Halloween Hamilton

Henry (Blastradius on Bikeforums) had suggested a ride up Hamilton next week, but I had suggested, “Hey, why not make this a Halloween ride” … well sure.  So we got a pretty nice group going for this out and back.  Marco and Ruth had to cancel, and Ramon had a really late night at work, so the usuals weren’t on this ride.

When I got to the school, Joel was already there.  He’s from the Sacramento area, and he brought his friend Anthoni with him.  Wow, he’s a strong rider … young too.  He’s got the legs and the strength to be a racer.  That’s Anthoni on the left and Joel on the right.

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The day started out a bit overcast … okay, foggy.  I have noticed that Santa Clara does get quite foggy sometimes, and it usually clears up by the time I get to the peninsula, but on the San Jose side, it still stuck around.   At around 9:05 am, we all rolled off.

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It’s always difficult to get into a groove on Hamilton, especially when you almost immediately start the climbs.  It might have been more beneficial to ride to the start, but that’s adding an extra 40 miles to the day … oh well, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I let Joel and Anthoni that the route is a straight shot up to the observatory and back.  With this knowledge, Anthoni sprinted up the hill like there was no tomorrow.  Wow, he really shot up fast, and that was the last we’d see of him until we met him again at the observatory.  He’ll probably be a CAT racer soon.  About a mile into the climb, Alex (UmneyDurak) comes whizzing by.  He rode from his house, so I guess he was running a little late.  Still, he was able to pass me pretty easily.

After a few miles of climbing, we started to break out of the fog, and we saw blue skies and sunshine.  This was a good sign of a great day ahead of us.

We had a mini-regroup at Grant Park (only because who knows where Alex and Anthoni is up ahead).  That’s about the halfway point to the top of the climb.  It came just at the right time, especially after downing a cup of coffee, just before the start of the ride.

Just a side note, doesn’t Henry look so good descending here???  Showing off the BF kit really well 🙂

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Anyhow, I rode up ahead of Henry, Mateo, and Alice, but was in catch up mode with Joel and Erik.  I actually fell behind just because I wanted to get some pics … isn’t that always the case?  I was able to see Erik in my sight, but never could reel him all the way in.  About 1.5-2 miles from the top, I could see Henry, Mateo, and Alex (who had come back down the hill to ride up it with them) on the other side of the hairpin.  I had checked behind me numerous times, and did not see anyone, until now.  I was trying my hardest not to get past by anyone … until this point.  I got passed just before making the right turn up to the observatory.  At this point, I had nothing left to attack to reel them back in.

I made it to the top in 2:04.  Not quite the 2 hour barrier I wanted to complete it in, but that’s not too bad either.

After a quick re-group, it’s back down the hill and onto Pho for lunch.  Actually, it’s not all down hill … there were a few bumps coming on the way back.  What’s tough about that is you are descending for quite a while, not pedaling, then suddenly you’ve got to do a climb.  That’s brutal, but at least it didn’t last too long.  Joel was so wanting not to climb any more, as the grind up to the Observatory took a lot out of him.  Took a lot out of me too, but I knew what was coming ahead of us.  Knowing the hill does definitely have its advantages.

Totals … 38.2 miles, 5053 feet climbing.

GPS stats:  http://ridewithgps.com/trips/4918

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