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Old La Honda Road

Start of the Old La Honda climb

Hill climbing is my nemesis. The problem is that I've got a fairly decent amount of power output, but my power-to-weight ratio is pretty poor. On the flat ground, power-to-weight doesn't matter nearly as much as going uphill.

OLH is everybody's benchmark climb around here. Starting from the bridge and ending at the stop sign where it meets up with Skyline, it's 3.3 miles and you go up 1260 feet. The average grade is 7.2%, and it can get up to 15-18% at points. It's got a bunch of switchbacks and some beautiful trees for shade so you don't end up with the sun beating down on you while you are trying to climb.

It's not terribly steep nor especially long, so it's rational that even a non-racing-oriented cyclist can actually climb up the hill without giving up, thus just about anybody can have an OLH time.

The world record, as far as everybody is concerned, is a few seconds under fifteen minutes, which has two claims. One of them is held by an olympian who lives about 2/3rds of the way up, the other some guy on the Usenet. My boss told me he did it in seventeen minutes.

I tried it a little over a week ago and I only managed to do it in a few minutes under an hour... which is really only a little bit faster than getting off the bike and walking it uphill. I think it's mostly because I wasn't really sure what to expect or how much distance I had already gone, so I didn't go all-out when I should have been. Because blondeness is an affliction for men as well as women, there's a point where somebody helpfully spraypainted "GO!" on the pavement that I didn't realize meant that I should have been pedaling all-out because it was just about over.

End of the Old La Honda Climb

I also got lost on the way there, which meant that I'd already biked about 30 miles by the time I got there and managed to get turned around the right way by a helpful member of Stanford's Triathlon team.

Oh well. I know I can do better.

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