Lucas Pereira has calculated the gradients of numerous Bay Area climbs, including my mainstays Old La Honda and Montebello Road. I’ve always wondered how these classic climbs compare to those in the Tour de France. Does anyone know how the category system for climbs is defined? Would Old La Honda be a Category 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or Beyond Category climb? Compared to the climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees, the Bay Area doesn’t seem to have climbs that are both long and steep; it’s usually one or the other.
Update: July 15, 2005: I think I found a source on the Internet for Check it out!categorized Bay Area Climbs. Check it out and think about these HC climbs when you’re huffing and puffing up Montebello and Old La Honda!
How would a professional cyclist do up Montebello Road, a 5.30 mile (8.53 km) climb with an average gradient of 6.9% and max grades of 16%? The fastest I’ve gone up that hill is just about 39:30, and I remember being at my limit. If pros rode twice as fast as me, they could climb Montebello in a smoking 20 minutes!
There used to be a series of organized rides called the Low-Key Hillclimbs. I don’t see any mention of it in the 2000’s, so participation must have fizzled out. If I had more time, I’d love to organize a rebirth of this event!