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Mission Peak - November 29, 2009

Distance: 9.86 miles Ascent: 2436 feet Moving time: 1:33 hours

The weather has been great for the end of November. The temperature has been reasonable and the air has been clear due to some recent breezes. We decided it would be a good day to climb Mission Peak to take in the view. This turned out a bit differently than we expected.

The weather report was for clear skies, calm winds, and a temperature in the mid-sixties, and the weather at home seemed to confirm the forecast. We packed up and went to Fremont. We notice that it was considerably windier there. As we climbed up the southern end of Panorama Trail and onto Peak Trail, the wind picked up even more speed. It was blowing pretty hard into our faces on the climb up to Mill Creek Road. The singletrack along Mill Creek Road provided a bit of a respite from the wind before we encountered it again on the fire road climb up Eagle Creek. As we approached the summit, the winds became ferocious. Ken estimated the wind speed at the top at 60 mph. I don't know if that is accurate, but the wind was certainly strong.

The air was very clear. From the summit, we could see San Francisco, Oakland, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Hamilton and snow on the Sierras. It was quite impressive and not something that is properly captured with a camera. After snapping a few pictures and putting on jackets, we headed back down.

The top part of the descent turned out to be the trickiest part of the ride. The wind wanted to blow us off the trail and actually did in one place. I was able to do a trackstand in one place without brakes! We stopped to watch the later riders traverse some rocks in a spot where the wind was so concentrated that you had to lean into the wind to keep upright. This section was followed by a section in a "wind shadow" with relatively little wind. Coming out of this section was another high wind section that blew all of us across the trail like so many dry leaves. We made it and then laughed at the difficulty of the descent.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. It was different and fun to be riding in so much wind. I think we will remember these winds for some time.

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