That Chabot-Brandon Hill Climb TT idea-wkly, bi-weekly, mthly?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    That Chabot-Brandon Hill Climb TT idea-wkly, bi-monthly, mthly?

    I started this new thread because the other one was getting long and began on another subject....
    Anyway in that other thread on Lake Chabot.....D.Ambrose proposed the following in his post...
    ================================================== ==============
    Subject- Here's a thought...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Maybe we should have a hillclimb race up the Brandon Grade (first or second bench)."

    "Not to see whose a faster climber that day, but mostly just to push ourselves. With a few others there doing the same thing, I'm thinking we'd all have a little more incentive to push ourselves to a faster pace than normal."

    "Afterwards we can do a Lake Chabot weekday evening ride or something. I know several decent loops of varying length and difficulty through the area. (One of my favorites is combining Lake Chabot, Redwood Park and Joaquin Miller - about 35 miles.)"
    ================================================== ==============

    While some people may have reservations about doing 35 miles after 6:00 PM, or anytime for that matter, it sounds as though several people have expressed some interest in the idea of a small group-personal TT (time trial) on some kind of weekly or bi-monthly or monthly basis.

    I think it was well put when he stated......." mostly just to push ourselves. With a few others there doing the same thing, I'm thinking we'd all have a little more incentive to push ourselves to a faster pace than normal."

    I think its a good idea, that could give everyone some mini fitness goal, no matter what their age or fitness level..... New riders and those who have been climbing that grade for years would get an incentive with a group involved.
    Every week might be too often, but perhaps twice a month might gather some interest from lots of riders aside from the 4 or 5 that have already expressed some interest and are already clocking themselves up that grade. I think interest could grow and who knows, it could attract a dozen or more....
    It could be an interesting reason to meet, do the climb, rest a few minutes and then anyone intested in doing a 15 or 35 mile loop could do so with others so inclined and who had the time........realizing that riders of all sizes, shapes, ages and fitness levels may be able to do the climb at their own pace but may not be able to ride longer loops.

    If it caught on, people could even handicap the climb like the golfers do down below....
    With 15 min climbers taking off 2 minutes prior to the 13 min climbers and those 2 minutes ahead of the 11 min climbers... That way everyone (except the first guy) would have someone up ahead to psychologically "pull" them up the hill as they tried to close the gap. And the first guy could recruit a new 16 min climber to go ahead of him.
    Done correctly, after everyone honed their times,.....it could make for everyone finishing within 30 to 60 seconds of each other at the top....
    And everyone who did well on their own personal time-scale would be a winner. A real incentive for getting in better shape.

    As to the starting and stopping point on that climb....
    I always begin my time just as my wheel clears the entry posts at the edge of the paved golf parking lot........and then, though I check my progress at that first bench a little past the mid point, I don't click my stopwatch until I pass the last tree on the left right at the top. Actually that "last tree on the left" is about 10 to 12 seconds short of the bench at the top but is used by many riders since it is a well defined point right next to the trail....
    But using the bench at the top could also be good since everyone is aware of it and may not have noticed the last tree on the left. Either one is OK.

    The only trouble if this group climb became popular, is that there is only so much space on that bench at the top for people to collapse on, gasping for air, after riding to the edge of death and exhaustion :-)

    I begin my riding around 5:00 from the Oakand end of the park but could ride over to show up at the bottom of the hill around 6:00 PM on Wednesdays.........
    Anything from every Wednesday to a couple times a month, perhaps the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month would be OK for me. Even once a month, like on the 1st Wednesday of every month could be fun.....

    What works for everyone else?

    And give us some thoughts about who would be willing to show up. Include some of your friends if you think they would come along....
    Lets see if the responses indicate that we might get 5 or more particpants......

    But please, remember, there will be random drug tests administered at the top, so no THG or EPO allowed. Jolt soda is OK
    Last edited by Chester; 07-30-2004 at 02:47 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a good idea to me!

    Wednesdays or Thursdays would work for me. Twice a month sounds good too. I normally start my rides between 5/5:30-6pm (I get off work at 4:30pm). I could be at the golf course by 6(ish... give or take a few minutes. I ride there from home).

    I have at least one friend who would definitely be interested (he's challenged me to the same exact thing in the past), and possibly a few others.

    There's lots of options for loops to ride afterwards. You're right, after a hill climb/dirt time trial a 35 miler may not be ideal (at least not a fast one).

    Of course, it won't be much longer before we'll need to start bringing lights regardless of the loop length.

    So anyway, count me in!

  3. #3
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    I would be interested too! But I am not a fast climber but would love to improve my skills and endurance.


    Keep me posted!
    Last edited by massiveattack; 07-30-2004 at 09:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    If you do it on Wed, I'd try to join in. I get to the Nike classroom before 6pm, and reach the Golf course gate to Brandon by 6:15pm roughly.

    Either way, let us know when you plan on setting it up.

  5. #5
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    I'll try it

    I've been up that hill but never timed it. Wednesdays would work for me. Let me know.

    The only TT thing I've ever done is the East Ridge/West Ridge loop (counterclockwise). It's a great workout if you push yourself. I always thought it would be fun to try that with other riders ...

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    Chabot this Wed. sounds like its OK for most people

    No day, date or time is going to be perfect for everyone but we've got to pick one to start the ball rolling.

    It sounds as though most people can do it on this Wednesday at 6:00 PM. This is the first Wednesday of the month and could be a regular thing. We could also add the 3rd Wednesday of every month if enough people want to show up.
    After people make their wishes known the time could be adjusted earlier or later in the afternoon, although as Fall approaches, any later will become a problem.

    Meet at the bottom of the hill in the golf course parking lot. After a few minutes people could start taking off on their runs. There could be a semi staggered start so that less experienced folks could end up at the top about the same time as the more experienced riders.
    Finish line can be either the bench at the top (not the midpoint bench) or the last tree on the left just prior to the bench. Most people are more familiar with the bench.

    A note of caution here......
    This is a self timed ride up the hill. Everyone is on their own pace and should only go as fast as their health and previous riding allows. From reading some of the posts on this and the other Lake Chabot thread, we can see that several riders may have only been riding a few months. Others have been riding longer but have seldom pushed themselves far outside their comfort zone. This climb is not the place to suddenly, for the first time, find out where your absolute maximum limits are. A gradual lowering of your time over months is much safer.
    Also those over 40, or anyone with high blood pressure, or excessive weight, or any family history of cardiovascular problems, or any other medical conditions should take care to follow their own doctors medical advice regarding strenous activity.
    I'm just giving out the same advice I use with my less active friends when I take them for a ride. We're all in our mid 50's and many of them have one of the above conditions...mostly weight, and high blood pressure. In fact I wouldn't take any of them up this climb even at a slow pace because just this one climb would be all they could do for the day. Seriously.....
    This is just meant to be a fun, self paced, climb like any other group ride.

    Of course for all those for whom the above advice doesn't apply and who regularly push themselves hard.............feel free to.....Go for it! :-)

    Let us know who's showing up and if the time works OK.... Bring along a few friends... The more the better

  7. #7
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    Sounds great. I'll try my best to get there by 6pm. I timed myself Sunday morning, and it takes me 10 mn from the Rangers station to the Golf course gate so that'll probably be doable. I also finally broke 15mns (by a few seconds) yesterday huffing and puffing all the way up.

  8. #8
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    I'm in Sunnyvale and normally don't finish early enough to make it over there by 6pm, but I'll see if I can make it either this time or next.

    I've done the hill twice, never timed, probably not that fast. First time was solo, second time was with two other friends, one of which I was able to catch and pass 2/3rds of the way up. Of course, I don't think he was racing and neither was I, at least until I saw him start to fade

  9. #9
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    Great!

    I should be able to make it this Wednesday as well. I've done climb repeats on Brandon but haven't really timed it.

  10. #10
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    Chabot tomorrow? (Wed 8/4)

    6pm at the bottom of Brandon. I'll be there (unless I get caught at work late).

    I rode at the lake tonight and saw a surprising number of other mtb'rs out on the trails. I passed 9 total (4 of them on Brandon).

    I also timed myself going up Brandon. I pushed, but didn't go all out. I was surprised. I did better than I expected. Then I took Redtail into Bort Meadow, wandered around a bit and made my way to Golden Rod. 23 miles total from my door and back. It was a good ride.

    Also, my buddy is leading a Lake Chabot BTCEB ride on Wednesday now. So if you can't make the tt/hc by 6pm, give his ride a try if you can:

    WED AUG 4th
    Ride Rating: T3/S6/O6 (intermediate)
    WEEKLY WEDNESDAY RIDE AT LAKE CHABOT
    13 to 20 mi w/1,500' to 2,000' of climbing. Meet at 6:15 p.m. in the parking lot across from the public safety offices at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley (up the long driveway to the right of the main marina entrance - 17930 Lake Chabot Road). We leave by 6.30 p.m. to ride. Join us for a casual, no drop ride as we explore the trails around Lake Chabot most every Wednesday evening. The ride may vary from week to week and based upon the desire of those who show. Please RSVP if you plan to show up, else ride may change w/o notice. Contact Ride Leader: Email: Paul Oellerich or (510) 727-0613

  11. #11
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    I'll try to make it by 6pm to the Brandon gate. Look for a yellow 99 FSR XC.

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    Today...Chabot Climb...Everyone welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by D.Ambrose
    6pm at the bottom of Brandon. I'll be there (unless I get caught at work late).
    I also timed myself going up Brandon. I pushed, but didn't go all out. I was surprised. I did better than I expected.
    Looks nice and sunny today but not HOT. I'll rider over from Oakland in time to give myself a little rest prior to the "climb".

    I rode up it twice on Sunday. A little slower track than in the fall after the rain hardens up the dust areas, but not that bad for this time of the year. Certainly better than right after the tractor-grader guy goes over it. Nothing like what they did to Redtail this year.....cough, cough!!

    " I pushed, but didn't go all out. I was surprised. I did better than I expected. "

    Sounds ominous. Just in case, I'll wear my AARP jersey to provide solace for my potentially bruised ego :-)

    Anyway......Everyone bring along anyone who might like to join in.... Would especially like to see some others in the 50+ age group.... Even 40+
    Today could provide a good bench mark for future improvement if this turns into a regular meeting.

  13. #13
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    This may be a little late

    This may be a little late, but it looks like I'm stuck at work for a bit.

    Hope to still make it, but don't wait up!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.Ambrose
    This may be a little late, but it looks like I'm stuck at work for a bit.

    Hope to still make it, but don't wait up!
    Too bad, you missed out. We had a good turnout tonight (5 of us were there), and somehow the trails were full. There was a group of about 10 riders that went right before us. The best part is that most of us set personal best up Brandon. Hopefully, we can do it again in 2 weeks. Overall, it was a great ride.

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    Great ride

    Thanks for setting this up! Couldn't believe how many riders there were at Chabot today. Zorg, Mike, and I did a nice loop around the lake after the TT. I'm already wondering how hard it will be to beat today's time. TT #2 on Aug 18 would work for me.

  16. #16
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    Awesome you guys! Glad to hear you had a good ride, and sorry I missed ya.

    I ended up working late and didn't hit the trails until about 7-7:30pm, and took my lights with me.

    I hope to make the next one!

  17. #17
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    You guys going to post some times? There's no way I'm going to make a 6:00 start, but that doesn't mean I can't chase the clock.

    I hit 13:27 last week (to the bench), with intermediate times of ~5:30 cresting the trail (when you switch from the west facing side of the hill to the east facing side of the hill) and somewhere shy of 9:00 to the bench at the reflective "No Bikes" sign (just before the big rain rut).

    I think 13:00 won't be too much of a problem for me, but I'm curious if I'll ever see a sub-12:00 time.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedüb Nate
    You guys going to post some times? There's no way I'm going to make a 6:00 start, but that doesn't mean I can't chase the clock.

    I hit 13:27 last week (to the bench), with intermediate times of ~5:30 cresting the trail (when you switch from the west facing side of the hill to the east facing side of the hill) and somewhere shy of 9:00 to the bench at the reflective "No Bikes" sign (just before the big rain rut).

    I think 13:00 won't be too much of a problem for me, but I'm curious if I'll ever see a sub-12:00 time.
    Did 13'40" last night, and I probably won't be able to go much faster. BigTrees and another guy did about the same if I remember correctly, but Chester kicked everybody's butt at 10'10". He was flying up the hill! Furthermore, last night's conditions were near perfect. It was probably in the low 70s and there was a group of 7-8 slower riders that went before us, so that we always had to somebody in our line of sight to catch up. You should really consider taking off from work early one of these days. That was a lot of fun.

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    OK, here's more analysis than you probably need :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedüb Nate
    You guys going to post some times? There's no way I'm going to make a 6:00 start, but that doesn't mean I can't chase the clock.

    I hit 13:27 last week (to the bench), with intermediate times of ~5:30 cresting the trail (when you switch from the west facing side of the hill to the east facing side of the hill) and somewhere shy of 9:00 to the bench at the reflective "No Bikes" sign (just before the big rain rut).

    I think 13:00 won't be too much of a problem for me, but I'm curious if I'll ever see a sub-12:00 time.
    Too bad you couldn't make it. With the group motivation and nice conditions, I'm sure you would have had a good chance to go under 13:00 on Wednesday night. Everyone did better than expected. Zorg was about a full minute faster! Certainly he gets the prize for the greatest improvement. And with slightly better "track" conditions in the early Fall, less dust powder and loose dirt after the first hopefully mild rain dries to a hard smooth harder surface, you could expect another ? 10 or even 15 ? seconds off.. Actually this Summer's track is better than most Summers. Some years when the tractor/grader guy gets too agressive in May and churns up more soil, then around August and September all the loose stuff turns into deep powder. This year there are some sections of not too deep powder which almost unnoticed steal a bit of speed, but they are minimal for this time of year and on the positive side there are several sections of smooth real-hard surface, especially on that long flat section up near the top.

    Oh, about your time and the splits.... If you did 13:27 and were almost at 9:00 at the first bench, then I'd say you are saving too much for the last section.
    In the past, I've normally timed myself to the last tree on the left about, which is about 10 to 14 seconds prior to the top bench, depending on the riders speed, but using the ratios I had for Wednesdays climb, I can give you some idea about ratios that seem to produce good results for me.
    On this climb from the gate at the bottom to the bench at the top my first section was 6:16 to 6:17 and the top section was therefore 3:53 or 3:54
    The total was 10:10 with my normal timing point at the last tree on the left being 9:59

    So my approximate ratios were 61.8% and 38.2%
    For your 13:27 that would mean about 8:19 at the first bench turn and finishing up with about 5:08 for the second section. I usually think of it in terms of 5/8 +3/8..= 8/8= 1
    I've found if I go too fast on the lower section up to the first bench, and then need to expend energy right after that up that steeper "rain-rut" section, that by the time I get to that long almost flat section, I don't have the "snap" in my legs to take advantage of the speedy section. If you can get speed going on that section, you can really take off some time prior to hitting that last climb to the end.
    A few times when I went too fast down below, I've just died on the top section adding as much as 20 extra seconds to a fast time for that section, far outweighing anything I had gained by going faster on the lower section.

    And if you go too slow up to the first bench at the 5/8s mark, then no matter how fresh you are, you have too little distance to make up time you lost below.
    So it is a balancing act.....
    Obviously I've thought about this climb a bit TOO much over the past Fall and Spring when the track is especially fast..... :-)
    Experiment with what ratio works best for you.
    BTW......I only take one interim time at that first bench, and I don't look at my time on my watch until that point, otherwise it plays havoc with my brain and motivation causing premature tiredness.....and perceived fatigue (when it isn't real)

    So thats my analysis......Keep us updated on your progress even if you can't make one of our meetings.

  20. #20

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    Was a good first time for this event

    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Did 13'40" last night, and I probably won't be able to go much faster. BigTrees and another guy did about the same if I remember correctly, but Chester kicked everybody's butt at 10'10". He was flying up the hill! Furthermore, last night's conditions were near perfect. It was probably in the low 70s and there was a group of 7-8 slower riders that went before us, so that we always had to somebody in our line of sight to catch up. You should really consider taking off from work early one of these days. That was a lot of fun.
    I have to agree with you about last night's conditions... Temperature was ideal, very little wind if any, and as you noted we had unbelieveable luck in having 8 to 10 "rabbits" go just ahead of us.
    Of course, they didn't realize they were rabbits, (and certainly weren't racing up the hill) but nevertheless it provided a real psychological benefit to have someone always just up ahead to catch. I began catching some of these unwitting rabbits about half way up the hill and from then onward, I don't remember feeling so tired.. Its like magic how someone up ahead takes away the soreness.
    Along with Dwight, Big Trees, Mike, yourself and me, there were more riders on the climb last night than I've ever seen on that hill before.

    I did think afterwards that those group riders must have wondered who these "nuts" were, completely exhausting themselves, as we gasped for air while passing them.
    Speaking to one of them later, I explained that we were doing a time-trial and don't normally go up climbs with such effort expended.
    They were a nice local group who normally do road rides, but decided to do some trails for a change of pace. They're the Cherry City Cyclists Bicycle Club.
    A very nice group with riders of all ages, shapes, genders, and conditioning.
    Since they do almost all road riding, I'd never heard of them before, but they are mostly from right here in Castro Valley, San Leandro, and Hayward.
    You can Google "Cherry City Cyclists" and check them out. Lots of group rides and they welcome everyone on most of the rides....Members and non-members.

    Like you said, given the conditions we had last night, both physical and psychological, we'll all be hard pressed to top our times......but lets try anyway....
    You really smashed your previous best with about a full minute drop in time if I remember correctly....so perhaps next time you can look for another 10 or 15 seconds.....
    Drain that water bottle for less ballast :-)
    I think even without the added "rabbits" we encountered last night, that the staggered start works well, as it allows for everyone to finish within one minute of each other at the top......all equally exhausted and prepared to rest for a bit.
    If we can all show up again, with perhaps another one or two new folks, and D.Ambrose & friends, we could have perhaps 7 or 8+ riders next time.
    That would be fun.....
    Looking forward to the next time.....

  21. #21
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    New trail opening?

    Apparently, East bay parks has given preliminary approval to open the portion of Brandon trail that parallels Redwood road (begins at the end of Ten Hills). Full approval will be reviewed in September.

    I'm not sure if that is the sweet single track that goes down to the Golf course or not. Hopefully, somebody from BTCEB can shed more light on this (David?).

  22. #22
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    I believe the trail in question is the singletrack running from Ten Hills to the Golf Course (the that paralells Redwood Rd). I can't think of any other section of Brandon that has been closed to bikes.

    I'm not positive when it will be open or if it currently is. The letter states, "These trails will be posted shortly notifying the public that use change has been given preliminary approval and encouraging people to submit written comments to EBRPD and to attend the September 15 EBATC meeting (no August meeting due to Summer break)."

    If I find out anything conclusive (looking into it), I'll post what I find. I hope the trail is open, and that it's the section I think it is! I know that section of Brandon has been under discussion for opening for some time.

    Entire letter:

    EBATC,

    As discussed at the July meeting, the EBRPD trail use change checklist
    committee (EBRPD staff) has given preliminary approval to introduce
    bicycle use onto portions of the Brandon Trail at Lake Chabot Regional
    Park and onto Heron Bay and Swallow Bay Trail segments (new names) at
    Del Valle Regional Park which currently allow for hikers and equestrians
    only. These trails will be posted shortly notifying the public that use
    change has been given preliminary approval and encouraging people to
    submit written comments to EBRPD and to attend the September 15 EBATC
    meeting (no August meeting due to Summer break).

    If you are interested in reviewing the actual Trail Use Change
    Checklists, the tool(s) used by EBRPD staff to evaluate the use change
    requests, or want a schedule of the public meetings in which this issue
    will be presented, please e-mail [email protected].



    As you know, EBATC is the place for all trail users who are interested
    and/or concerned about trail use issues to attend and learn more. The
    September 15 meeting will be the venue for EBATC to come to a consensus
    on the two trail use change requests. So prior to this meeting it is
    important that you review the Checklists and the EBRPD staff
    recommendations. EBATC's recommendation and a summary of written public
    comments will then be returned to EBRPD for staff review. In addition
    to regular EBRPD staff, the planner assigned to manage this project will
    be at the meeting and there will be an opportunity for questions and
    answers.

    EBATC has an important role in this process and will be the group to
    nominate up to two additional trails for review for trail use change in
    2005.



    Please pass information along.



    Jamie Perkins
    Resource Analyst
    EBRPD Regional Trails Department
    2950 Peralta Oaks Ct.
    Oakland, CA 94605
    510.544.2611 (phone)
    510.569.1417 (fax)
    www.ebparks.org

  23. #23
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    I've done that singletrack once a few years back, and that was awesome... If that goes well, we might be able to open up the single track at the stone bridge. Actually, if that succeeds, our nice hiker patrols won't have much to do anymore...

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    Well if the preliminary use of the Brandon singletrack goes well, I can see some other trails being opened. But I would doubt Cascade (the one that comes up at the stone bridge) would be among them.

    I do a fair amount of hiking in the area as well, and parts of Cascade get really sloppy and torn up in the rainy season. It can be difficult to even walk on at times.

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    Are we on at 6pm Wednesday evening?

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    I hope to make it. Wife and I have some things to take care of earlier in the afternoon but I don't think it should interfere.

    Hey Chester, was that you I saw earlier today on Redwood Rd? I was in my Team Wrong duds on my "celeste" colored 'cross bike.

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    Wed....Chabot Hillclimb.....Be There!

    Quote Originally Posted by D.Ambrose
    I hope to make it. Wife and I have some things to take care of earlier in the afternoon but I don't think it should interfere.

    Hey Chester, was that you I saw earlier today on Redwood Rd? I was in my Team Wrong duds on my "celeste" colored 'cross bike.
    I do remember seeing one Team Wrong Way jersey on Sunday, about midway when I was going down Redwood Rd from the Marcel Gate to the bottom of that long hill.......but I didn't think it was you.
    I didn't get a glimpse of the bike and don't know what "celeste" is (Bianchi pale green?)..... When I am riding downhill, and going from 70 to 80 mph! , I only catch small bits of the image as my eyes are watering from such sheer speed.....Saw the jersey, but then in the brief look at the "rider" I don't remember it looking like you, I only remember thinking I hope there are some others going up the hill when I do my return from the golf course to provide me with some incentive.

    I plan to make it on Wednesday.......same time at bottom of the Golf-Brandon hillclimb......6:00 PM......

    I expect to make it....although.....(pre-ride posturing excuses to follow)......I may not be at peak form due to recurring achilles pain....and if I do make a good run....(more excuses) the two weeks of extra increased dust must have increased track time by at least 2.0 seconds, and (weather excuse) it appears it may be rather hot (? seconds increase?) and with me jettisoning my water in the parking lot for less weight, I may overheat and dehydrate midway, and unless we are lucky, we won't have an extra 10 rabbits going up the hill from that club cycling group for that psychological boost....worth a few seconds....and I probably will have to throw on one new tire with larger knobs, since my present back tire is almost smooth, thus with a new tire requiring me to push larger knobs along ( 1-2 seconds extra?).......But aside from all that I intend to be there and give an good effort unless my achilles tells me to not strain it...
    Having done that hill so many times......I don't think I will be more than 10 seconds slower, even if the above excuses come into play, nor do I think I am able to be a full 10 seconds faster than my previous time.....But we'll see. Perhaps I should leave my helmet at the bottom like the Tour d'France riders do......Thats about 9 ounces and according to my calculations could cut off 1.9 seconds even before counting the lower wind resistance and cooling effect. I'm still debating shaving my legs.....

    I'm developing a potential BONUS prize to encourage extra participation from the CV racer types....and will post it, perhaps later today....

  28. #28
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    lol, your post cracked me up.

    Yeah, that wuold have been me on Sunday. Instead of racing the HMC I opted for a training ride instead. You may not have recognized me because I shaved my chin. I don't look like my avatar anymore.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.Ambrose
    lol, your post cracked me up.

    Yeah, that wuold have been me on Sunday. Instead of racing the HMC I opted for a training ride instead. You may not have recognized me because I shaved my chin. I don't look like my avatar anymore.
    Was that to gain speed?

  30. #30
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    Planning on being there 8/18

    Looks like it's gonna be hot.

    By the way, if you ever get bored of the brandon climb, here's another challenging TT: Start at the McDonald staging area on Redwood Rd. (near entrance to Redwood park but on other side of street). This is shorter and steeper than Brandon -- by my rough calculations it's about an 8% grade vs. 6.5% for Brandon. Length is just over a mile (by the map ... I don't use a cyclometer). Due to the nasty grade, on a bad day you might just wonder whether you're going to get to the top without putting a foot down. Start at the metal gate. For the finish, after 3 steep "steps" up and a short gradual rise, there is a very brief "down" section, then a short very gradual "up" ... then it flattens out and there are 3 trees on the right, 1st an oak tree, then a bay tree, then another oak. I stop at the bay tree. I think that's the closest you can get to being at the top. [After that there's a slight down and you get to the Parkridge entrance]. I have timed myself at 13:18.

    So if you have a chance, knock yourself out and let me know how you did. I'm not suggesting a change of venue for our TT, just a change of pace. I do this one all the time because it's closer to my home.

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