9/23/06: Page Mill Road (37.9 Miles)

I rode up Page Mill Road for the first time today. At 8.4 miles, Page Mill is one of the longest climbs in the bay area. However, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. The climb took me just over an hour. Stupidly, I forgot to check my time at the top of the hill, but I was just passing the one hour mark near the top and I think 1 hour and 3 minutes is a good estimate.

Page Mill was definitely a hard climb, but frankly I was surprised that it wasn’t harder. 8.4 miles of climbing is somewhat of an exaggeration because the first mile is very gentle and the last 2 miles are also quite forgiving. The 5 miles of climbing in the middle can be quite tough at times but there are frequent short flat spots (maybe 10-20 yards) that provide a couple of seconds of rest.   Page Mill Road is steep and there are a couple of brutal sections.  Many people find the climb after Foothill Park to be especially steep.  For whatever reason, this stretch didn’t phase me.  However, there is a .75 mile section around mile number 4 that really challenged me.
One other interesting note is that I took about 5 seconds to check out the intersection where the Alpine Road (fire road) meets Page Mill near the top.  At one point Alpine Road connected with Page Mill, but part of the road was destroyed by an avalanche and it is now only used as a fire road.  According to the

After reaching the top I took Skyline to Old La Honda (West), which I descended to Highway 84. I rode back up to Skyline on 84 with a couple who was struggling because the woman had hurt one of her legs. I wanted to make sure they were okay so I rode behind them until we got to Alice’s Restaurant.

After coasting down 84 into Woodside, I decided to checkout Bear Gulch Road, which is one of the last paved routes to Skyline that I’ve yet to climb. Bear Gulch is supposed to be much steeper than Old La Honda or Kings Mountain, but not much is know about it because it has been a gated private road since 1978. I rode up to the gate, which is about a third of a mile up the road to check it out. The road leading up to the gate is definitely steeper than Old La Honda or Kings Mountain and its pretty narrow as well. I would really love to try climbing it some time and it wouldn’t be too hard to get past the gate, but there is a video camera and a sign that very clearly says, hiking and cycling on the road is forbidden. Also, there seemed to be a lot of traffic on the road and I suspect that if home owners really don’t want cyclists on the road, it would be tough to make it to the top (where there is a second gate) without at least one of the drivers reporting the trespassing to the police. After hanging out at the gate for a couple of minutes, I turned back around and headed home to Palo Alto through Woodside and then Menlo Park.

Here are my stats:

3h 12m 3s

37.85 miles

11.8 avg mph

33.3 max mph

129 avg heart rate

169 max heart rate

1096 calories

14 comments so far

  1. Adrian on

    That’s funny. I did Page Mill for the first time on Saturday as well. I started late afternoon (4:30pm from my house, 5pm I was on the hill) and I only saw one other cyclist on Page Mill at all, and she turned onto Altamont.

    I agree with your sentiment that it’s a hard climb, but that I was expecting it to be harder. That steep section by Gate 3 of Foothill Park (or whatever it’s called) and then that other steep section near Los Trancos were both pretty rough, though.

    I put the climb at 7-7.2 miles. I started my trip mode on my computer where I thought the climb began and at 0.2miles in I said “oh this is definitely part of the climb.” I stopped it at the stop sign at Skyline.

    I also forgot to stop my clock at the top, but after a couple minutes of stretching and eating a power bar said 1:01, so I think I just scrapped in under an hour.

    I wouldn’t have had legs to bike up any part of 84, I’m pretty sure.

    One question, is your heart monitor/ computer calculating those calories? I suspect it’s actually quite a bit more than 1096 as they say each (flat) hour on the bike at 15mph is 750 calories. Your average was slower than that, but you were on the bike over 3 hours and there was about 2400 feet of elevation gain, which adds some calories.

    (It looks like there’s a bit of your post missing, by the way. It says “One other interesting note is that I took about 5 seconds to check out where” and then a new sentance starts. Sometimes that happens to me if I mess up a a href tag.)

  2. adrian is rad » page mill ride on

    […] I did Page Mill Rd, one of the hardest hills around here, for the first time on Saturday (coincidentally so did Palo Alto Cyclist). The sort of triumvarite of hills around here are Page Mill, Old la Honda and King’s Mountain. […]

  3. cyclist on

    yeah, my heart rate monitor is at Cateye and it sucks. It constantly loses contact and reads my heart rate at zero, so all of my HRM stats are low by at least 1/3.

    I wrote about my hrm issues here:


    Also, yes, some how I managed to truncate two paragraphs of the post that I’ll have to fix soon.


  4. cyclist on

    Okay, now the post is updated and I’ve rewritten the missing sections.

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