Archive for August, 2010

28

Vacaville – The Diabolical Duo – Mix Canyon & Gates Canyon (Super Steep) Hill Climbing


Mix Canyon and Gates Canyon. Two truly insane climbs. The two toughest medium-length climbs I have ever ridden (and I have ridden a lot of steep climbs!). You would have to be slightly demented to attempt them.

Mix Canyon

Stats from John Summerson’s Climbing (By Bike) In California book for Mix Canyon:

  • Elevation Gain: 2178 ft
  • Length: 4.0 miles
  • Average Grade: 10.3%
  • Steepest Mile: 15.8%
  • Steepest 3 Miles: 11.8%
  • Steepest Mile in California at 15.8%. Second place goes to Old Priest Grade at 15.0%.
  • 3rd Steepest 1/2 Mile in California at 16.2%. First place goes to Marin Avenue (18.1%) and second place goes to Mattole Road South 2 (17.5%).
  • Additionally, a separate half mile stretch of Mix Canyon appears at the #6 spot in the toughest 1/2 mile climbing section category (15.4%)
  • Most Technical Descent in Northern California
  • Needless to say, Mix Canyon, by the stats, is an epic climb. Gates Canyon is no easier.

    Anyway, I started out at Alamo Creek Park Park in Vacaville. From here, I headed north on Alamo Dr, quickly turned left on Foothill Dr, then turned right right on Pleasants Valley Rd. Pleasants Valley is a pleasant, scenic road:

    From 2010-08-18 – Vacaville Cycling – Mix Canyon & Gates Canyon Climbing
    From 2010-08-18 – Vacaville Cycling – Mix Canyon & Gates Canyon Climbing

    After about 4 miles of rolling terrain along Pleasants Valley Rd, I hit the infamous Mix Canyon:

    From 2010-08-18 – Vacaville Cycling – Mix Canyon & Gates Canyon Climbing

    Initially, Mix is an easy, scenic ride through pleasant farms:

    From 2010-08-18 – Vacaville Cycling – Mix Canyon & Gates Canyon Climbing

    Read the Full Ride Report

    5

    San Bernardino Mountains – Valley of the Falls – CA-38 (State Route 38) to Forest Falls Hill Climb


  • 4,279 ft elevation gain
  • 14.5 miles in length
  • 5.6% average grade
  • If you start in Mentone, those are the stats. That is definitely a solid climb. You can also cut off a few miles of somewhat boring climbing and start at the intersection of 38 (Mill Creek Rd) and Bryant. If you do this, you will miss almost 900 feet of shallow climbing. With that said, the climbing you will miss is nothing special. So, if you are going for overall climbing, start in Mentone. If you are going for scenic climbing, start at 38/Bryant. Additionally, if you start at 38/Bryant, your average grade will be 6.3% for over 10 miles. Not bad. The rest of this post assumes a starting point at 38/Bryant.

    The initial section of 38 (above Bryant) has a minimal shoulder:

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    Given the relatively steady traffic, this is the only somewhat unpleasant section. Luckily, the shoulders open up pretty quickly for the rest of the ride:

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    The rest of the ride along 38 is a very scenic ride up a valley with few curves:

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    The traffic, while not heavy, is relatively constant and somewhat fast. The wide shoulder for most of 38, however, makes this section surprisingly pleasant.

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    The grade is, for the most part, extremely steady and relatively shallow. While I love steep climbs, it is also nice to be able to shift up a few gears and power on at more than 6 mph at times! And, of course, some pleasant scenery doesn’t hurt.

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    Awesome valley to be riding up!

    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls
    From 2010-07-11 – San Bernardino Mountains Cycling – 38 to Forest Falls

    Read the Full Ride Report

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