San Bruno Mountain Hill Climb

 

sbhc-graphic

Sunday January 1, 2017

Location: Park in the lot at the corner of Guadeloupe Canyon Parkway and Bayshore Blvd.

Course: Course Map on Strava

This missive  by Lyle Nisenholz captures the essence of this unique event from the racer’s point of view:

You were sitting in your parked car as you watch other cars roll into the bleary lot. It is a chilly New Year’s Day morning as you sat shivering. You saw hints of a sage covered hill side. After building up courage and sucking down a Red Bull you stepped outside and assembled the bike and cruised to the porta-potty while viewing others already humming their trainers. The veil of cold haze began to lift revealing the initial ramp of Guadalupe parkway; here you spun to warm up with other riders you recognize from the summer, or don’t.

Now you are assembling with the mass of riders at the bottom of the hill. Organized from category for mass start; once the race begins you will be a non-category horde of cyclists. So begins one of the most special events in American bicycle racing.

A bundle of New Year’s nerves, or is it the cold, as the horde surges forward towards the grayness. Perhaps the first two hundred meters you feel nothing as you look for a line of riders matching your ambition. With the cool breeze a small yet useful pace line forms as you turn left through the stop light.

Now you feel the resistance of the road as your small group churns up the sweeping right on Guadalupe. You pass some who shot up too early; other riders from sputtering groups join yours.

Now you enter the park as the road levels off. Perhaps now you hear your breath and realize your initial effort as well as the gasping of others in the cool morning. The road kicks up after the turn around and some riders attack with their momentum through the tree covered grade; others search out their rhythm and pedal speed. Within 100 meters you are really climbing, digging and yanking up on the pedals. Just as you are finding your climbing comfort zone, your little group breaks up as riders begin to go turbo. Pass the infamous radar dish that signals the final grueling stretch, you are out of the saddle, your body is swaying and you are sweating in the chill.

Then it’s over, you are panting and coasting, heart settling down. You notice that you are above the clouds that are breaking up revealing a New Year’s view of the Bay Area few will ever get to experience. You join your cycling friends in a special celebration that is unique to cycling and road racing. The San Bruno Hill Climb, a fitting event from the home of the American road racing scene.