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2009 Low-Key Hillclimbs
Make the Grade!

The Low-Key 2010 Illumix Studios Wall Calendar is available!
Thanks to Low-Keyers who nominated Illumix Studios photos for this project, and to Ken @ Illumix for doing a fantastic job in the design and execution!

Low-Keyers! Check out the San Bruno Hillclimb on the New Year, a classic climb and a fantastic way to start the new decade!

Next up for Low-Key:
The 2010 MegaMonsterEnduro!: about the same climbing as a good Low-Key, but over 102 miles. Go long!

Check out Tim Clark's Low-Key Hillclimb power-to-time converter! This uses high-resolution route profile data of each climb under the assumption of uniform power, accounting for wind resistance, rolling resistance, and, of course, overcoming gravity! Only approximate for runners....

Make the Grade!

Illumix photographs
the Low-Key Hillclimbs!
Back again, fresh and ready for 2009, the eighth edition of the Low-Key Hillclimbs. You are ready.

In 2008, the Low-Key Series explored some of the shorter of the long climbs in the Bay Area. Bear Gulch, Metcalf, and Lomas Cantadas are all direct, to the point doses of high intensity. But this year, you're not getting off so easily....

Come on out, and if you've enjoyed climbs in the past, volunteer to help out or even coordinate a week! Coordinators get to ride the entire series for free, while volunteers get 2 free weeks per week volunteering ()! Coordinator notes are available here!

The philosophy of the Low-Key series is to allow each cyclist, no matter what his or her level, no matter what his or her speed, to establish goals, and meet them. It's all about the hill, the rider, and being at one with the bike. We'll see you there.

The Schedule

week date time climb format coordinator results
1 03 Oct 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Montebello mass start results!
Brenda Brunner's photos
Luke Burton's photos
Calvin Do's photos
Illumix photos
Stephen Fong's photos
2 10 Oct 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
OLH small groups results!
Dan Talayco's photos
Christine Holmes' photos
Josh's finish line shots
Stephen Fong's photos
Illumix Studios fantastic shots
3 17 Oct 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Tunitas Creek-Star Hill-Swett mass start results!
Christine Holmes' photos
Josh's finish line photos
Mei Xi's photos from Swett
4 24 Oct 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Soda Springs mass start results!
Christine's photos
Luke's mid-climb shots
Josh's photos approaching the finish
Rich's finish line photos
5 31 Oct 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Montevina mass start results!
Christina Holmes photos (1)
Christina Holmes photos (2)
Joe Fabris approaching the finish photos
John Walker's stoker photo
Stephen Fong's photos
Joey Wu's photos
Illumix photos
6 07 Nov 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
On Orbit-Bohlman
mass start results!
Christine Holmes' photos
Adam Tow's photos
Phil Dubach's photos
Stephen Fong's photos
Michael Barnes' finish area photos
Illumix #1
Illumix #2
7 14 Nov 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Mount Diablo (N) time trial results!
Brenda Brunner photos
Illumix photos
Garrett Lau's photos
Carl Butler's photos
8 21 Nov 2009 reg 9:15 - 10:00
start 10:10am
Alba Road small groups results!
Christine's photos!
Ryan Gibson (selected)
Ryan Gibson (full set)
9 26 Nov 2009 reg 8:30-9:20
start 9:30am
Mt Hamilton mass start results!
Ron Brunner's photos
Josh Hadley's photos
Adam Tow
Joey's photos
Michael Barnes (finish line)

Each week, overall points will be allocated in men's and women's categories, with standings also recorded in rider-defined categories -- pick your own! Overall series rankings will also be maintained, with riders accumulating points from their best results (half, rounded up, of the total climbs so far).

Team scores will also be kept, with points to the top three from each team. Ride with an established team, or create one just for the series!

Details of the scoring system!

Complete Guide to Climbing
John Sommerson's excellent Complete Guide to Climbing by Bike is a 2009 Low-Key sponsor!! And new, this year, his Guide to Climbing in the Southeast US! Coming soon: Guide to Climbing in California!!!

You: The Volunteer

We need volunteers to make this series work! Volunteers get two free rides for each one at which they help out, plus get pro-rating of points so they don't miss out on overall standings. Coordinators get to ride the whole rest of the series for free!

Check out the list of volunteers so far, or if you're feeling ambitious, and want to coordinate, a how-to guide is here!

Fire off an email () if interested!

The Registration

Each week, registration will open an hour before the listed time, closing 15 minutes before. No pre-reg. $10 voluntary donation, volunteers get 2 weeks free, under 18 years old are free, coordinators are free! Waivers available at registration. Two free entries if you volunteer.

If you can, you'll want to print and fill out the PDF release form before the event.

Email List

We have an email list! See http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/lkhc/.

Getting There

To avoid congestion and other headaches please do the following:

  1. park legally (ok, goes without saying, right :)
  2. park away from the climb location and ride to the registration and staging areas - this avoids masses of cars and bikes, which isn't good. Plus, you need a warm up anyway, right? Most, if not all, of these climbs have ample parking within a good warmup distance from the registration, staging and the start.

Better yet, ride to the start, or take public transit! The relaxed Low-Key start time make riding and/or taking the train an excellent option. See Caltrain's website for train schedules, or 511.org for BART and bus options. Bike route info is also available from 511.org.

The Low-Key Way

The low-keys are just what you want them to be. We do time and keep track of times and points, but by no means is that the main reason for these climbs. They're for having fun, checking out the area climbs, and meeting people.

A wide spectrum of folks climb this series - and you can create your own team and category. Or, better yet, choose an existing category, for a bit of friendly Low-Key competition.

For those new to Low-Keyin', the process is simple:

  1. you show up at the start (we like to encourage people to ride to the start to minimize congestion), register, sign the release, get your special NUMBER STICKER that you place on your handlebars (something people keep throughout the series, and the years... anyone still have their sticker?)
  2. then depending on the climb, we either mass start the group, or start you in small groups, or individually..
  3. you climb to the top at your own pace - some fly up, others sit and chat with friends and other riders
  4. when you reach the top, you yell out your number (which is funny to watch as some folks can barely speak), we record the time,
  5. then you can eat our array of bananas, fruit drinks, etc and socialize with the folks at the top.
  6. About a day later, we place the times on the website along with "points earned" (details available here)... each week we do this and tally the votes until the end when...
  7. we have the final ceremonies for several categories we make up - some standard ones, some unexpected.


Email Dan Connelly

"Without Low Key, I never would have learned how hard I can push myself, for so long." -- Pat Parseghian, 2007 Endurance winner

Dan Connelly