Both Sides of Hamilton

This was an epic ride.  The ride was advertised as a 94 mile ride with 11,400 feet climbing.  Needless to say, this is not for the weak or weary.

There was a good turnout.  Marco, Ruth, Ramon, Michael, tall Chris, Ben, Donald, Matthew and I all came out.

The start of the ride went past Hamilton, and went onto Crothers Rd, for a warmup climb, to prepare us for Quimby.  Heavy rains eroded large portions of the road, which made it impossible to ride through in one section.  This made us have to walk our bike around the obstacle … and just our luck, right in the middle of the climb.

As we started the climb on Quimby, the weather was just perfect for climbing Quimby.  It was overcast, and very slight mist.  Good move to have the start so early, so we wouldn’t be suffering so much on Quimby.  I hung in with Michael and Chris, and we all helped each other complete this climb.  Thanks guys.  Wound up with a time of 35 minutes climbing this.  Just for comparison, when Marco did the LKHC, he did this in 25 minutes.  But hey, I made it without walking!  BTW, first time I climbed Quimby, I had to walk it, which immediately prompted me to swap out a double for a triple.

After a quick water stop, next destination is Kinkaid.  Something got into me, and suddenly I found myself at the front, drafting behind Ramon and Donald.  WTF?  I’m climbing up with the big boys!  What was even funnier was Donald looking back, and suddenly seeing me there.  Hey, what can I say … I was feeling good.  It wasn’t like I was really straining to keep up.  But it would catch up with me … we stopped at one potty stop, and regrouped.  After that, and some descending, I fell back, and when climbs started, I reeled back in my traditional position … in the back.

After regrouping at Kinkaid, it down into the canyon.  No one had ever been down Kinkaid before, so this would be an adventure for all of us.  What you’ll notice immediately is how smooth the road is.  Most of the time, when you go down into a canyon, it rough, cobble-stone like, but not this one.  The road was smooth as silk, and like riding on butter.

Kinkaid is not completely all downhill.  It descends 500 feet at a bridge, and we all thought this was the end … NOT.  We start climbing and climbing … and 500 feet later, we finally reach the end.

Now that we’ve come this far, time to head back, exactly where we came from … which means another down then up.  What I realize here is how close we are to the backroad canyons, ones that you would normally not see while on the climb to Hamilton.

If you look really closely, you’ll see the Mt. Hamilton Observatory in the distance.  That’s our next destination.

After getting back to Hwy 130, it’s onto the observatory.  My pace up the hill is not as vigorous as it was earlier in the ride, so I am stuck in the back again.  I do see Marco and Ruth in my sights, and I reach deep down, and get to within 100 yards, but could not close the gap any further.  Little did I know, they decided to kick it up another gear, and there goes the gap.  At this point, I’m running low on water, and that observatory better come soon.  With about one drink left on my bottle, I finally reach the observatory.  Whew!

Of course, when you’re up here, you gotta take a scenic picture.

I was originally going to just head back to the start, but everyone else was going down the backside (a really long out and back).  But I was not going to be the only one to go back, so I ended up going too.

It’s 17 miles out to “The Junction”, near Del Puerto Rd.  The descent is steep and fast.  But as I said before, where you’ve gone down, you’ve gotta come up.

After about 8-9 miles descending, the terrain goes flatter, and then come the rollies.  It’s still at least another 12 miles, and it just keeps going on and on.  Michael got really fed up with it for a while, and graciously waited for me.  Big big thank you, Michael.  That really made the ride over the last 6 miles a little more saner (even though we were both bitchin’ and moaning about the ride).

We finally got to a junction, but both of us, for the life of us, couldn’t really see where this restaurant is.  Then, suddenly, Donald comes by and rescues us, and leads the way to where everyone is munching on lunch.  It may not be much, but at least it is food.

By the time we finish lunch, and on the way back, it’s around 3pm.  Everyone is eager to get the hell out of here, and everyone tries to get into whatever draft they can.  I was lucky enough to hook up with Michael and Chris.  Chris … thank you for the huge draft.  Of course, the fast boys tucked in with Marco and Ruth, but they were so far ahead of me, I couldn’t tell where they were.  Unfortunately, Matt was one that didn’t take advantage of it.  Sorry Matt … that must have been tough battling the headwinds alone.

The long climb started with about 8 miles to go.  We can see the mile markers painted visibly on the road.  It’s kind of good, but kind of bad to see these.  I think the hardest part of the climb came between 2-3 miles from the top.  After about 10,000 feet of climbing, you start reaching for any type of energy you have in you.

Seeing the 120 inch telescope observatory was such a welcome sight.  This meant I am just minutes away from the top.  The gang were hanging out, and Ramon had bought cokes for everyone, before they closed.  Thanks a bunch Ramon … that really felt good.

Totals … 94.1 miles, with 12,092 feet of climbing.  This was one of the toughest rides I’ve ever done, and definitely the toughest non-organized ride.  It definitely is the most climbing I have done for the entire year in one ride.  This ride was definitely epic!

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5 Responses to Both Sides of Hamilton

  1. Pete says:

    Hey Ron, Great ride report…glad I missed it! : )
    You guys have gone up a quantum level with the sick rides!
    Really good photos too.
    At some point I may get back in the groove to ride with you guys again.

  2. Beaker says:

    This sounds like a great ride, suffering and all. Nice job, Ron.

  3. jack says:

    jesus h. christ, i got sweaty just reading this, so many months after you did this ride. i don’t know why you’ve not tried death ride yet: you get at least a bragging rights jersey. this one, you pretty much just get to blog about it only. where is the glory?!?! good work!

    • sevencyclist says:

      Thanks Jack. There is a slight difference … Death Ride is at altitude, and there are more people there to watch you suffer. On this, I don’t many people saw me suffer. It was a great ride, and one that I will never forget. Gotta thank Marco for this one.

  4. Pingback: 2009 Year in Review « Sevencyclist's Blog

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