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Tell Me About Mt Hamilton...

Old 05-17-07, 03:03 PM
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Tell Me About Mt Hamilton...

My anxiety level isn't high enough, please tell me about the Mt Hamilton Classic and how bad the descent is. so I can work myself up even more

I'll be making the trip up north on Memorial Day weekend with a couple of friends to race in the cat 4's. I know the climb is ~4500' over 20 miles, and I've heard some nasty war stories about the descent. Is the climb like a steady 5%, or is undulating with some short downhills mixed in? Is the descent as bad I've heard? I've been hearing tales of rolled tubulars, cattle guards, and helicopter medi-vacs. Is the race pretty well sorted out on the climb, or will 50 cat 4's make it over together?

Please share your experience and any tips. I know a handful of you have done this
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Old 05-17-07, 03:29 PM
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The race will break apart almost immediately, there is one short downhill after you make it over the first ridge. It will continue to break apart as you complete the climbing to the summit. You will find yourself alone or in a small group (likely less than 20 riders) as you head over the top. The descent is twisting and very technical, and yes, several people were Medi-vac'd out last year, there were two hard crashes in my race (45 1/2/3) alone.

You will go over a bunch of small to medium rollers, check your odometer, and realize you still have over 25 miles to the finish. One more climb, and another somewhat less technical descent to the finish.

It's in the top 3 for the hardest races up here IMHO. Last year I had some fit issues on the new bike, had back cramps almost immediately, finished the race in the top ten, and felt every mile for the next three months.

It's a beast at race pace.
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Old 05-17-07, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
My anxiety level isn't high enough, please tell me about the Mt Hamilton Classic and how bad the descent is. so I can work myself up even more

I'll be making the trip up north on Memorial Day weekend with a couple of friends to race in the cat 4's. I know the climb is ~4500' over 20 miles, and I've heard some nasty war stories about the descent. Is the climb like a steady 5%, or is undulating with some short downhills mixed in? Is the descent as bad I've heard? I've been hearing tales of rolled tubulars, cattle guards, and helicopter medi-vacs. Is the race pretty well sorted out on the climb, or will 50 cat 4's make it over together?

Please share your experience and any tips. I know a handful of you have done this
Here's another nasty war story. I broke my T7 vertebrae on that descent. It was very stupid, i took a corner way too fast and ended up endoing into a ditch at about 30 mph. Its a great race but don't get to worked up about losing time on that descent. If you're a half-decent climber, there's still plenty of time to make it up since the rest of the course is still pretty hilly.

There was a heli medivac the year I was there, I wasn't in it (in retrospect probably shoulda been) some kid wrecked while warming up and was unconsious.
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Old 05-17-07, 03:48 PM
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Do I need to bring a trainer and warm-up? Most of the road races around here, there's not much need to, but it l don't want to miss the train if guys are killing it at the start of the climb.
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Old 05-17-07, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
Do I need to bring a trainer and warm-up? Most of the road races around here, there's not much need to, but it l don't want to miss the train guys are killing it at the start of the climb.
Guys will kill it at the start of the climb.
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Old 05-17-07, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Guys will kill it at the start of the climb.
Thanks, I'll be getting a good warm-up.
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Old 05-17-07, 05:47 PM
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re: the descent...past 2 years have seen riders helicoptered out. It's narrow, twisty, and steep. The road surface is actually fairly decent, but there are cattle grates sprinkled over it just to keep you on your toes.

I'm riding the M35+ Cat 4 and avoiding the big climb. Yes, I am wussy.

See ya out there, Pat, good luck!
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Old 05-17-07, 06:12 PM
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One more note on the descent, there are no guard rails and sharp hairpins with long drops that can be intimidating... also one left hand turn with a cattle guard in the middle of it, that ones a little scarey.
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Old 05-17-07, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
My anxiety level isn't high enough, please tell me about the Mt Hamilton Classic and how bad the descent is. so I can work myself up even more

I'll be making the trip up north on Memorial Day weekend with a couple of friends to race in the cat 4's. I know the climb is ~4500' over 20 miles, and I've heard some nasty war stories about the descent. Is the climb like a steady 5%, or is undulating with some short downhills mixed in? Is the descent as bad I've heard? I've been hearing tales of rolled tubulars, cattle guards, and helicopter medi-vacs. Is the race pretty well sorted out on the climb, or will 50 cat 4's make it over together?

Please share your experience and any tips. I know a handful of you have done this
the climb is actually three climbs with short descents in between. i've made the climb quite a few times and it's steepest at the end, which is probably 8-10% in areas.

good luck!

ed rader
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Old 05-17-07, 08:10 PM
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I did this race in 1991 so my memory isn't crystal clear but I remember the climb being like the first 5 miles of GMR for 20 miles. I think you will be OK on the descent. I am not a fanatical descender and I don't remember having any problem keeping up with what was left of the Pro/1-2 field (I was in the 2nd group of about 10 guys). I was surprised at how much climbing there was after Mt. Hamilton. Remember my disclaimer: I did this race a long time ago and I was 17 at the time.
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Old 05-17-07, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 'nother
re: the descent...past 2 years have seen riders helicoptered out. It's narrow, twisty, and steep. The road surface is actually fairly decent, but there are cattle grates sprinkled over it just to keep you on your toes.

I'm riding the M35+ Cat 4 and avoiding the big climb. Yes, I am wussy.

See ya out there, Pat, good luck!
I'll be doing it as a Cat5, so will be avoiding the madness also. See you there. I just hope I won't get dropped on the first climb like last year.
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Old 05-17-07, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
I'll be doing it as a Cat5, so will be avoiding the madness also. See you there. I just hope I won't get dropped on the first climb like last year.
Hey, you should have enough starts to upgrade to 4 by now...? Or not?
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Old 05-17-07, 08:57 PM
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racing in the 4's

see you guys and gals up there
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Old 05-17-07, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 'nother
Hey, you should have enough starts to upgrade to 4 by now...? Or not?
Yes... I am just being a wussy, and honestly not sure if I am strong enough for fours. I will be applying for upgrade after Mt. Hamilton, probably. Then shortly after moving to Irvine to become a broke student with no time to ride again, but thats another story.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:06 PM
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You might want to bring extra water in your jersey if it's hot. There's a feed zone a little bit after the main climb, but I needed something extra.

The race will be decided on the main climb, though there's still some climbing throughout the rest of the race, so it's possible to make up some time. As others have said, be careful on the descent. Don't be the person who leaves by helicopter this year.

Also, map out the nearest In-N-Out. There is nothing better than a double-double, fries, and a shake after that race.

I'd recommend the Sunday crit too. It was fun, and pretty safe.

[edit] Don't forget, burger must be animal style.
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Old 05-18-07, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by grebletie
The race will be decided on the main climb
In some of the races it came down to the second climb. No much left of a front group at that point though.

Good luck to all, I'll be healing and prepping for Hood so I'm giving it a pass this year...
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Old 05-18-07, 10:50 AM
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Sorry I don't know the start and finish locations, but here's a profile of the climb:
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Hamilton Profile.doc (69.5 KB, 17 views)
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Old 05-18-07, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Sorry I don't know the start and finish locations, but here's a profile of the climb:
Thanks, looks like it start and ends with a kick, but the middle looks pretty steady.
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Old 05-18-07, 11:45 AM
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Start and finish as the crow flys (pretty much):

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=966176
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Old 05-19-07, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
Please share your experience and any tips. I know a handful of you have done this
I did it a long time ago as a Cat 4...

It was cold and drizzling at the start... and snow was reported to be falling at the top. I wasn't expecting this of weather, so all I'd brought from So Cal were arm warmers and an undershirt. I started in the back of a full field, but the field split in two almost immediately. I bridged up to the front, and when the climb really started, there were only 7 of us left. Pace was a little high for me, but I was able to hang with this group for the first climb, the first descent, and most of the main climb. The higher we went the colder it got. The rain stopped, but then it was foggy... thick fog... like you couldn't see more than a few dozen feet up the road.

As we got closer to the summit, the pace increased, and I watched my companions disappear into the fog one by one. I was last... and struggling at this point. I didn't know how much longer the climb was, but it seemed to take forever. It was surreal... just chugging along on the wet roads in the fog... another switchback and another... getting blasted by the wind, and then entering a sheltered calm spot, then getting blasted again. It was cold, but I didn't feel too bad because I was climbing.

After the summit though, it was *really* cold... teeth chattering, hands too numb to grip the brakes kind of cold. That was a painful experience. I just took it slow... I really didn't want to crash. I was by myself anyway, so there was no one pushing the pace.

Down in the valley I slowly got some feeling back and just rode as hard as I could to the finish. I never saw another rider in my race, though I passed a few stragglers from the 3s. When I got to the finish my buddy was there from the Cat 1,2 race... blood caked to his arm, hip, and leg. He had crashed on the descent, but had gotten up and managed to place anyway... so he was in very high spirits.

This was a point to point race and we had no ride back to the start. After begging unsuccessfully for a few minutes, we went out to the highway and hitched a ride in the back of an open pickup. It was drizzling again and none too warm... it was certainly not a comfortable ride, but it got us close to where we needed to go.

Ain't bike racing fun?
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