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Toughest Bay Area climbs

Old 06-29-11, 10:53 AM
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bobonker
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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
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Old 06-29-11, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
4. Mt Diablo from Danville <--- The easy side
Bob
I vote for Alba Rd in Boulder Creek.
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Old 06-29-11, 11:28 AM
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Lots of Silicon Valley hills rated here: https://www.westernwheelers.org/main/...BA_Climbs.html
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Old 06-29-11, 11:42 AM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 01:06 PM
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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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Old 06-29-11, 01:25 PM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 01:26 PM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 01:28 PM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 01:30 PM
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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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Old 06-29-11, 01:35 PM
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Is this the Pine Flat mentioned above?

https://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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Old 06-29-11, 01:47 PM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 01:59 PM
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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.
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Old 06-29-11, 04:00 PM
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Jameson Creek is pretty tough but Welch Creek gets my monster of the Bay Area vote.

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

unless you bring off road into the equations then there are some absolutely brutal fire roads out there......
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Old 06-29-11, 05:39 PM
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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?
Originally Posted by bobonker View Post
Is this the Pine Flat mentioned above?

https://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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Old 06-29-11, 05:58 PM
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bobonker
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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
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Old 06-29-11, 06:03 PM
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No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
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Old 06-29-11, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
That one has to be the toughest!
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Old 06-29-11, 08:52 PM
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hicks-a-hum is not what people usually refer to as easy. ~5 mi ~10%

https://app.strava.com/segments/611999
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Old 06-29-11, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rumbutter View Post
Jameson Creek is pretty tough but Welch Creek gets my monster of the Bay Area vote.

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

unless you bring off road into the equations then there are some absolutely brutal fire roads out there......
Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
No one mentions Marin Ave in Berkeley?
My top two
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Old 06-29-11, 09:44 PM
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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?



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Old 06-29-11, 10:23 PM
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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...
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Old 06-29-11, 10:44 PM
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welch creek is also not easy

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Old 06-29-11, 11:23 PM
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Cat Hill climb. You start to notice after few laps.
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Old 07-01-11, 01:01 AM
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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!
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Old 07-01-11, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bam View Post
hicks-a-hum is not what people usually refer to as easy. ~5 mi ~10%

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