Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday's Ride

Trip Report:

Lea, Roberto, Mike Samuel joined me at Foothill and Homestead, followed by Marie-Claire, a cyclist who was meeting up with the WW. Since we all agreed that we were slow, we decided to get a head start on the ride and got going before the D group would swallow us up.

Sure enough, they caught us at the Mt. Eden/Stevens Canyon intersection, and though we took advantage of a rest room stop to get ahead to Redwood Gulch, we were soon enough passed by most of the folks. This was Lea's first time up Redwood Gulch, so she took her time, and we were dropped by the WW group at that point.

The climb up 9 was easy and uneventful, though it threatened to drizzle on us a bit. Along Skyline, the hoped-for view of Monterey Bay was missing, but the descent as fast and beautiful as usual, and we enjoyed the one lane section past Black Road which was very lightly traveled. Summit road was also quite pleasant, giving us lovely views of the fog shrouded Redwoods of Big Basin.

After crossing over 17, we violated traffic law by riding wrong way for 10 meters onto Mt. Charlie Road, which spat us out after a twisty windy descent onto Old Santa Cruz highway. I found this route a couple of years back when I discovered that Summit road between 17 and Soquel San Jose was just a bit too heavily traffic'd for my taste, and the sharp left turn onto Old Santa Cruz highway at the bottom of a 50mph
descent was too frequently done with impatient drivers sitting right on the back of my fender.

Old Santa Cruz highway was quiet and fun on Saturday, with speckled sunlight coming through the trees in the wooded sections. Taking care to stop at the stop sign where I got a traffic ticket last time, we eventually popped out alongside 17 and entered the highway for one block to Alma Bridge road, where thanks to Alex Knowles, we found the entrance to the Los Gatos Creek trail across the street from where the old bike path entrance was. The descent on the West side of the dam was new to me, and while it looked scary, was easily negotiated on a 25mm tire with little use of brakes. Unfortunately, on the flat section of the trail, Roberto had a diversion type fall caused by a protruding rock on the trail. The fall bent his rear dérailleur
hanger, but since we were near Los Gatos anyway, we rode onto main street, and went to Summit cycles where it took only 30 minutes and $25 for them to fix the hanger, easily done while we had lunch at the mediocre sandwich shop next door.

At that point, Lea was walking kinda funny, so she called Chris for a ride home while Robert, Mike and I rode the easy route back. We rode about 76.5km and though the altimeter said 2600m, I discounted that as being ridiculous (probably caused by the changing weather conditions) and will stick to the Western Wheeler estimate of 1200m or 4000'.
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