Sierra Road

Aug 24, 2011
Outside
Outside Magazine

  Sierra Road
The mere mention of it sends a quiver through the quads of Bay Area cyclists. The grades up this meandering slice of arcadian countryside on the north edge of San Jose reach 15 percent, with a 10 percent average over 3.5 miles and 1,700 feet of vertical gain. At this year’s Tour of California, Chris Horner capped Stage 4 by charging up Sierra Road in about 16 minutes. When I conquered it in early August it took me … longer than that. Turning onto Sierra from Piedmont, which skirts the blandly pleasant neighborhood of Piedmont Hills, you are confronted by a wall of blacktop. It’s the climb’s steepest point, and while it doesn’t last long enough to put you off, it does do a bang-up job of setting the tone. After the second turn, an empty plastic water bottle tumbled from my jersey, and I had to halt whatever momentum I had (not much, I can tell you) to retrieve it. At another point, perhaps a mile from the top, I stopped to shoot a “majestic” phone-cam pic of the entire South Bay, the dirty urban haze looming above it providing the source of those scare quotes. When I got home, that picture was nowhere to be found (believe me, no loss), but I did find these—a series of 13 pocket photos fired off as my phone jounced around in my jersey, the red and black fabric providing a Rothko-esque wash to pictures that at first glance appeared eminently deletable but on further inspection, through a series of inadvertent details—a skewed horizon line, telephone poles jutting up at odd angles, aloofly grazing cattle—offered a better account of that toilsome ascent than I could have myself.
—SEAN COOPER

Sierra Road

Sierra Road

Sierra Road


Sierra Road

 
Sierra Road
 
Sierra Road
Sierra Road  Sierra Road

Sierra Road

Sierra Road

Sierra Road

Sierra Road

Filed To: Adventure, Media, Biking

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