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Quadrophenia #9: Epic Dead Ends II (4/26/2014)

Date: Saturday, April 26
Meet time: 9:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting place: Parking lot at Villa and Franklin streets, Mountain View (across from the Tied House) (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Heavy rain cancels
Category: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 4 - several steep climbs
Miles: 54


Worried about doing this ride on the day before Day on the Ride? Worry not; read on.

Our first Epic Dead Ends ride earlier this season was such a hit, we've created the sequel. Today, we'll head into the South Bay for another half-dozen streets that go nowhere but sure look faaaaabulous while doing so.

This time, we head south and begin our climbing in Cupertino with Voss Avenue, a side street off Foothill Blvd. that you've no doubt seen hundreds of times by now. Perhaps you've wondered what awaits you up there; the answer is an 11.0% climb of about 0.2 mile. Now that we're warmed up, it's just a short jaunt through the neighborhoods of Cupertino to a more significant challenge: Regnart Road. This 1.6-mile climb is rated at only 6.4%, but that's because there's a much steeper section in the middle: 0.2 mile at more than 16%. Chances are that you'll need to take a break; the toughest challenge when doing so is getting started again! (Be sure to descend this steep and curvy hill carefully.)

Next, we're off to Saratoga for our next challenge: Upper Hill Drive (0.2 mile, 14%). This hill is so far off the beaten path that only 11 cyclists have ever recorded attempts on this hill in Strava!

After a quick rest stop, it's off to Los Gatos for the rest of our fun. First is Matilija Drive (0.4 mile, 13%), which takes us up over 1,000 feet elevation while still in a residential area. Then we'll take a quick break in downtown Los Gatos before we cross over Highway 17 for the combination of Cypress Way, Maya Way, and Aztec Ridge Drive (1.7 miles, 9.5%). Doesn't sound too bad, but the middle part is 0.2 mile at 14% as this one takes us up to nearly 1,400 feet.

One more dead end awaits us. To get there, though, we'll have to do the old favorite of climbing Kennedy Road, although we'll have a bit of a head start, so this time it's only 1.0 mile at 6%. If you've been to the top of Kennedy before, you might have noticed another road branching off to your left. It is called, appropriately enough, Top of the Hill Road, and we'll do it today.

So that's a half-dozen epic dead ends. We're done, right? Nooooooo. We'll head down the other side of Kennedy and begin to climb Shannon Road, but we'll turn onto Santa Rosa Road, which is marked as a dead end. It's 0.3 mile at an impressive 13.6% ... and then it starts to descend, gently at first but then steeply. You're beginning to dread the climb you'll have to make to get out of this dead end. And then, when you least expect it, there's a gate and a paved park trail! Just a little jaunt down the trail and, shazam, you're in south San Jose, just a few blocks from Blossom Hill Road. Sweet!

Remember up top when I said not to worry about tomorrow being Day on the Ride? Two reasons why. First, you can skip any or all of the dead ends to make the day easier. But second, after we're done with Santa Rosa Road, we're going to get home by the quickest, easiest route possible: 15 uninterrupted miles of wide-shoulder, flat, easy expressway riding on San Tomas and Central expressways, all the way back to downtown Mountain View. This ride truly has everything!

Ride With GPS reports about 4,700 feet of climbing; most GPS devices will report a little bit less.

This ride is Caltrain- and VTA-friendly. The first southbound train of the day leaves SF at 8:15 and arrives in Mountain View at 9:29. We're about four blocks from the station.

These rides are for experienced cyclists who know how to safely handle their bikes on climbs and descents. Please RSVP even if you're not sure you're attending. We use the RSVPs to plan support (including free bagels!), and if the weather might cause problems, it's important that we be able to reach you. Also, join our Facebook group to get additional updates and scintillating conversation.

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