The Low Key Hill Climb series this week did Page Mill Rd from I-280 up to Skyline Drive. It's a good long 2,221 ft climb in just 8.6 miles, to the top of the Santa Cruz Mtns. Rick and I both had thoughts of how we could somehow make it a ride back to Santa Cruz, but didn't talk about it ahead of time, and so in the end, just turned it into a circle route, going down Old La Honda Rd. We'd save the long ride home idea for the next Low Key climb - Old La Honda in a week. Weather was perfect; and the sign-in was at the park-and-ride at Page Mil and I-280 in Palo Alto. Ferrell was in wave 3, and I was in wave 5.


The first problem was - would we make it to a gas station before flame-out? This is the second race this year where Ferrell pushed the gasoline envelope

at the Park-and-Ride at Page Mill Rd and I-280.

Downloading the bikes, is that a look of envy from Ferrell? "Wow", he's thinking, "if only MY bike looked this good! Oh well, my bike's 8lb lighter and that's good compensation."

OK, we need milage today to get maximum utility out of this adventure. How can we make a long loop out of this?

98 riders in this week's climb, including Stefano Profumo - UCSC Astronomer extraordinaire, and also a world-class endurance athlete.

and me, another astronomer and ... athlete

Ferrell puts game face on

Final instructions

Time for my wave now

Rick was all smiles at the top - a solid climb. Benoit had a great finish as well

Back at the car after our loop, time to swap out of the cycling cleats

From race photographer, Ferrell's finishing kick

My effort, getting close to the summit

By the time we finished our loop, we had 32 miles and 3200 ft of climbing - a good morning's work! Here's the official results... Ferrell took 55th out of 98 riders. This is a statement of the quality of the field - nothing "Low Key" about the hill climbers who come here. The winner was National Elite Road Champion Colin Daw in 33 minutes. Ferrell was just 10 minutes behind, but didn't finish in the top half (remember that Ferrell usually takes home a medal from triathlons, and cycling is his strong suit). All this is prep for where this old-timer Nolthenius finished - 98th, at 62 minutes! OK... BUT, I was only 2 minutes out of 97th!