Not so Lazy Sunday Stroll through San Francisco

Just to change this up a little bit, the crew, or at least the partial crew, decided to do a little stroll through the streets of San Francisco.  Ok, it’s more than a little stroll.  It’ll be a nice change of pace, with no real sustained climbs, but they will be steep.

We started out from Sports Basement in Crissy Field in San Francisco, and it was a really nice day.  There were no clouds in the sky, and it was almost like a postcard day.  It was still cool enough where we needed arm warmers and a vest, but it wasn’t bone chillingly cold like it was on Saturday.

Right off the bat, we started climbing.  Ugh, this was a bad sign … off the back already, we hardly went a mile into the ride.  Here I am with my triple, while Ramon and Michael are there, touting the benefits of their compact double, all while I am just struggling to pedal.  As I struggle, I say f#$k it … granny gear, and continue on this short climb.  They’re still waiting for me, but hell if I’m going to give up my triple.

The next several miles would be a continual spike up, spike down … pitches were significant, but they were short distances.  The one saving grace here is the climbs are not long or sustained.  I guess if you were strong enough, you could sprint up each of these hills, given enough strength.  Hey, I’m just fortunate enough to ride with these guys!

This was just a warm up.  We somehow wound our way back to the cars again.  Nice way to bail, huh?  That would be the calm before the storm, because the bulk of the climbing was now just awaiting us.  Upcoming … Divasadero, which is hella steep, Filbert, short but even steeper, Twin Peaks, which gives us a nice view of the city, and then Dalewood, which is even steep steep steeper!

Now this is Divasadero from a distance.  Just contemplate here … some cars struggle just to get up the hill, and sometimes roll backwards at an intersection … and we are climbing this on our bikes????

This was like a stair step … you climb your way to the first intersection, then it flattens out.  Then, climb some more, and repeat this until you reach all the way to the top.  The problem here is this street has traffic, and with the cars parked on the side of the road, if you are not careful, you could have someone pull out, while you are struggling up this hill … and you’re only going 4-6 mph (at least that’s what I’m doing).  Then when you get up to the top, you look back and are in awe.

Ok, next up is Filbert.  Now this is short but steep.  This part of Filbert is a one way street … one way in the opposite direction of where we are going.  This is about half the distance of Fargo St in LA (the steepest paved road in LA at 33%), but I’m not sure if Filbert is that steep.  My Garmin only posts it as 20%, but I’ve been told it’s a 31% grade.  At least I now know what Fargo St is like.  When I was climbing this, there was a car coming down, so I couldn’t tack this climb.  I eventually lost my leverage, and had to dismount.  I tried in vain to mount back up, and continue climbing, but it was a no go.  Even trying to zig or zag, wouldn’t do.  I could not balance myself on this, so I ended up walking this hill.  I remember thinking, this is so steep, it’s hard walking up the hill, especially in cycling shoes!

Whew, made it up this .. now for an easy hill up twin peaks.  No, seriously, it is easy, compared to Divasadero and Filbert.  You gotta remember the type of hills we’re doing here.

What’s also ironic here is when you look at a glance at the elevation profile, this is the highest peak on the ride, but it’s probably the easiest of the significant hills.  But in the end, the reward is the amazing view at the top, over looking the city.

And now the cream of the crop awaits us … Dalewood.  This is one steep climb … after a while, we were thinking about this ride, and we think this can be categorized as a “Howie Long tough guys” ride.  The last time we did this, it was reported that this was a 26-27% grade, even though my Garmin only registered 20% (probably because I was zig-zagging so much, that the average grade suffered).

This picture doesn’t tell it all, and I didn’t take a picture at the steep part, because I wanted to finish the climb … but I think you get the hint from this teaser:

By the time we got back to the cars, we exceeded our litmus test … 1000 feet per 10 mile.  We ended up with a whopping 36.8 miles, and 4142 feet climbing.  Wow, and I could still walk on Monday after this ride.  I just my fitness is helping me here, not being a vegetable a day after the ride.  It was a nice change of pace, where the emphasis was on climbing, and who cared how many miles we did.  We had a blast!

To see more pics I took on this ride, go to http://spingineer.smugmug.com/Cycling/Streets-of-San-Francisco/10358815_42VFW#716917775_MJ99L

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