I joined my friend Geoff and a couple people from bikeforums.net for a climb up Montebello Road yesterday. Ivan (also from Alto Velo) and Becky joined us at the last minute.
Montebello is an excellent training hill but I find it works better when you are in better shape (or at least have gearing that matches your shape). When I am not in top form, the 39/27 just isn't quite enough for the couple of steep sections at the bottom. I know I am going well when I can mow through that section seated. Not yesterday - I had to grind grind grind out of the saddle in more than a few spots.
The climb is 3 parts - 2 miles at the bottom which are quite steep and not a lot of recovery. Then there is one blissful flat mile which is also shaded. Then you pull out of the shade and climb at a little less grade for 2 miles - the last chunk has some steeper sections as you go past Ridge winery. There are a couple of stair steppy pitches towards the very end - when you can see the big American flag flying by the house at the top you know you've got it and can attack for the top.
It was super hot yesterday which did add to the misery but the bottom line - I need to get my diet started if I want to get the form turned around....