Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Road Biking: Survive Bohlman/On Orbit/Black/Gist

Erik’s post:

Mudworm and I were given an excellent tour of one of the tougher Bay Area loops today.  The ride ended up being about 40 miles and 5,550 Hundred feet of vertical according to my GPS.

A local racer gave us a tour.  He seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of local roads.  This ride we went down Homestead Road then wound around local back roads until we mysteriously came out in Saratoga.  From there we headed up Bohlman road.  This road is incredibly steep with some fairly sustained sections.  It hurt.  From there we turned onto On Orbit.  On Orbit has some steep sections and some rather sustained sections.  My heart rate went well into the 170’s.  At one point I was in my granny gear with the Triple and found myself looking for another gear.

Jimmy when he dropped back was able to talk fairly normal and fill me in on the local history.  Amazing.

At the top a short ride along a fireroad took us to a fun fast decent and dropped us at the bottom of Black road.  Black is steep yet not so bad compared to Bohlman and On Orbit.  We then turned onto Gist with just keeps throwing steep sections at you.  Eventually I had to drop into my granny gear and Jimmy just road away.  After a bit he looked back.  At one point Jimmy and I stop when some dogs came out and waited for Mudworm.  After she came by and they received and scolding from Jimmy we took off at which point my calf seized.  I played it off as though I blew my clipping into my peddle.  We caught Mudworm at Skyline.

From the Skyline and Gist it is about 500 to 700 feet more climbing before the summit and a ripping decent to Foothill Expressway.

From the car we drove over to Los Altos to have coffee with Jimmies Wife and the 4 Month old son.  We beat Jimmy there by about 2 minutes.  He road his bike.

It was an incredible day finished off with a few hours at the gym.  When ever I sat around by calf’s would twitch reminding me of one of the tougher days in the saddle for quite some time.

Here’s to sweat in your eye

My post:

Whew, survived. For a moment, it didn't seem that I would. People seem to consider On Orbit harder than Bohlman, but for me the toughest pitch was on Bohlman. At one point, I thought I would tip over.  So I felt great that I did not get off my bike.

Jimmy was impressive. He raced pro (against people like Lance Armstrong) when he was younger. Although retired from racing, he is still not your average recreational cyclist. He sports a double crankset. When I was dying pushing my granny gear, he rode in circles around me. Wow!

Distance (mi)     39.0
Elevation Range (ft)    202 – 3110
Total Ascent (ft)    6188
Moving Time    03h 31m 25s
Stopped Time    00h 09m 57s
Average Speed (mph)    10.6

2 Responses

  1. Eoinon 17 Jun 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Nice post.
    I came across this because I rode up Bohlman/On-Orbit yesterday and was curious to read up a bit more on this climb, which is definitely the steepest climb I’ve come across in the the South Bay. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one who who found it at the limits of their capabilities. I struggled up slowly on 34-26 gearing but would have paid good money yesterday afternoon if someone had offered me an instant conversion to a triple chainring 🙂
    Who is the ex-pro Jimmy that you mention?


  2. mudwormon 20 Jun 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Eoin, thanks for leaving your comment. I regret to report that we’ve lost touch with Jimmy since, but I’m forever grateful that he introduced us to Bohlman – On Orbit.