If you bicycle in the East Bay you'll eventually have/want to conquer a climb here and there.
Mt. Diablo is the obvious goal as it peers down at us each day and night, taunting us to finish "The challenge", daring us to ascend over 3800ft. in less than an hour.
There are other climbs that are part of popular loops for the locals as well : Pinehurst, Wildcat Canyon, Grizzly Peak, Bear Creek, Palomares Grade, Redwood Rd., Calavares, etc. You get the idea, we've got hills and they are beautiful, scenic, and challenging.
So what if the beautiful, scenic, challenging hills become your enemy because they hurt you ? Or what if you'd like to ascend one of these marvels because you are no longer intrigued with traveling old railroad systems but are feeling anxious about your cycling prowess ?
Good news,there's help in technology ie. gearing. Before we continue we can all agree that fitness plays a big role in getting up the hill faster but let's pretend that not everyone is riding/training as much as they'd like to.
The easiest change is to the rear gears. Count your biggest rear cog. Most modern road derailleurs can handle 28 or more teeth in a ten speed application.
If you have fewer than 28 than consider a new rear cassette. With the addition of a mountain style rear derailleur you can really make a dramatic difference to 32 or more teeth.
Now you can approach those climbs with confidence and add elevation to your next cycling adventure. Remember every climb has a descent, yay!