In my eyes, the ability to, within 20 minutes of riding, be immersed with stunning views, nature and elevation is the single best perk of being in San Francisco. You cannot find anything like it near Waterloo or Toronto, and it feels like you in picturesque scene in a movie!
I had no prior experience climbing for extended periods of time. Depending on the derivative you choose, the route can vary widely in distance and elevation.
I chose one of the more difficult routes - which is doing the Alpine Dam, Seven Sisters and then the West Summit yielding 100km (62 miles) distance and 1500m (5000 feet) elevation gain.
Waking up at 6:30am, I ate a full breakfast and set straight to riding. The beginning started off rough, with one of my friends actually crashing while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge due to extreme fog. Luckily he wasn’t badly hurt, and the fog cleared once we passed the bridge. Riding through Sausalito was a pleasure, and we eventually stopped at Fairfax before the climb to eat lunch.
The climbs started off challenging, at ~6% grade for around 20 minutes. We met up with two other locals, and we tried to hold on while climbing. After, the seven sisters (which is a series of seven descents and climbs) were grueling, since you pickup speed but that final stretch is extremely steep and tough. In fact, after doing the fourth sister I had to stop for a 1 minute break. Lastly, the final stretch was the west summit which was around 300 feet of elevation gain - but that made the view well worth it!
Descending was actually quite technical, reaching speeds of over 60km/h down the windy roads down a mountain for over 20 minutes will get your adrenaline rush going!
West Peak View