Here are the special "Low-Key Climb Ratings" for the climbs in this year's series. The rating is in Old La Honda equivalents, where Old La Honda is by definition 100. Of course, everyone has their own idea of how steep compares with long, or with steady compares with variable, so don't associate any sort of precision to these numbers. But you can be fairly sure the climbs with the highest numbers will be challenging!
Note: ratings were recalculated in Oct 2011 using an improved smoothing algorithm; the prior algorithm was not optimized for non-uniform meshes. Typically scores changed by approximately 2 points.
Kennedy scores at the top because of its extended steepness. It's also dirt, which adds real difficulty, but the rating fails to consider that. So I think it's safe to say it's earned it's #1 slot for the year!
Soda Springs gains a lot of altitude and a consistently steep grade. But it never gets super-steep. Riders shouldn't have an issue keeping their low gear moving on Soda Springs.
Mount Hamilton is all about the sheer magnitude. The grade is gradual, and the intermediate descents hurt its climb ratings, but from a sheer physical challenge this one is tough.
Quimby Road is substantially shorter. But it dishes out some serious steep stuff. That the steep stuff comes at the end perhaps increases the challenge, although the rating doesn't care if it's the beginning or end. Of the paved climbs this year, this is the toughest "steep climb".
Montebello is Montebello. Not super-steep, not super-long, a good mid-range climb. It's no coincidence we use this as our opener every year.
San Gregorio with West Alpine is a tough, long combination. But since the rating scheme focuses on the climb aspect, the slog up 84 doesn't contribute anything to the final rating. If you go out too hard here, however, you'll b