Karen came up to visit in the Bay Area, so we decided to do Quimby and Sierra. We did Quimby once before, so she knows how intense that climb is. This time, we are adding Sierra into the mix. She’s heard so much about Sierra, so it’s time to acquaint her with Sierra.
I decided to start the ride at the base of Mt. Hamilton, so we can get some warm up climbs in. We started out looking for a road that climbs up that would take us down to eventually meet up with Quimby, but I got ourselves lost. In fact, I found ourselves going around in a circle. So much for using the Garmin for mapping out route. However this did give us a really short, but very steep hill, just to get our legs used to the pain.
Ok, over to Quimby we go. This is the first time doing Quimby on the Volagi, compact double, so I have a little fear that I won’t be able to make it up, since the previous times were with a triple. First time for everything, right?
Karen is a stronger climber than me, so I tried to stay with her on the hill as long as I can. That kinda helped me get a PR on the first third of Quimby segment, but was not able to maintain that for the whole climb.
The upper section was definitely much tougher. I got into my lowest gear possible to try to soon as much as I could up, but sometimes the intensity of the grade makes it difficult to spin. At this point I was wondering whether or not I should have brought the Seven.
Cadence was much slower but was still able to spin the cranks. I get to the last switchback, which is the toughest, and I stand, lean in, tack, do anything to keep moving. No matter what, I did not want to get off the bike. Somehow I made it through, and finally get up to the top, and well deserved rest, waiting for my heartbeats to go down to a respectable level.
We now descend Mt. Hamilton Road. Quimby actually takes us halfway up Hamilton, so after a few rollies, a nice descent back to the start. I had my baselayer on and it was way too warm for that, so I took that off, dumped it in the car.
Off to Sierra we go, following the DMD route markers on the street. I tell Karen to look up at what’s ahead, and OMG was the reaction. Let the suffering begin.
I normally do this climb as the first one of the day, but I already have a lot of climbing done in the legs, so I’m not expecting a great time on this. Karen paces up ahead of me, so it’s just me, the shadows off my wheel that I’m looking at on the ground, the sound of my rotor, and the sound of rubber as in climbing this. There’s nothing else v on my mind at this point, just concentrating on pedaling, and hearing those sounds of solitude.
There are a number of riders on this road (more than on Quimby) and all of them passing me. At least that gave me something else too concentrate on, but I still didn’t want to look up too much. I needed to stay within my own pace. Once again, I had to fight within myself to keep pedaling, and not stop, no matter how much my legs were screaming. I’m just remembering what it has printed on my bike … the will to go. Encouragement from the guys passing me also helps. That’s what I love about cycling and climbing these hills … a deep respect.
One final push … I see a group waiting at the top, and just pedaling with enough force just to keep moving. I’m definitely not making a final sprint up to the summit like I normally do. Success at last.
After a final rest, it’s over the other side and a descent down to go back to the cars. We were originally thinking of extending the ride, but I think our legs were saying enough. Besides, it’s not about the miles today, it’s all about the climbing. Awesome ride. Awesome climbfest!
Here’s the strava link … short but epic http: //app.strava.com/activities/53675317
Great work and great write up!
Thanks Tony. Always like to keep my readers entertained, no matter how crazy they think I am.
Thanks for the write-up, Ron! One of these days, I’d like to do this very ride. You should set up a “Liesurely Climb up Quimby with a Sierra Chaser” on the ++ group as an “intermediate” ride. 😉
I don’t know if it’s possible to go up Quimby leisurely