Mount Hamilton 2001


Second Annual Marcin's Birthday Ride

(click on the pictures ot get a larger photo)

Following the huge success of  last year's ride  we again got ready for our assault on Bay Area's highest peak. The date, again, was chosen to concide with Marcin's birthday.  Trying to escape the event, Marcin went so far as to flee to the other coast during the weekend of his birthday. Of course, we were happy to move the date by several weeks to accomodate his busy schedule :)

Missing from this year's ride was Kostaidis, who at the time was in the Greek army, bravely defending his country from enemies both foreign and domestic. Therefore, it was proposed that he join us in spirit, by riding a stationary exercise bike for four hours.  Later, several improvements were made on this idea to make his experience more authentic.

From Kwun:
"We need a remote controlled knob so we can increase the resistance on Kostadis' trainer as the hill goes steeper at the top."

From James (from the discussion about the weather):
"PS It was pretty parky on top of Skyline so I expect snow for Hamilton...
 PPS ... means Kostadis will have to move his static bicycle into the freezer
 PPS ... weather deteriorating towards eow, in the freezer and in the shower"

Kostadis was not amused.

So, on the morning of April 28 we met at the start of the Mount Hamilton Road.

Daniel getting ready to start.

Marcin and James pondering the task ahead.

Of these 19 miles, 17 are uphill, punctuated by two mile-long descents.

The first eight miles to Joe Grant are a warmup. The road isn't too steep, the views of the valley are pretty, the sun is shining (at least this year...)  I stayed with James and Daniel for most of it until the road flattened out some and Daniel accelerated, and then did now slow down when the climb started up again. James, of course, followed, whereas I decided to take it slow because I ... umm ... wanted to enjoy the views.

After the descent into Joe Grant we got the view of the observatory. Looks far...

Marcin took lots of pictures.

The road climbs out of Joe Grant for about a mile and then descends again.

Daniel and James climbing.

Only 5 miles left! Except that they didn't tell us that this is the hardest part of the ride.

That's because the road looks like this. If you count carefully, you can see the road at seven levels.

Finally, the roadsign at the top of the climb. The road continues to Livermore on the other side of the mountains. Unfortunately, it's not all downhill. To get to the observatory, you take a sharp right turn and climb the final steep section. Which is something we forgot to tell Daniel, who went right past it.

James at the summit, looking for Daniel and Marcin. Check out the motorcycle guys in the back.

Daniel on the final switchback before the top.

After not seeing Daniel for a while, we started to wonder where he could have gone. James went to see if he missed the turn, but by that time Daniel realized that something was wrong and turned around, since the road started to go down.

Daniel and James, returning from a small detour.

Daniel arriving at the summit.


Marcin on the final switchback.

Marcin at the top. He even has cheering fans! This is his roomate Lubo, who drove up to the summit to watch us.

The view from the top was nice as always.

Finally, the triumphant picture at the summit. From left to right: Marcin, me, Daniel, James. Do you think our clothes are kind of bright?

During the descent we got "walked" (That's a term runners use for someone zooming past you. Courtesy of Daniel) by a guy on a recumbent. We also got to pass a line of cars stuck behind a horse trailer moving really slow.


Natasha Gelfand

Last modified: Tue Jun 5 00:14:47 PST 2001