Windtunnel Mountain … aka San Bruno Mountain

San Bruno Mountain is the last of the Bay Area peaks that I have yet to climb … I’ve done them all … Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Umunum, Redwood Gulch, Montebello Blvd, Mt. Hamilton, Marshall Wall … but the only one I haven’t done is San Bruno Mountain … until now. Friday, Richard (Beaker) led an after work ride, starting in Brisbane (Ca, not Australia), to go up San Bruno Mountain. We had a good turnout, considering it was a weekday. Michael (mellum76), Mateo (pelikan), and myself showed up, at 4:30 pm.

I made pretty good time … I manage to leave the office at 3:30 pm, from Sunnyvale, and got there in 45 minutes, on a Friday afternoon. But perhaps rush hour didn’t kick in till around 4:30 pm?
Mateo led us on a warmup loop … warmup? Just leaving the parking lot, it felt like I was in a windtunnel. I guess if it weren’t for the heavy winds, it would be a nice relaxing warmup, but this was definitely more than just a warmup … it was resistance training, without putting any resistance on the bike. After we finished that lap, Mateo goes to me and says “we can do another lap, or just head up” … I was thinking, the warmup was hard …. nah, don’t need another lap, let’s just go for it.
I have no idea what the wind gusts were, but it really made just turning the crank really difficult. Considering the terrain, I just figured this is how it is here … I mean it is near S. San Francisco!
I settled into my customary position, at the tail end … even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get any closer … the combined wind and hill climb just wiped out all sense of energy I had.
Finally, we make the right turn towards the entrance to San Bruno Mountain. Ya know what … the wind calmed down. I guess Seven Cities Dr. is just really windy … worse than a wind tunnel. I bet Dave Zabriskie or Levi Leipheimer would be able to use this to gage how well their wind tunnel testing has been doing.
Finally, reaching the entrance gate to San Bruno Mountain. At this point, Mateo had to head for home, so it was just me, Richard, and Michael.
What’s nice here is no traffic! The ride over while on Seven Cities and Hillside was just brutal, with the rough combination of traffic, head winds, and hills. At least there is no traffic here, and to begin with, there is not the heavy head winds we had down below.
As I was first climbing, this reminded me a lot of Trash Truck Hill, which I did once with my pals ME and Herb near Griffith Park in Southern California. It had just gorgeous views, with a nice view of Twin Peaks in the background.
Soon after the first bend, that wind that we saw before … it came back again. But I figure this is good for me, I gotta keep on charging at my slow, but persistent pace. I could see Richard and Michael in the distance … wow, they are strong.

I see the radio towers closer and closer, and I am nearing the top. As I approach the top, Richard and Michael are there to greet me. The one thing I notice was the wind howling as it goes over the top of the mountain. I wish I had a quality audio recorder to record the sound of the wind, howling across. It’s almost like something from a movie.

Of course the highlight of San Bruno Mountain are the radio towers. Hopefully, we are not absorbing harmful radio waves while we are up here.
It started getting cold, so after a few pics, back down the mountain. Coming downhill presented us with more wind … descending with heavy head wind …. now this makes descending, shall we say, interesting??? All it takes is one sudden gust of wind, and it can knock you off the bike. As soon as we got out of the exposed area, it was much better. Now for the fun part, back onto the streets, and onto a fast downhill. Coming down Guadalupe, it was very easy to pick up some high speeds. It got a max speed of 47 mph, but I was also braking quite a bit, for fear of catching a pocket of head wind.
Now, during this entire ride, I thought these wind conditions were normal for San Bruno … but then I hear from others how stiff the wind was this day. I guess this is not normal, and windier than normal … I guess I was lucky enough to catch it, and ride in it.
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