Bikes Up Hills
10 Hardest Hills Around Berkeley In 10 Minutes Each, and/or 100 minutes
3 Lomos Cantados
10 South Park
tell cuz of all the mud but that could be aaron, or it might be the lion of
flanders. whomever, he seems to be suffering sufficiently to do this tale
10 in 10 Challenge
note: This idea has some history behind it. Basically, it was Russ
McBride eclipsing the famous "Berkeley
Death Ride" by adding 2 climbs for something he called the
"7 Samurai". Aaron and Steve Edwards rode the Samurai with
Russ in June, eliminating some of what Aaron called "easy"
climbs in favor of what were truly the steepest hills in the east
bay. Whilst dropping Steve and Russ throughout the day (see
story at bottom of page) Aaron was concocting the feasibility of a
much more ambitious challenge, to ride the 10 hardest hills in under
10 minutes each. Training proved this to be futile on Claremont due to
length, so he decided to do as many under 10 as possible and to keep
his total time under 100. Because Aaron's descriptions may not do
justice to the climbs, we'll borrow some info from the above site to
give more objectivity of what normal really strong bike riders think
of these hills. As you may notice, most of the additional climbs are
harder than the Death Ride itself.
Well, I managed to conquer my
challenge. Got 9 climbs done under 10 minutes, Claremont wasn't too
bad at 14:30 or so. Really tough day on the bike.
Wasn't sure if it was smart to try
this today after the 200 mile weekend, but felt kind of psyched up
this morning. Michelle went for her first mtb ride of the year, so I
figured I'd try and see how I felt. Great that Lance interview was on
tonight, haven't seen it yet so a perfect end to my day.
Tonight, I hurt. but I survived.
10 in 10
From the Berkeley Death Ride
Pretty overcast and chilly, which is
good for me, so rolled out of here around noon to climb Arlington as
a warm-up before Moeser. Started the clock at the bottom of Moeser
(20%). Moeser has been one of the hardest for me in training and
today as well, probably because it is first and I'm never totally
warmed up. After Moeser, I was worried about finishing the
challenge. Took 8:16.
not on the death
down the hill to Marin (25+%). Marin felt awful. I mean really awful.
Couldn't relax, couldn't really get a rhythm. And the last three
blocks were pure survival. Ready to fall over practically. However,
I was encouraged by my time to Grizzly (7:07) and topped out at
8:30. Still, I was worried and starting to think about cutting the
day short based on the suffering. Marin never hurt like that
before. (ed-a "normal" time is 13-14 minutes!)
Marin is simply ridiculous; one advantage of doing it first is that
all the rest of the hills will look easy by comparison. The main
disadvantage is that it could kill you before you get a chance at
any of the other hills. I plan to ride it as slowly as I possibly
can, and I recommend you do as well (13-15m). It crosses a number of quiet
streets, which people often use as an opportunity to rest without
getting off the bike; just turn down the side street and coast for a
while as your heart rate comes back under your anaerobic threshold.
to do Lomos Cantados, decided on the way that it made more sense to
do South Park (18%?) first as this has been one of the hardest in
training based on length and consistent gradient at the end. 10
minutes is a tough time here. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good.
Never really had to max out, and had 15 seconds in hand coming into
the last brutal pitch. Stood up, stayed in the 23, let another 5
seconds go but still took 10 seconds out of my training time
South Park is actually probably the easiest of the five climbs. It
starts out fairly easily, then gets rather steep around the end of
the straightaway. It continues steeply basically until the top of
the hill, but with only 200 meters total climb, and grades which
will look easy after Marin, it shouldn't be that difficult.
down S. Park to Toyonal off Wildcat (not the bottom because didn't
see the point, still a solid climb.) Felt really good warming back
up on Toyonal, just floating. Definitely turned a corner on South
Park or something. Hit Lomos Cantadas (18%?) and just motored up it.
Hurt at the steep corner, but made it to the top again in a best
time (8:00). When pulling in to steam trains to get more water, some
ass yelled put your helmet on. Wanted to tell him to go ride Toyonal
in 8 minutes then tell me what to do. Jerk.
El Toyonal is a pretty rough climb, about as steep and long as the
hard part of Centennial. But then the hard part starts. You can
continue on El Toyonal and go over a partially washed-out bridge and
hook up with Wildcat Canyon, but we're turning left and going up
Lomas Cantadas, which is the hardest climb to Grizzly Peak from the
east. It has about three switchbacks where you're already working
pretty hard, and you see the hill getting steeper into the
switchback, but then instead of easing off it actually gets steeper
on the next straightaway. The straight climb towards the stables is
the hardest part; once you make the right turn past the stables
towards the llama pen, you have pretty much made it.
down Claremont to Alvarado. This kind of sucked because no pedaling
and right into the next climb. Starting to feel a little heavy in
the legs on Alvarado, couldn't push a 23, and couldn't really keep a
rhythm. But put my head down and managed to grab another 10 seconds
of best at the top (9:45). Meant to ride over to Tunnel to rest the
legs and prepare for Claremont, but spaced and ended up riding down
Claremont, which meant no spinning before climbing again. This may
have been a mistake which caught up to me later.
not on the death
went pretty well, rode the 14:30 when I figured it would be 15. This
ate up all but 1 minute of my time buffer (trying to keep it under
100 minutes). Time to head over to the next two climbs, the super
steep Thorndale and Sobrante. Thought it might be okay because
Claremont is mostly seated and these climbs are totally standing.
But legs were really feeling weird now. I was seriously worried but
could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Four climbs left and I
was over one hour ahead of my 5 hour schedule.
Claremont is the least steep of all the hills we're climbing today,
but it's harder than Centennial or South Park because it's longer.
Unlike most of today's climbs, it comes at you in waves; there are
sections which are well above 10%, particularly the first of two
switchbacks near the top. There are pitches which are less steep,
but really nowhere you can get a rest until after the last
Thornhill to Thorndale, Thornhill seemed steeper going down (note to
Steve and Russ, who thought is was steep going up), but nothing like
what was about to hit me. The first couple hundred yards on
Thorndale really sucked because came right off a descent. Legs were
heavy. Fortunately, there is a flat after the first steep section,
so you can spin for a bit. Hit the climb proper and it was a
disaster (Steve word)! It had just been worked on and was wet in
spots, muddy, loose rocks, kept losing my rear wheel. that hurts.
Happy to see the final switchback, hammered to the top in about 8
minutes. Eliminated that extra section since it's a different street
and felt contrived.
not on the death
ride, but why? this sucker is monumental in difficulty.
down Thornhill to Sobrante, again no spinning as it descends until
you go up. This really is a bad way of doing things. legs felt
absolutely leaden on Sobrante, which is harder in some ways than
Thorndale. Starts steep at about 20% for a quarter mile or so, then
gets steeper! probably 25+, steep as anything on Marin. You take a
sharp left and it eases back to about 15%, keep going then a sharp
right and it gets really really steep. Really steep. You practically
stop. I could feel my abs as I yarded on the bars. Fortunately, it's
flat after that, just have to hammer to get time. 8 minutes.
not on the death
|Two to go,
again, I was worried. Panoramic has a tough section that comes after
several hundred yards at 20%. Would my legs survive? Then, I had to
get up Centennial. I knew I could get up that, but could I break 10
minutes? Panoramic really hurt. This is where I suffered most today.
Going too slow to keep a momentum, like starting from stop every
pedal stroke once it got steep. After the 20% section, it chicanes
up over 25% for 150 meters or so, then eases off. The problem was, I
was tight on time, couldn't take it easy because lost too much time
lower on the climb. Put my head down and went, and made it in 9:15,
over a minute slower than training time.
not on the death
to Centennial. I felt like shit. Wanted to go home. Wanted to lie
down. Centennial is easier if you divide it into three parts--four
really. The first quarter is flat, normally I can ride it at 20mph,
today between 12 and 15. Uh oh. In training, I can do a nine minute
time. Not a lot of time to work with and I was losing time from the
first pedal. Hit the hill proper and just went into survival mode.
If I didn't do it in 10, at least I would make sure I didn't blow to
bits and lose the 100 minute limit. Put the head down and didn't
look at computer or hill, just kept the 25 turning. Turn turn turn,
first section done and a short (25 foot) flatter section. Get
psyched, go. The second section is hardest with a blind, steeeeep
hairpin halfway up it. this means you don't know how far you have to
go until you get around that corner. And though I've ridden this
thing 100 times (in college, I didn't know there was an easier way
up), I was so faded I couldn't remember the climb. Stood up and
mashed through the turn, ugh, it's far to the next section. Keep
going Baker. Get to the next section at 8 minutes, 15 seconds of
lower angle climb and then its out of the saddle sprinting as much
as I can to get to the top before time runs out. Pain, yes.
Suffering, yes. But this is the last climb. Don't have to save
anything now so give it everything. 9:30. Thank god. That means I
don't ever have to do this fucking thing again.
Centennial is the road most frequently used by strong cyclists to
get out of Berkeley. It starts fairly gently, then starts to climb
steeply near the Botanical
Garden and past LBL. It's a
fairly constant 11% grade from the LBL gate to the rest point at Lawrence
Hall of Science. There, it flattens out for a while, and then
climbs a little more, less steeply, to reach Grizzly Peak.
by Steve Edwards
McBride, of Titanium Man and--now--Hans' 50,000 fame came up with a harder
version of the Berkeley
Death Ride a few months back which was supposed to include the 7 hardest
climbs in Berkeley. Yesterday, Russ, Aaron Baker, and I upped the 7 Samurai just
a bit by doing a harder variation. Not only that, Baker decided to make it even
harder next time, concocting a 10 in 10 challenge where someone (probably only
him) does the 10 hardest hills around Berkeley all in under 10 minutes.
Yesterday, Baker did them all under 10 except one, Thorndale.
the sign says 20% but we never thought it exceeded 18%. Fairly short with a few
easy sections, it was our 'warm-up' climb. Actually, we did a real warm-up climb
first but this was a first time to push beyond our AT. This climb is not on the
Death Ride but was on Russ' original 7.
The steepest street around Berkeley that--reportedly--has a 30% section. Didn't
find that exactly but is was very steep and very crowded. Employing a weave
tactic would be deadly. Hard for both me and Russ, Aaron blasted up it so fast I
lost site of him.
Toyanal to Lomas Cantadas: The last section of this climb is hard, about 1K at
15% (similar to Las Floras in Malibu). It was also quite long, so I suspect
Aaron's 10 minutes was only the last section, and the first part wasn't exactly
This was my favorite, a new climb the Aaron found to miss "non-steep"
Claremont. You turn off Claremont and immediately hit a 15% grade and undulates
all the way to the top. Great climb where you gain a lot of height and exposure
We were looking for Thornton, didn't find it (not on the BDR, or any ride), and
ended up doing what Aaron didn't want to count except that it was just as hard
as everything else (over 15% sections) to Russ and I so we wouldn't allow him to
nix it. Ended up on Snake, which seems flat in comparison, then went searching
for Thornton. Hmmm
We had trouble because it was actually called Thorndale. Aaron had mentioned
that he was scared the first time he descended it, cause Russ and I to pause at
the top as Aaron dropped in. Talking to a neighbor (who was warning us how
dangerous is was to go down), she then assured us she had seen cyclists come up
it. "Not often, but I've seen it," giving us no choice but to head
down. Perhaps it was our dread/fear, but this one went well, even though I think
it's the hardest of all, and the only one Aaron missed 10 minutes on.
This is a 'standard' climb but still hard that heads straight up to Grizzly Peak
from the UC football stadium.
headed home, but Aaron had one more climb to do which I, fearing I wouldn't make
it up and it was on the opposite side of home, backed out of. Aaron then added
Canon, which was steep but only took 3 minutes.
10 in 10 he plans to add South Park and one more which he hasn't found yet,
making a very hard day out completely psycho.