death Valley in August during a heat wave). All that happens is my power goes down while HR stays the same and I feel awful. And the great thing about doing this on a climb is that you can turn around and go home.

If you're really concerned and are older a doctors visit and a stress EKG might be a good idea.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:37 AM   #44
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The article I found says they are wating on an autopsy to determine his cause of death. So I'm not sure which conclusion you are jumping to.

If you have certain kinds of heart disease or any number of other defects, you can die from any sort of exertion, even mild. (i.e. Ed Burke, see http://www.roadbikerider.com/medical?page=1)

But if you don't have those, it is very difficult to over-exert yourself. Going moderately hard like you would for a long climb like Hamilton is really unlikely to do so. You can't "red line" all the way up a 4200' climb. The very best local amateur racers are doing it in just over an hour. An hour as fast as you can go is no where close to "red line". The worst that will happen is your legs will hurt near the end and you may puke. It'll be unpleasant for sure, especially the last 5 minutes. But it's not going hard like you would at the end of a race when sprinting the last part of a climb (like at Pescadero or Sea Otter).

But even doing those sprints, or all out 3 minute intervals, is not going to do it. Your brain and body have many safeguards to prevent one from over-exertion. It is not like a car engine where if you over-rev it, pistons and valves meet and the rods go through the cases in a spectacular failure.

OTOH, a few people do die from heat exaustion. Even that is difficult to do- you have to be very very determined to keep going even though you are feeling very poorly. I have ridden in very hot conditions (111 degrees on Diablo, 117 racing in Death Valley in August during a heat wave). All that happens is my power goes down while HR stays the same and I feel awful. And the great thing about doing this on a climb is that you can turn around and go home.

If you're really concerned and are older a doctors visit and a stress EKG might be a good idea.
Perhaps I mostly have anecdotal evidence to go by, but I do know too many stories of people who have died well into an endurance event doing something stressful. Yes, no autopsy results yet for the Rene Brunet death towards the end of the Diablo 50K run, but since we're on a Mount Hamilton thread, it was a heart attack that killed Tom Milton, Selle An-Atomica founder, while climbing up the backside of Mount Hamilton well into the 2010 Devil Mountain Double. Yes, he rode a lot of endurance events, he had ridden a 400k brevet the week before, but it is a huge unfounded leap to jump to the conclusion that over-exertion wasn't a factor in his death.

Maybe some of these I know of would have had death prevented with a stress test at least every other year, but who knows, maybe not (nonetheless, after age 45, for those who exercise intensely, not a bad idea to have a stress test at least every other year). Maybe some of these people would have died without over-exertion, but who knows. I think it unwise, however, to dismiss the notion that overexertion can't lead to death.

In the end, however, we never really can know if our intense exercise will prolong life or shorten it. Since we can't know, just do what makes you happy, but be smart (like get physicals, listen to your body when riding, and don't ride stupid), and don't worry too much about the things out of your control.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:37 PM   #45
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> but it is a huge unfounded leap to jump to the conclusion that over-exertion wasn't a factor in his death.

it's a huge unfounded leap to jump to the conclusion that "over exertion" WAS a factor. I'm not even sure what "over exertion" is. A quick search shows a lot of definitions are muscle/tendon/ligament injuries, which can be unpleasant but won't kill you. The other definition I find turns out to be exercise-induced Rhabdomyolysis (http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-libra...e-overexertion) which is rare but can kill you. I have not heard of it happening to a cyclist. I have not been able to find a scientific description of how "over exertion" (but not dehydration) can cause a healthy heart to stop or make you drop dead in some other way.

If you have one I'd like to see it.

While I disagree with the idea that healthy people can drop dead from exercising too hard, I agree with your closing paragraph.
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Old 06-06-13, 04:49 PM   #46
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> but it is a huge unfounded leap to jump to the conclusion that over-exertion wasn't a factor in his death.

it's a huge unfounded leap to jump to the conclusion that "over exertion" WAS a factor. I'm not even sure what "over exertion" is. A quick search shows a lot of definitions are muscle/tendon/ligament injuries, which can be unpleasant but won't kill you. The other definition I find turns out to be exercise-induced Rhabdomyolysis (http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-libra...e-overexertion) which is rare but can kill you. I have not heard of it happening to a cyclist. I have not been able to find a scientific description of how "over exertion" (but not dehydration) can cause a healthy heart to stop or make you drop dead in some other way.

If you have one I'd like to see it.

While I disagree with the idea that healthy people can drop dead from exercising too hard, I agree with your closing paragraph.
I don't think I would argue that "over exertion" can cause a "healthy heart" to stop or make you drop dead in some other way. The question is whether excercising at extreme intensity increases the risk of a cardiac event. I think you can find thousands of sources to tell you that is true. Here's a link to a Livestrong page that cites to a Canadian Medical Association Journal http://www.livestrong.com/article/39...ring-exercise/ and it doesn't take much of a Google search to find a lot of places that will tell you this is true. Many places will include getting the heart rate beyond a certain percentage of max, beyond a certain percentage for too long a period of time, or beyond max, in definitions of "over exertion."

It isn't that there is an increased risk of a cardiac event with a "healthy heart." It is that, although you are correct that even mild exertion can lead to a cardiac event with a heart that is not perfectly healthy, given a heart that is defective in some way, the odds of a cardiac event are a lot greater with intense exertion than with mild exertion. It really is a question of the odds. Of course, we worry about the odds of that cardiac event only if the heart is less than perfectly healthy. And then, the odds of having a heart that is defective in some way without us knowing about it start going up quite a bit as we age. This is a reason why, if you either can afford it or have insurance that will cover it, it is a good idea for those of us who engage in intense exercise to have a stress test at least every 2 years once we get up to 45.

As I climb the back side of Hamilton after either having climbed Mines or having climbed the front side, the harder I work, the more likely I have a cardiac event IF my heart is less than perfectly healthy. Should I assume that my heart is perfectly healthy? A whole lot of people have died from a cardiac event when they had no reason to believe the heart was anything less than perfectly healthy (other than perhaps age always being a reason to assume the heart is less than perfectly healthy). I personally know too many stories of, "He did so much exercise, it is such a shock he dropped dead, we had no clue his heart wasn't healthy." Beyond getting physical exams that test the heart and paying attention to any physical signs in between exams, it is pretty hard to have a clue your heart isn't healthy. I think one can be overly cautious about the risks that something might go wrong. One can, however, also be insufficiently cautious. We each have to decide on our own what is smart to do (preferably with occasional consultation with a doctor).
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Old 06-09-13, 08:49 AM   #47
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Headed up Hamilton from the east side yesterday, starting out from Patterson as part of the Canyon Classic charity ride. by the time I got onto Hamilton my garmin was reading 110 degrees. I made it up to mile marker 3 and then turned back, knowing I wouldn't have enough strength to make it back to Patterson if I kept going. On the way back down through del puerto canyon the road temp hit 120. I would have SAGed back in, but all the vehicles were full with riders that had bonked further up. I heard they medevaced one rider who crashed going down hamilton, and an ambulance took another rider who collapsed. Lesson learned - I'll do hills, or I'll do heat, I won't do hills in the heat!
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Old 06-09-13, 08:52 PM   #48
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Oh man, sucks to hear all that chaos! Glad I chose to not do it this weekend. Still ended going up Diablo, but I got down before noon. Tons of riders out, surprisingly, knowing that it was over 100 most of the day.
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Old 06-09-13, 09:08 PM   #49
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bit and ericm979, I've been thinking about your exertion debate and find it thought provoking and hope to do some of my own research before possibly commenting further.

I did do Hamilton again today. Definitely would had been a "no-go" for me in yesterday's heat though.
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Old 06-10-13, 10:54 PM   #50
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So wife and I climbed Hamilton this past Saturday at the peak of recent heat wave. Started at 7am, done by 1pm and had no issues whatsoever with the heat.
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