Friday, February 17, 2017

Kneeland Hill Climb

Distance: 4.63 miles one-way
Climbing: 2132 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Freshwater



Every January 1st local riders gather at Three Corners to race up Kneeland. To some it is a race and test of their fitness. For others it is a local tradition not to be missed like the Tour of the Unknown Coast. January 1st can also be a simple test of will power because Kneeland has been covered in rain, snow, or tree branches like in 2006.

As far as I know there is no official list of fast times. A ride under 30 minutes is considered fast. The best information I have is from a Times Standard article from around 1988 or 1989 from the 4th of July Stage Race. One of the stages climbed Kneeland with the following top three times:

Chris Hinshaw, 23:25
Jim Allen, 24:38
Scott Winfield, 25:57

Chris Hinshaw was a world class triathalete who won major triathalons in the late 1980's. For example, in 1985 he was second to Scott Tinley in the Ironman World Championships. It is unknown whether 23:25 has ever been beaten officially or unofficially. It will take a world class athlete to beat this time!
During the "10 Annual" Kneeland Hillclimb, October 25, 1992, David Anderson won in 26.36, followed by Wes Thornton (26:42), Tom Herron (27:24), Mike Clark (27:31), John Bergenske (28:00), and Bob Beede (29:29), with the remainder of the riders over 30 minutes.
During the 1993 Fourth of July Stage Race, stage 5 was the Kneeland Hillclimb. Jim Allen was 1st in 25:24, followed by Wes Thornton (26:33), John Bergenske (29:01), Luke Mason (29:12), and Randy Mason (29:33)
During the Fourth of July Bicycle Race Brad Taylor won the Kneeland stage in 24:53, with Damon Kluck second, and Dave Anderson third (Times-Standard, July 5, 1994, page D3).

I have given Kneeland a moderate rating because of its short distance. However, climbing is not everyone's "cup of tea" so it is not an easy ride. The ride starts every January 1st at 9:00 AM at Three Corners. To get there travel approximately 4.5 miles on Myrtle Avenue from downtown Eureka. Once everyone is gathered the ride proceeds 3 miles east on the Freshwater/Kneeland Road to the start of the climb. The climb officially starts once you pass Freshwater Park where the County Road Maintenance facility access road intersects Kneeland Road. There is a small white road sign on the right side of the road where the road begins to climb. Start your timer here. The ride ends at the Kneeland Post Office.




For recent times, here is a link to the Strava Segment


Here is a YouTube video showing the descent.  The big reward for climbing Kneeland.







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