Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Road Riding: My First Ride Up Mt Hamilton

[Note: this TR was first posted to the forum.]

I’d heard so much about Mount Hamilton, so I got really excited when Delbomber and Mud made a plan to ride it this Sunday. However, this morning when I got up at 5:30am, the excitement was replaced by anxiety.

39mph gust (at 6:18am) on Mount Hamilton? It would blow me right off the mountain! But we left home anyway become Delbomber was meeting us at Patterson at 9am. Driving faster than Google Maps predicted, we arrived at Patterson 20 minutes ahead of schedule. It’s a small establishment off of Highway 5. Off the highway, the first thing that one sees is the canal.

We might as well go surfing in the canal!

Having poor skills on my bike, I’m always scared of anything that could discourse my bike. The wind was just too much for me, so I decided to bail from the ride. I ensured the guys that I would be fine because I had a book I would love to read in the car while they were gone.

Improvised bicycling hat

Two brave ones

After they rode away into the wind, I changed my mind — it would be more fun to drive the course and take pictures of these two guys suffering in the wind. Plus, I’d never been to Lick Observatory (on the summit of Mt Hamilton) anyway. I took my time and had some sweets and coffee at Starbucks before I got on their route. Less than a mile away, the route takes a right turn onto Del Puerto Canyon Rd. For the first 5 miles or so, the head wind was still farocious. I was happy to have the shelter of the car. However, soon I noticed the peace around me — the wind had died, or more precisely, it was sheltered by the hills and mountains. Sunny and comfortably warm, it was ..erh… perfect… for riding. Oh well, since I have made up my mind to be lazy today, I waved the two guys by when they passed me where I stopped and took pictures.

It is a beautiful canyon

It was a gradual uphill, so I passed them again and arrived at the Junction of Del Puerto Canyon Rd and San Antonio Valley Rd.

It was there I realized that I didn’t have enough gas to get up to the summit and back to Patterson.

25 miles back to Patterson, 38 miles to San Jose, and 31 miles to Livermore. Whichever way I went to get gas, it would have been a very long detour if I wanted to go up to the summit and return to Patterson, which I did still want to do. The only sensible choice I had left was, I hate to say this because the wind at the Junction was pretty strong too (although much better than in Patterson), I rode up to the summit with the guys. So, I hopped on my bike and took the camera with me. With fresh legs, I managed to get ahead and snapped a few shots of Delbomber and Mud.

They must be tired because it looks like they were about to tip over.

Everytime, I pointed my camera at them, I heard them say to each “okay, look cool now,” and they would stop moaning, sit up a bit and squeeze the grimace off of their faces, which only lasted until I turned the camera away.

On the way back, they stopped at the Junction and each had a Jerry’s burger in the restaurant. After the ride, they both agreed that a Jerry’s burger beats any nutrition, energy, sports bar! I believe them because they did the last 27 miles in only about one hour! No cramping. No upset stomach.

Their ride and my ride. I love the symmetric elevation profiles.


Del Puerto Canyon-Mt Hamilton (43.96 mi.) Route Map (one way)

max: 4140ft
min: 89ft
ascent: 5784ft
descent: 3301ft

Other References: