The finale of the 2015 Low Key Hill Climb series time trials - always climbs the highest peak in the Bay Area - Mt Hamilton to Lick Observatory's 36" scope at the top. Ferrell and I wouldn't miss it, even if it's weather that'll turn your 'nards blue.

We parked at the church in Scotts Valley and carpooled over to Alum Rock Rd. 36F outdoors - nippy!

We'll put in 5,000 ft of climbing this morning. Need to power up; I hammer down my banana/apple/MetRx protein smoothie while Ferrell goes for a burrito he fixed last night

We park outside the Subway Sandwich place in San Jose and bike the last couple of miles up to the start. Ferrell's got something I shudda bought - toe warmies for my cycling shoes.

Getting on the ID braclet, in case you careen off the cliff, remains only to be found months later, in the mountain lion's cave

Lower turn out this year, at the sign-in

Ferrell finishes the paperwork while I prepare to head off.

In the interests of Ferrell getting off the mountain and driving back to Thanksgiving meetup with the family ASAP, I took off about 20 minutes early

The first climb stretch had some nice views of the range land and distant Santa Cruz mountains

Later, the first wave rabbits catch up to me, and disappear into the distance

Grant Park, the second climb

Beautiful oak woodland. Somewhere near here, Ferrell caught me

My feet were numb'ing out - why have I never bought a pair of those toe covers? I'm pedalling hard, but not hard enough to get warmth to my fingers and toes apparently


First view of Mt Hamilton, getting close to the fire station

Fall colors were max'ing out this weekend, and the best trees were just starting here, before the first station

Just past the fire station bridge, the final and steepest segment begins

Farther up, the first snow patches

The 120" dome comes into view, around the corner.

Getting higher, getting colder, and that's sufficient motivation to ramp up my effort level to stay warm. My cyclothermometer here was dropping into the 30's.

Snow at the top 120" dome was easy to see now. About here, some of the first finishers were heading back down the mountain. I chuckled (or was it instead my teeth chattering?) at all the whimpering I heard. One rider said "I'm so cold my brain hurts!"


I see the first black ice on the road here. Just a few spots on the downhill lane

Two turns from the top, I see Ferrell coming down. I'd told him at the start that if I hit a large stretch of black ice I'd stop. Too dangerous for my metal hip. The last few hundred yards, before the entry to the Nickle scope driveway, was coated with black ice. So... this was the top for me 5 minutes from the actual top.

The ride back down was indeed chilly, but the cheap-o gloves (that was all Outdoor World had... cheapo gloves!) and my good cycling gloves, and tights and two impermeable windbreakers, were enough to make it OK. At the summit, the official thermometer read freezing: 32F

Here, we're back in Scotts Valley - warm and all smiles!

So, I missed the usual great mug shots around the Big Scopes, but it was still a fun and unique ride. Ferrell came in at 1hr 38min, and I came in at 2hr 21min (the last 6 minutes were extrapolated from measuring I was 1.0 km from the top, and my speed was 6 mph. I'm happy with since it's the same as last year's, and last year I was in my top shape since my hip surgery.

Rick headed up to SF for a family Thanksgiving dinner, and I headed down, showered, and headed over to the Delucchi's for Thanksgiving with friends. Great day!