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Low-Key HillClimb Series:
Week #9 - Thanksgiving Day Mt Hamilton Hillclimb (San Jose); 28 Nov 1996


The Rebellion is Crushed

With first place locked by Tracy Colwell and Liz Beneshin in the men's and women's categories, the attention of the world was focused on the team competition during this, the final week of the 1996 Low-Key Hillclimb series.

2nd place TNT

TNT, led by Dick and Roxeanne Robinson, went into the day trailing local racing powerhouse Alto Velo by 57 points, 6708 to 6651, with Team Adventure solidly planted in third position. Despite the apparent deficit, however, saavy followers of the standings realized that with their low score from week 1 due to be devalued to a weighting factor of zero, TNT needed only a tie to take the lead for the first time in the series; the only time that matters.

LordWinterfield rallies his Alto Velo troops

1st place Alto Velo

Still, Alto Velo's strength and depth were formidable. Despite the absence of team-leader Liz Benishin, Alto Velo was out in force to crush the uprising of little TNT. Of its heavy-hitters, only Giorgio Consentino and Mike Podgorski (who received an adjusted time toward the overall after missing the final turn) had a solid performance for the underdogs, with Kirsten Neubauer not starting, and I (Dan Connelly) suffering in the wet, windy, and cold conditions to finish well below expectations. Alto Velo's cadre of race-hardened minions won the battle and thus the war, but TNT fought valiantly to the end. The effort will not be soon forgotten.

And none will forget today's climb, with the mist and cold wind turning this epic into an ultra-epic; all who finished are victors.

And so, the 1996 Low-Key Hillclimbs conclude, leaving only the No-Key Hillclimb of Old La Honda. Hopefully, we'll see you there!

Results are in!!!
Rob Schott's report is in!!!


Upward, further, higher.... you're having trouble remembering what it feels like to not be climbing. Does the summit exist? Will it ever arrive? Why are you here? Why did you come? You could be home watching football right now...

Finally, ahead, you see it. The observatory -- your goal. There is an end to the pain... there will be an end to the suffering.

Yes -- you're almost there.

Only five miles to go...

This is the finale of the 1996 Low-Key Hillclimb Series. We've saved the longest for last -- 19 miles and 4300 vertical feet....more climbing than any 2 other hills in the series combined, neglecting Diablo.

If you are riding to survive, just pace yourself and contemplate the views of the valley below. When shrowded in fog, the valley is an eerie and beautiful sight. When clear, the expansive views of San Jose and the surrounding Silicon Valley are..... well.... a matter of taste.

If you are riding to go fast, though, you will need to stay totally focused on the task at hand. Always, you are pushing yourself, tempting your threshold of pain, probing your sustainable limits. Stay relaxed, focus on breathing, focus on pedalling, focus on the rider ahead.... To achieve your goal, to produce your best time, you need to constantly focus.... probe,.... push... for all 19 miles of the seemingly endless road.

But when you arrive at the observatory, the pain will be forgotten, but the achievement will remain. Absorb the view to the east in the company of your fellow cyclists...while your neighbors are watching others achieve on their televisions, you are achieving on your own.

When's dinner?

Check out the Lick Observatory home page, which includes an excellent photo tour of Mount Hamilton and the climb from San Jose! (the photos on this page are pointers to images from the site.)

The Details

Distance: 19 miles (gasp!)
Climbing: 4300 feet
Format:mass start
Start: the intersection of Alum Rock Avenue and Mount Hamilton Road in San Jose
Directions: Check out the interactive Yahoo map!
Finish: The Lick Observatory parking lot.
Reg Time:10:00 am to 10:20 am
Start Time:10:30 am
Fee:3 bucks
Weather: 54F at start, 46F at finish. Misty at start and near and on summit. Cold wind throughout.
Map: [course map]