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-   -   Shannon-Kennedy-Hicks (https://www.bikeforums.net/northern-california/471939-shannon-kennedy-hicks.html)

spingineer 09-30-08 09:26 PM

Shannon-Kennedy-Hicks
 
Seeing Ty's post, it inspired me to try this ride. I did this a long time ago, but not aware of all the gotchas in this area. I was thinking of hopping onto Shannon, then over to Kennedy, and onto Hicks. I figure I would complete the loop by going on Alamitos, then Almaden, and then Almaden Expy. However, I'm not sure how busy, hectic, rough it would be on Almaden. Does this seem like a doable route? Or is it too boring, and not worth it?

MarkoPolo 09-30-08 11:46 PM


Originally Posted by spingineer (Post 7580079)
I was thinking of hopping onto Shannon, then over to Kennedy, and onto Hicks. I figure I would complete the loop by going on Alamitos, then Almaden, and then Almaden Expy. However, I'm not sure how busy, hectic, rough it would be on Almaden. Does this seem like a doable route? Or is it too boring, and not worth it?

I ride this area fairly often... It's actually Kennedy that runs into Shannon and then to Hicks, although both Kennedy and Shannon are nice little climbs with very little traffic. Kennedy is a little higher and the downhill is a little more technical (i.e. sharp switchbacks). The Hicks/Alamitos part also has almost no traffic. The lower end of Hicks is pretty straightforward with a relatively gradual climb, but once you cross the cattleguard its a really steep mile to the top. The hardcore climbers take the right at the top of Hicks and do the up and back on Mt. Umunhum Rd towards the old Air Force radar installation.

Here's a link describing the Hicks climb from Western Wheelers

Once back down the other side I like to stop at the small mining museum in Old Almaden to refill water and have a short break at the picnic tables there. You can then follow the road which is now Old Almaden, to Almaden Expressway, which is really busy, but does have a pretty wide shoulder and is doable, but not much fun. Before I hit the Expressway, I usually take the jog right on Mckean and either head out towards Calero Reservoir, or go straight where it turns into Harry Road and then a left on Camden which roughly parallels Almaden Expressway for a while before crossing it. It has a little traffic but is not too bad. Most of the time, I stay on Camden and head back towards Los Gatos. If you feel the need to climb more, simply turn left off of Camden back onto Hicks and about a mile later, turn right onto Shannon and do the reverse climb.

If you decide to skip the extra climb, stay on Camden, turn left on Blossom Hill, right on Harwood, and left on Los Gatos/Almaden Road which will take you back to Los Gatos Blvd. I don't recommend taking Blossom Hill all the way back to Los Gatos as there is a little climb with no shoulder and lots of traffic buzzing by your left shoulder.

I guess i would rate 3/4 of the ride as rural-pretty, almost no traffic and a lot of fun, with 1/4 relatively mundane. Definitely worth the effort though. I'm traveling the next few weekends, but if you want to wait til the weekend of the 18th, I can join you on the ride (as long as you are willing to wait for me at the top of Hicks!)

spingineer 10-01-08 12:00 AM

Cool ... I think I'll go for the Hicks/Alamitos loop. The last time I did it, we went up Hicks, then made a right turn at Hicks, for bathroom break, then headed back home ... an out and back. That was about 8 years ago. Maybe this time I'll go all the way to Alamitos.

I'm actually not going to be available next week and the week after, so this week is the time to do it.

Anyone else want to join? I guess you could call this the alternate to the knee replacement ride ... :lol:

Ty.S 10-01-08 01:12 AM

This ride is pretty much in my backyard, sadly I'll be working, and as of right now, my bike has no stem:eek: Long story, but more boring then long, basically I have no bike. I'm pretty familiar with the area so if you tell me the route you're thinking of taking, start/end all that stuff, I can basically tell you what to expect and where. Hicks from the North side, regardless of which way you do this climb, just make sure that you get to hicks in the morning, the afternoon heat in that little valley adds what feels like an extra 10% to the gradient.

spingineer 10-01-08 07:55 AM

Here is the route I plotted from home:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...-Shannon-Hicks

Ty.S 10-01-08 03:15 PM

Here you go Ron.. I even made a cue sheet for you. Again, this is only my suggestion. The route I put here is good for avoiding most traffic.. and crossing certain areas. When you're coming down Shannon Rd. You will hit some random stop signs. DO NOT BLAST THEM! You have been warned :)

Enjoy the ride.
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...-Hicks-Shannon

BigSean 10-01-08 04:10 PM

I ride this area every week, its my training grounds. Not sure what people see in climbing the steep side of Hicks, or at all for that matter. The downhill sucks!!! I love to climb, but I want to decend also. That said I climb the backside about 6 times a year, mostly because I have forgotten about the decent. Almaden Expy is a easy ride and plenty of room. Ive been buzzed far too much on Camden going through the neighborhood, plus there are stop signs. I usually use the little cut off before Camden to miss part of the Expy, the bike route direction. Kennedy is a great climb for doing repeats on. Its only 5 to 6 minutes and if ya do em all out 5 times you wont want anymore.;)

Ty.S 10-01-08 04:32 PM

I've always had it pretty easy on that stretch of Camden..Almaden Expy for that matter that far down isnt' bad either. I was mostly putting that curve in there for the easy of getting across Almaden.

The North Side of Hicks is a blast man.. usually I can draw some looks from people coming the other direction.. probably along the lines of what you're thinking.. WTF are you doing going this way?? Hey.. its all good to each their own right :) I've never done Hicks from the South Side.. maybe I'll get to that one of these days.., or I'll just keep doing the north side until I can do it without doing a trackstand.:eek:

Steverino 10-01-08 08:48 PM

I think that the ride through New Almaden until you get to McKean, one of the sweetest rides around. Slightly downhill so you can get some real speed, and nice and smooth. One of my favorites, and is the reward for the effort climbing Hicks from the Los Gatos side.

spingineer 10-02-08 05:38 PM

Thanks for all the comments guys. I just hope it doesn't rain on Saturday, which is when I plan on doing this.

hint hint Pete, Ramon, Marco ;)

ahpook 10-02-08 10:52 PM

Why not come do the Montebello LKHC Saturday?


That said, I do like this route and cut my hill climbing teeth on shannon since it was on an extend-o-commute home from work when i started riding a couple years ago.

Riding on almaden expressway is fine with the exception of the 300 yards around the 85 underpass, which is a total nightmare.

spingineer 11-05-08 03:00 PM

Ok, this weekend's about good as any other weekend to do this. Anyone else wanna join me?

1jacktripper 11-05-08 04:01 PM

Crap, just posted another ride thread for this Saturday.....

hmmm...this one actually looks interesting...what do you think is the total ride time, Ron?

spingineer 11-05-08 11:44 PM

I have no idea ... maybe 4 hours ...

CRSturdivant 11-09-08 12:01 PM

I ride Hicks fairly often and the climb is awesome, very challenging. The roads suck though, I always have to watch out for big chunks missing in the road.

Ritterview 11-09-08 10:42 PM

If you are going to do Hicks, heck, go all the way to the summit of Umunhum. On your climb you will encounter The White Line of Death painted in the road. This marks the border where the rights to the road are disputed, with local property owners saying that the road goes over their property. I ignored the WLOD, and continued all the way to the gate. I didn't see anyone, and was rewarded by views of Monterey Bay.

If you go all the way to the gate, it is a climb of 2653 ft, over 5.4 miles, a grade of 9.3%. That makes it perhaps the 4th steepest 5 mile climb in the country, according to The Complete Climb to Climbing (by bike). Nothing boring about that.

starvingdavid 11-10-08 11:35 AM


Originally Posted by Ritterview (Post 7821121)
If you are going to do Hicks, heck, go all the way to the summit of Umunhum. On your climb you will encounter The White Line of Death painted in the road. This marks the border where the rights to the road are disputed, with local property owners saying that the road goes over their property. I ignored the WLOD, and continued all the way to the gate. I didn't see anyone, and was rewarded by views of Monterey Bay.

If you go all the way to the gate, it is a climb of 2653 ft, over 5.4 miles, a grade of 9.3%. That makes it perhaps the 4th steepest 5 mile climb in the country, according to The Complete Climb to Climbing (by bike). Nothing boring about that.

Agreed, crossing the WLOD is well worth it, the views of the Monterey Bay are incredible. There was an article in the Merc a while back stating how both sides were cooling out and may be more willing to have people crossing their property.

That being said, I only went a very short way when I finally made it up to the ridge, as their appeared to be some pretty heavy security cameras in place.

Dion Rides 11-10-08 11:03 PM

The wife and I do the easy going Santa Teresa Blvd. all the way through to Morgan Hill. I do it on a 48/16 fixed gear (Red Motobecane). I do this ride often... stop me to say "Hi" if you see me!

As far as Blossom Hill goes, it's hairy going into Los Gatos with the no shoulder thing going on. I ride Hicks on my SuperMoto motorcycle, and I'm still utterly sketched out from that road given what I see people do in cars on the road. Proceed with caution!

There's also an old guy on a strange recumbent (with a tall American Flag sticking out the top), so be careful as he takes up most of the lane. I'm suprised he hasn't been hit yet.

Ritterview 02-01-09 11:10 PM

Once again, I climbed today past the White Line of Death (WLOD) on Mount Uhmunhum Road. Just as I was nearing the summit, I came across a pick-up truck involved in some work. As I rode past the open window I said "Hi", and as I went past the driver said "Hay", so I went back and talked to him. He told me his name, and said he is one of the local property owners. Local warned me that if I continued I would be at risk of a ticket from one of three jurisdictions, the County (Sheriff), the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, and/or even the Federal Government.

Local personally didn't have any particular problem with cyclists, but there is a Uhmunhum property owner's association which sets the policy to keep the road private. They do things like close the gate every July 4th, as this maintains its designation as a private road. Apparently it all revolves around the McQueen property, over which the road to the summit crosses, and includes the summit tower installation. McQueen's property also has water, upon which other properties are seasonally dependent. The legendary property owner, Loren R. “Mac” McQueen, sadly, left this world in 2007, and his heirs run the enterprise, Communication and Control, Inc. (CCI).

McQueen was described as "gruff on the outside, but with a heart of gold on the inside" (and we know what this means). He was noted for being somewhat ornery, in a colorful "git off my property" sort of way.


Nicknamed the "King of the Mountain," McQueen would patrol his mountain property in a jeep with a gun rack to discourage hikers, bicyclists and motorcyclists from straying from narrowly defined public roads and trails onto his antenna sites....He is survived by his son Scott; and daughters Randee and Lori McQueen.
Local intimated that a plan that had been bandied about for the MPROSD to have the road public, as he specified that in such a case that the road would be open until sunset. Does anyone at MPROSD have any special interest? Local didn't know. Interestingly, Local complained that the MPROSD was supposed to fix the many potholes in the entire road, but its feeble road patching efforts were not done at all above WLOD. I pointed out perhaps the MPRSOSD felt that since the local property owners made a big deal out of keeping their section private, so too locals should be privately responsible for the upkeep of "their" road. Local didn't seem to understand that concept.

Local referred to an original "agreement" between the MPROSD and the local property owners, dating possibly back from the MPROSD took control in 1986. There is a 1988 lawsuit filed by McQueen against MPROSD here. Though the Almaden Air Force Station, was closed down in 1980, the Federal Government still apparently has installation up there of some sort (which might have some bearing on the easement? --speculation).

A lot of discussion of all these issues here.


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