Ride Description: Old La Honda Rd.

Old La Honda is the most famous climb in the San Francisco Bay Area… its the Alp d’Huez of recreational cycling in Northern California. Much like the famous Alp, Old La Honda is neither the steepest nor the longest climb in the area. However, Old La Honda has a certain mystique that is due beauty its beauty, winding amongst the redwoods, approachability, which is very hard but still possible for determined recreational cyclists, and its proximity to highly popular cycling roads. Its also worth noting that much of the ride is shaded by trees, which makes it a good choice when looking for a climb on a hot day.
Old La Honda starts off of Portola Rd. in Portola Valley where it climbs up to Skyline Blvd. and then down towards the coast for a couple of miles before reconnecting with Highway 84. However, the famous climb starts at the little stone bridge and ends at the stop sign on Skyline Blvd. The climb is approximately 3.3 to 3.4 miles and averages a grade of 7.3% while winding its way up 1290 feet in elevation gain. For comparison purposes the Alp d’ Huez is an 8.1% average grade over 8.6 miles.

Old La Honda is the kind of road that puts most recreational cyclists into their easiest “granny” gear and makes them wish they had the relief of still easier gears. Most will climb to Skyline Blvd. in 20-45 minutes. I’ve rarely heard of anyone taking longer than 45 minutes while still being able to make it up the hill. In my opinion 30 minutes is a respectable time and 25 minutes very good. The local climb record is reportedly 15:05 and anyone getting up faster than 20 minutes is at least approaching semi-pro caliber.

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