Tag Archives: topocreator

Birmingham ridges

After three weeks of traveling out west and enjoying some really amazing riding and sightseeing with the family, I have been enjoying a week of riding back in Birmingham. Today’s ride typifies the type of ridge riding that you can do here in Birmingham. I started out this ride with a loop on the side of Little Valley Mountain followed by a route crossing all the major ridge lines to Birmingham. Then I turned around and took a different route home recrossing the same ridge lines at different points. After a quick stop at home, I did a loop through Bluff Park bouncing back and forth between the two ridge lines on top of Shades Mountain. That last bit through Bluff Park is shown with ridge and creek crossings highlighted in the first elevation profile and map below:


Numbered crossings of the two ridge lines across the top of Shades Mountain. Click to enlarge

  1. My neighborhood – on the remnants of Altadena Ridge
  2. Little Shades Creek – feeds into the Cahaba River
  3. Little Valley Mountain – Panorama Dr home of S Cove, Renfroe, VHHS
  4. Little Shades Creek again – after the S Cove Dr descent
  5. Little Valley Mountain again – this time descending off the other side of the mountain via Gay Way
  6. Patton Creek headwaters – near Vestavia Pizitz Middle School
  7. Vestavia Lake overlook – high point on the lower Shades Mountain ridge
  8. Vestavia Falls bridge – tucked down below a cliff, cool and shady
  9. Hwy 31 at Shades Crest – right before the descent past Brookwood hospital. Crosses the upper Shades Mountain ridge
  10. Shades Creek – high bridge (Hwy 31) over the creek and Lakeshore trail
  11. Red Mountain on Woodcrest – http://goo.gl/maps/xHwf – super steep descent to Five Points South
  12. Five Points South – still nearly hundred feet above downtown (Village Creek, etc…)
  13. Red Mountain Crest Rd with all the mansions across the top of the ridge – http://goo.gl/maps/MTu2
  14. Shades Creek – after descending down through Mountain Brook (Crestline Village)
  15. Shades Mountain eastern ridge – the part of Shades Mountain east of US-280
  16. Shades Creek at the 280 flyunder – http://goo.gl/maps/hjbV – flying down westbound 280, cross under on Shades Creek Pkwy, back up the ramp/climb eastbound 280
  17. Shades Mountain high point crown – this includes the real high point at Vestavia Dr plus lower summits at Smyer Circle and Chester St
  18. Little Shades Creek – awesome descent down Vesclub – crossing the creek at an upper branch
  19. Dolly Ridge at Skyland roller coaster
  20. Little Shades Creek – down at the actual creek
  21. Dolly Ridge at Rosemary
  22. Altadena Ridge back in my neighborhood

Entire ride profile with 15 mile zoom (numbered ridges, creeks explained below)

  1. Little Valley Mountain
  2. Shades Mountain
  3. Shades Creek
  4. Red Mountain
  5. Shades Creek
  6. Shades Mountain
  7. Shades Creek
  8. Shades Mountain
  9. Little Shades Creek
  10. Hoover
  11. Patton Creek
  12. Shades Mountain
  13. Patton Creek

And finally, here is a topocreator map of the entire ride … plus a super hi-res version (10.7MB).
Entire ride – ridges and creeks annotated (click to enlarge) … or download the super hi-res version (10.7MB)

Lots of climbing stats

Today was quite a combination of rides — hitting a new personal record of shortest distance to 5,000′ of vertical gain on the way into work and then hitting 5,000′ ft again in less than 30 miles on the way home from work. Both rides were pretty slow with lots of weaving on the steep parts and several roller coaster repeats. The best thing about the roller coaster repeats is that they are insanely fast in the 53×11 on the descents and then nearly instantly into the 39×28 — that’s a lot of wear and tear on the derailleurs. No wonder I have broken three front and one rear derailleur in the past year and snapped several cables.

Morning ride (annotated) – click to enlarge

Afternoon ride topocreator map – annotated – click to enlarge

Annotated ibike data from morning ride (click to enlarge)

Annotated ibike data from afternoon ride (click to enlarge)

Finally, here are the garmin screenshots: