Critical Section

riding up rockstore

Saturday,  02/09/08  08:02 PM

I ended up riding up the [infamous] Rockstore climb.  From my house this is a 30mi loop, about 15 miles to reach the climb, 3 miles up, and then 12 miles back.  This ride also features a couple of smaller climbs and a spiffy descent down Decker Canyon, as well as some nice flat powering, so it has a little of everything.  And it is beautiful!  This is some of the best riding anywhere...

BTW I'm not the only one who thinks so; check out this article from Competitive Cyclist, reporting on Team CSC's training in these very hills: "The general area around Agoura Hills - our understanding is that it basically straddles the Ventura/Los Angeles County line - might possibly hold the best riding in America.  In previous years we've logged big miles around Encinitas, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, and we're fond of all those places.  But none of them matches the mix of savage climbing, spectacular scenery, and lack of traffic we found around Agoura Hills."

I thought you might enjoy some snaps of the ride, so I whipped out my trusty Treo; here ya go...

The start! - the iconic Rock Store itself, with the usual posse of Harleys...

Starting metrics: 630ft, 14.5mi.

It starts "slow"...

Ouch, that first turn, and the road tilts up.

Yes Virginia, this is a climb.  But "only" 7% here.

The road curves around a lot - now we're heading right at the summit.

This is a cool curve, literally, shaded by a big rock.

This straight section is the calm before the storm...

...and now we really start climbing.

On and on it goes, fortunately there is some shade.

Peeking back down into the valley where we started.

Back up we go, again headed at the summit - and the sun.

More shade, whew.  The road winds all around itself.

Cresting the steepest section yet.  11%, baby, and feels like more.

Almost there!  The last curve.
This is popular with motorcycles, who take it at speed.

Another look down - we've come a long way!

A tribute to Lance - way cool.  But we're not quite there yet.

One last straight to the top, with an overlook at the left.

Powered cycles congregate at the overlook.

The top!  Yay!

{One day I rode up here and found a bunch of emergency vehicles, a Ferrari had just hit a motorcycle head-on.  The Ferrari was totalled and the cycle was, well, a ball of metal.  Very sobering.  I think about it every time I reach this spot.}

Final metrics - 1920ft (+1290), 16.9mi (+2.4). Kanan...

...a climb and some rollers later, down Decker!

Google Earth: Rockstore climb
And finally, a Google Earth view of the Rockstore climb.

So that was really fun, guess what I'm doing tomorrow?  The Amgen Breakaway from Cancer charity ride!  Which is a fifty mile loop around Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, featuring - ta da - the famous Rockstore climb.  Stay tuned for a full report :)

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