Hot Ride to the Junction

| September 6, 2008 10:00 pm

by Franz Kelsch

It was only 5 days ago that we were in Utah and I rode up Alpine Loop to see the snow from a recent storm. I did not take a jacket and was very cold on the way down. Today’s long ride out to the junction was HOT HOT HOT. Kind of like out of the kettle into the fire.

I was leading a long ride for the bike club. The official start was in San Jose, but I figured starting from Morgan Hill would be the same distance, please riders said they were going to meet us along the way. To meet meet the timing I would have had to start biking from home at 6:30 am, but it was still dark so I asked Ann to drive me 6 miles towards Morgan Hill and I started there, at about 6:55 am. It was warm enough, despite the early hour, that I did not need any arm warmers. Ten minutes later I met Gary F and we rode together up Monterey to Bailey. We then made our way over and did the first climb of the day, Metcalf. I did the climb slower than usual because I had a long ride ahead. We had to wait at the top for any riders to show up and then only two did.

We then started down the backside and were met by Russ and Joe F. Not long after that Cindi S. was coming the other way and turned around to join the group. We made our way of to Quimby for the second climb. Quimby is a nasty climb of nearly 2,000 feet with some sections that approaches 20% grade. I had not really tried to time the climb up there for years so I did push a bit harder to see how I was doing compared with several years ago. Since those prior times were all set on a short ride, I felt good with my time which was less than a minute off my best time ever and better than I ever did in 2004.

Quimby Climb

Distance: 4.2 miles, Climb: 1,975 feet, Avg Grade: 8.8%
Time from Ruby to Summit
Max HR
Avg HR

Russ and Gary had gone ahead of me but the others were all behind. There was not waiting at the top of Quimby by the leaders so I headed down and to Mt. Hamilton road where I caught them getting water. We then had the long climb up to the top of Mt Hamilton. It was already getting hot. We passed Louise M. on the way up, she had started the climb earlier. Russ had reached the summit before anyone so Gary and I stopped just long enought to fill our water bottles then head down.

Due to the heat our plan was to turn around at the bottom and make the climb up Mt. Hamilton before it got too hot. Gary, Russ and I stopped at the Isabel Creek to wait for others. Then we started to talk about going to the junciton, per the orignal plan. No one else showed up so we headed out to the junction, not realizing how hot it was going to be.

I had a simple lunch, a turkey sandwich and some potato chips. Russ and Gary both had a big lunch with a lot of french fires. I thought I could never eat all those fires and climb up the backside.

We didn’t take too long to eat because we knew the temperatures would continue to rise. We each bought a Gatorade to stick in our back pocket because we knew that two water bottles would not be enough to make it back to the summit in this heat. I ended up drinking mine on the spot then filled the bottle with water to carry.

On the way back we saw a couple of cyclists headed in the same direction, pulled off the road resting in the shade. One yelled out that it was 112 degrees. I check my cyclometer and it was reading 112, although it tends to read high when in direct sunlight. But then my body was in direct sunlight!

The three of us were biking together until the last climb before we descending back to Isabel Creek for the start of the big climb. Then Russ started to move ahead and Gary started to fall behind. As we started to climb up the backside of Mt. Hamilton, I slowed was gaining on Russ but I could no longer see Gary. I caught Russ as we approached the spring at the 3 mile mark (3 miles from the top) so we stopped there to splash some water on ourselves and cool off. We waitd for awhile and still no Gary. I started to worry about him since he is a faster climber than I am.

A van was now coming up the hill so I flagged it down to see if they had seen a cyclists. As it was stopping I could see that Gary was in the van. I guess he had some issue so the driver offered to carry him to the top. Russ and I got back on our bikes and finished the climb to the summit. There we found Gary laying on the ground. He had become dehydrated, was cramping and even had the chills. I rush up to get him a cold drink and then he used some water to cool himself off. We knew we needed to wait for him to recover.

Eventually he wanted to go ahead and bike so we all started down the hill. Then it was a climb back over Quimby. After reaching the San Jose Valley we could really feel the heat again, after a bit of cooler temperatures at 4,000 feet summit of Mt. Hamilton. Russ headed his own wan and Gary and I headed back to Morgan Hill. Gary was not feeling well so we stopped at a McDonald’s to cool off and have some drinks. I wanted him to have more time to hyrate. We filled our water bottles with ice and water there and then headed back home.

I dropped Gary off in Morgan Hill and then biked home. It was past 6 pm when I finally finished. I had biked 135 miles and climbed nearly 13,000 feet. My HRM showed only 11,900 feet, but last time I did this same route it was 12,700 feet. We’ve been under a high pressure system resulting in a reduction of accumulated gain. I will use 12,800 since I did an additional climb up Santa Terresa to Miller this time. This was therefore the most climbing ever on a training ride.

If I had done all five passes on the Death Ride, I would have biked 6 miles less and climbed 2,000 feet more, so this was some training ride.

This is the profile of the ride.

One Response to “Hot Ride to the Junction”

Vince wrote a comment on September 12, 2008

Wow that makes me glad I didn’t have that Saturday off work. I would love to do that ride in cooler temperatures. I had a similar bonk to Gary’s when we had all the smoke from the forest fires back in June. I bought a heart monitor and challenged myself to do it without bonking next time. Two months later I really took my time all the way to Mines Road. Then I put the hammer down and I still had enough left to get up the back side in a reasonable time.