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Cycling Montebello Road
Ride 5.2 miles gaining 2,036’ at 7.3% average grade.
This climb begins at the western tip of Stevens Creek Reservoir in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Cupertino, California. The first 1.5 miles greet us with nearly double digit average grade. Thereafter, the climb is much more comfortable and gives us some great views to the east of Mt. Hamilton, Moffett Field giant dirigible hangars, Mt. Diablo, and generally the Silicon Valley.
Before heading to California on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
Start: Ride up Montebello Road from its T intersection with Stevens Canyon Road.
Who would have known that just a few miles west of Cupertino, CA and the Silicon Valley, we are in Wine Country! There are several vineyards/wineries clearly visible as we climb into the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation.
Views along the climb.
Moffett Field to the northeast.
Top Left: PICRYL Collections
Top Right and Bottom: Wikipedia
We have amazing views of the Silicon Valley and South Bay along this climb, including the retired Naval Air Base, Moffett Field. Moffett Field is home to some of the largest freestanding buildings in the world (old dirigible Hanger 1 covers eight acres). I have fond memories of Moffett Field, having flown into it from Midway Island when I was stationed there (1976-1977) and serving as a Naval Judge Advocate General Corps during breaks from Santa Clara Law School (1981-1984).
Hanger One’s history:
“Built in 1931-1932, designed by German airship engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein for the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation, Hangar One covers 8 acres and can accommodate six American football fields.
It measures 1,133 feet (345 m) long and 308 feet (94 m) wide and 198 feet (60 m) high. The hangar's interior is so large that fog sometimes forms near the ceiling. The "orange peel" doors, weighing 200 short tons (180 metric tons) each, are moved by their own 150 horsepower (110 kW) motors.
At the time this was built, it was the largest building in the world without interior supports, providing an unusually extensive room for the construction of "lighter-than-air" airships. It was significant for U.S. Navy coastal defense capabilities during the peacetime era between 1932 and 1941 and construction of USS Akron and its sister ship, USS Macon, built in 1931 and 1933. These two airships were 785 feet (239 m) in length” (read more here).
San Jose to the east.
Stevens Creek Reservoir with Mt. Hamilton in background center left.
Mt. Diablo 40 miles northeast.
More views along the ride.
Roadway Surface and Traffic Report: The road is in fairly good shape and is two lanes for the first two miles, narrowing to one lane for the last three. There is very little traffic along the route, it ends at a dead-end and is considered very safe and enjoyable.