This is a photo from the top of Rodeo Gulch Road in Santa Cruz, CA, with the Monterey Bay barely visible to the right.
Rodeo Gulch Road is steep, with some parts at a 17% grade. The ride starts from sea level and quickly rises to 900 feet elevation in 5 miles. At the top of the climb, one can see the Monterey Bay and the start of the Salinas Valley of which John Steinbeck wrote so eloquently.
Although not as steep as some nearby climbs, this is the hill that brought me back to health. I rode this relentlessly until I was able to complete it and fly down the backside through the shaded redwoods. Having such a hard climb close to home allowed me to attempt it again and again until I could make it to the top. Another advantage is that it is short. A short, hard hill ride gets one in shape twice as fast as the flats. This hill got my life back for me.