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Quadrophenia #1: Highlands Highlands Highlands Highlands (1/10/2015)

Date: Saturday, January 10
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Stevenson Elementary School, 750 San Pierre Way (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Pace: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills, some steep climbs
Miles: 30

Welcome to the second season of AIDS/LifeCycle Quadrophenia, the hill-climbing extravaganza that will enable you to absolutely DEVOUR Quadbuster this June ... and enjoy it! Compared to last year, this year's rides have MORE total climbing but FEWER extremely steep climbs. We ride only every other weekend and we're low-pressure, so you don't need to quit any other fundraising team that you're on. We just want to make your legs scream now so that they'll smile on the event. Wait, legs don't smile, do they? Um, well, you get the idea.

For our first ride of the new year, we've got a new route that hits a couple of the more well-known moderate climbs around Los Altos Hills, but there's an all-new challenge waiting in the second half of the day.

We start with an easy spin through Palo Alto on our way to La Cresta Drive, a stairstep climb (0.8 mile, 6% average grade) that has alternating steep parts and flat parts. Then we'll climb the southbound direction of Elena Road (0.5 mile, 7%) on our way to Foothill College and then up Stonebrook Drive (0.3 mile, 6%) to the scenic Neary Quarry. We then get some relief with an easy spin to Foothill Expressway and into Cupertino for our rest stop.

Now the real fun begins. Highlands Circle in Los Altos is a brief but imposing 0.2 mile at 11% average. After you get to the top, though, you'll see several side streets to your right as you get ready for your descent. Why climb to the top of Highlands just once when you can get there four different ways? So we'll descend and then loop back around and climb Andover Way (0.1 mile, 10%), descend and then loop back around and climb Regent Drive (0.1 mile, 9%), descend and then loop back around and climb Yorkshire Drive (0.3 mile, 4%), and descend one last time. Whew!

(The alert reader will quickly recognize that any or all of the extra descents can be easily skipped ... or repeated, if that's what floats your boat.)

So now we're done and ready to head home, yes? Of course not ... this is Quadrophenia! We finish our day with the climb of West Loyola Drive (0.6 mile, 8%). Finally, this earns us a downhill ride all the way back into Mountain View and home to Stevenson Elementary. Welcome to the new year!

Ride With GPS reports about 1,950 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets and water are available nearby at Stevenson Park; Safeway and Jack In The Box are a half-mile away at Shoreline Blvd.

Click here to RSVP now
RSVPs are recommended but not required.

Quadrophenia Prelude #4: Egdirtsew (12/13/2014)

Date: Saturday, December 13
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Stevenson Elementary School, 750 San Pierre Way (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Pace: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills, some steep climbs
Miles: 35

Our final prelude ride of the season begins with a trip to Foothill College and the little climb up Taaffe Road, which might not hurt as bad because we're doing it at the beginning of the day. After that, we'll take an easy ride to our rest stop in Menlo Park and then head counterclockwise around the Portola Valley loop to our main destination of the day: Egdirtsew.

Egdirtsew? That's reverse Westridge! In the forward direction, Westridge is quite steep. But in the reverse direction, it's considerably mellower, relatively speaking. The biggest challenge is the mind game that you'll play as you confront not one, not two, but three false summits on the way to the top of the hill! After that, it's all icing on the cake: the usual route through the Arastradero Nature Preserve and Palo Alto back to Mountain View.

Ride With GPS reports about 2,450 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets and water are available nearby at Stevenson Park; Safeway and Jack In The Box are a half-mile away at Shoreline Blvd.

Click here to RSVP now
RSVPs are recommended but not required.

Quadrophenia Prelude #3: Parker Ranch (12/6/2014)

Date: Saturday, December 6
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Stevenson Elementary School, 750 San Pierre Way (map)
City: Mountain View
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Category: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills, some steep climbs
Miles: 31

The start of the regular training season in January is getting closer, so this week we're getting a little more serious about our climbing. We start by going into Los Altos Hills again for a little warmup on the easier direction of Highlands Circle -- a street we'll see plenty of, come January. Next, it's off to Cupertino for our first Epic Dead End of the year: the short but definitely attention-getting Voss Avenue. After that, we head uphill toward Fremont Older Open Space Preserve and today's main destination: the Parker Ranch development. We'll pass by a couple of evil-looking climbs, but we'll skip them today and save them for later in the season.

After a quick rest stop in Saratoga, we'll do the two-fisted climb of Sarahills Court, one of last season's, um, "favorites," and we'll follow that up with the backside (the tougher side) of Mount Eden. It's all easy after that as we visit scenic Stevens Canyon on our way back to Mountain View.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,950 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets and water are available nearby at Stevenson Park; Safeway and Jack In The Box are a half-mile away at Shoreline Blvd.

Click here to RSVP now
RSVPs are recommended but not required.

Death Valley in the Fall (11/22/2014)

Date: Saturday, November 22
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:15 a.m.
Meeting place: Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek Visitor Center (map)
Rain policy: Heavy rain cancels
Category: 3 - moderate-fast pace (12-15 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills, some steep climbs
Miles: 36-48

Bicycling in Death Valley is an experience unlike almost anything else in the world. In fact, it's a multitude of experiences, depending on the altitude, season, and the weather; every visit is different. A few years back, several DSSFers traveled to Death Valley in the springtime for a major event, only to be confronted with impossibly strong headwinds, freezing temperatures, and even a mudstorm. Other times, the ride has been peaceful and serene, if a bit hot. The long-term average temperatures for November 22 are a high of only 73 degrees and a low of 49 degrees. So even if you've been to Death Valley before, consider joining me for this journey to three of the valley's key locations ... two of which are not part of any of the organized events that take place there.

We depart from the Furnace Creek visitor's center and immediately begin a short but attention-getting climb of about 200 feet, with an elevation at the top of, um, zero feet. Really. Sea level. Then we head south for about 16 miles of rolling hills as we gradually lose altitude on our way to Badwater, which at -282 feet is the lowest point in North America.

After a photo and toilet break, we begin to retrace our route back north, but we take a detour in this direction. We will travel the entire length of Artist's Drive, a 9-mile one-way road that begins with a moderate climb of about 1,000 feet before twisting among the scenic, colorful rock formations and then dropping back down to about -250 feet.

Next, we take Badwater Road back up to the Furnace Creek junction and elevation zero, and then we head east for a climb of about 650 feet to the Zabriskie Point parking lot. If you want to take pictures at the overlook, it's a bit of a hike on foot from the parking lot to the point itself (no bikes allowed). After that, it's all downhill back to Furnace Creek, where much-needed food and drink await.

Total climbing is about 3,500 feet. Two options are available to shorten this ride. You can skip Artist's Drive to save about 5 miles and 1,350 feet of climbing. You can skip the Zabriskie Point climb to save about 7 miles and 650 feet of climbing.

Lodging is your responsibility. Rooms at Furnace Creek are expensive; as of posting time, two-bed rooms for November 21 range from $209 to $273 plus tax. Beatty, Nevada, is one hour northeast and has a Motel 6 at $53 for one person. Pahrump, Nevada, one hour east, has two-bed rooms for $98. Ridgecrest, Calif., is about two hours southwest and has several name motels in the $70 range. There's also camping available at Furnace Creek Campground, right next to the meeting location, for $18 and up.

Death Valley National Park charges a $20 fee for each motor vehicle entering the park.

Because getting here is such a big deal, we will ride unless conditions are really, really bad or unsafe. Note that there are no services, no water, and no food along the entire route. You must bring enough food and water to cover the entire route. (You will likely require far more water than normal.) Toilets are available at key locations along the route. We have no SAG vehicle planned (you're welcome to volunteer to be one if you'd like); if you have a mechanical or other failure, you could be in the desert for a few hours until another rider can retrieve you. Because of National Park Service rules, this ride is limited to 19 people, including any SAG drivers. RSVPs are required for this event so I can keep you informed about anything that might come up.

Click here to RSVP now
RSVPs are required for this ride.