Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Annual New Year’s Day Kneeland Hill Climb

I decided to start off 2008 by participating in the Annual New Year’s Day Kneeland Hill Climb. This is an informal event – you just show up and ride. I awoke at 7:45 a.m., slammed a cup of coffee and was out the door and on my bike by 8 a.m.


The photo above, taken from the Arcata Bottoms, shows my destination. Well, I’m pretty sure the arrow is pointing at Kneeland. Or is it?

It was as cold as a witch’s tit outside. Fortunately, the day before I purchased a nice scarf and a snazzy wool Pendleton cowboy shirt (with snaps!) at a thrift store. Yee-hah! The ride was supposed to start at 9 a.m. near the Three Corners Market. I thought I was making good time, but when I arrived I was two minutes late. Everyone had already left. I later learned that most riders had started a tad early. None of this really mattered because this wasn’t really a group ride anyway.

As I started pedalling up Kneeland, sans the wool, I found it difficult. I was huffing and puffing. I felt like I was making pretty good time, but I was hurting. Part way up I came across Mike Cent and rode with him for awhile. I think my breakfast kicked in a little later, because suddenly I was full of energy and feeling good. I was in the groove. I pulled ahead and continued up and up.

View from Kneeland

Here’s a view of the bay from Kneeland. Last time I pedalled to Kneeland, I got as far as the post office. This time I decided to shoot for the airport.

kneeland countryside

Last year I made some derogatory comments about Kneeland, but that's before I saw the countryside on the way to the airport. It's spectacular. I hereby retract my negative comments.

Bicyclists near Kneeland Airport

Most of the cyclists I encountered were heading back from where I was going. This is on the way to the airport.

Kneeland Airport

This is my trophy shot.

bike in snow

I thought there might be a lot of snow up there, but there were only small patches.


This fellow flew over my head.

fickle hill.butler intersection

Mike told me that I could connect to Fickle Hill Road off of Butler Valley Road. The advantage was that I could avoid the unpleasantness of Old Arcata Road on my way home. So I went for it. It starts off as a gravel road.

Fickle Hill timber

You go through some serious timber areas. I imagine that during a regular weekday there are lots of logging trucks. It's a pretty tough climb.

Fickle Hill Road, paved

Further up the road is paved. It feels more like the Hammond Trail than a road.


When I got to HSU I was out of food and water. I pedalled back to McKinleyville. Total miles: 58.

This was a great way to start the year.


Blogger Jim Robbins said...

You really have a great photographic eye and a fun way of writting up your adventure. We ended up riding Fickle Hill too, but skipped the trip up to the airport. Happy New Year! Jim Robbins

8:49 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Thanks Jim. Do you guys keep your times for Kneeland? I'm curious how I might compare.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Jim Robbins said...

Yes, It is an unofficial race and the front group really tries for good times. I clocked a 29:23 and David Figueiredo clocked a 29:17. The next couple of guys were just over 30 minutes and people trickled in one by one from there. The record is an amazing 23:25 or so which is unthinkable. Jim

7:33 PM  

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