Upcoming rides I'm leading:
Saturday, November 19: Three Sisters and Wetlands Park, 36 miles

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St. George Christmas orphans (12/25/2015)

CANCELED - unfavorable weather
Date: Friday, December 25
Meet time: 11:15 a.m.
Ride-out time: 11:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Crosby Family Confluence Park, 2099 S. Convention Center Drive (map)
City: St. George, Utah
Rain policy: Rain or ice cancels
Pace: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 1 - mostly flat
Miles: 25

Yes, even in southern Utah, not everyone is able to be with their family or loved ones on Christmas. No point in sitting home alone; come on out and ride. (And even if you are with friends and family, join us after unwrapping the presents, and you'll still get home in time for dinner.)

Because it's Christmas (and because the early forecasts suggest it might be a bit chilly), today's route is relatively easy, with only a couple of mild hills. We start by heading east on the Virgin River Trail until it ends, then a little bit along Riverside Drive to join up with the new segment of the trail, extending past Sullivan Park and along the newest segment east of town. When the paved trail ends, we'll ride an easy 0.3 mile of sand/gravel to the "Bridge to Nowhere," and then head back into Washington via the Washington Dam Road. We'll eventually make our way to 2450 South and pick up St. James Lane to the Bloomington Hills Trail. Finally, we'll scoot under I-15 through the roundabouts (light holiday traffic, so no worries), ride past Bloomington Park, and then pick up the rest of the Virgin River Trail for our return to Confluence Park.

If there is significant rain on Christmas Eve, I will modify the route to not use the sand/gravel section.

We will not ride if the temperature at meet time is 32 degrees or below. Please RSVP if you're planning to attend; if I have zero RSVPs by December 23, I might cancel the ride. Bring whatever food you want or need; don't plan on anything being open along the route.

Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

New Year's Day at Sunrise Mountain (1/1/2016)

Date: Friday, January 1
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Sunset Station, 1301 W. Sunset Rd. (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 40

Happy New Year! Start your 2016 cycling off with a bang on this scenic and stimulating ride into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

We depart from Sunset Station, just off Hwy. 95, and we'll start with an easy spin over to Clark County Wetlands Park. (If it's cold, watch for the fascinating sight of steam rising from the Las Vegas Wash.) This takes us to Hollywood Blvd., where we'll slowly climb to the east side of North Las Vegas and our first rest stop.

Then, get ready to climb! Lake Mead Blvd. ascends 2.1 miles and gains about 500 feet on its way to the summit of Sunrise Mountain; it's got a couple of mildly steep parts (more like Evil Twins, not like Quadbuster), so you'll quickly forget about any morning chill that might be lingering. After that, get ready for fun: A descent of more than 6 miles (much of it on brand-new pavement with a gloriously smooth, wide shoulder) takes us into the Lake Mead NRA. This tollbooth is often closed on holidays, but if it's open, be prepared to pay a $10 cyclist fee (good for seven consecutive days, so come back later on your own) or show a valid pass. (The America the Beautiful interagency pass is valid, but the Red Rock-only pass is not.)

Take in the scenery as we ride through the recreation area and connect with Northshore Road, which rises and then descends steeply as it crosses Las Vegas Creek. This begins our other big climb of the day: 2.3 miles with an elevation gain of about 450 feet as we leave the recreation area and begin riding Lake Mead Parkway back toward Henderson. Again, a couple of short and mildly attention-getting parts, but nothing stupidly steep. After all, it's New Year's Day!

Our final 10 miles are mostly easy as we ride the smooth bike lane of Lake Mead Parkway back to Warm Springs Road (with a new buffered bike lane most of the way!) and our return to Sunset Station. Presto, you've already bagged 40 miles for 2016!

Ride With GPS reports about 1,900 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks are available inside Sunset Station. Park and meet in the east-side parking lot, off Marks Street near the hotel entrance. Follow the signs for "Meeting Rooms," and look for the black truck with ALC goodies.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

Boulder City (12/12/2015)

Date: Saturday, December 12
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Dec. 13
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with some steep climbs
Miles: 43

Today's ride starts again on the Union Pacific Trail, but today we'll turn off the trail after only about a mile and then gradually climb up Greenway Road into the Paradise Hills area for a little early fun on the rolling hills of this residential area.

Next, we'll pick up the River Mountains Loop Trail and head west up and over Railroad Pass, alongside U.S. 93, and into the outskirts of Boulder City. We'll do a big loop around the city, starting with a long and gradual descent toward the airport and continuing with a gentle climb up Georgia Avenue and over to the Nevada Way historic district and our first rest stop at mile 18.

After that, we'll explore a little more of the city before making our way over to U.S. 93 for a descent of more than 3 miles and about 900 feet into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. If we descend that much, we of course have to climb that much ... but we'll climb much of the way back on the much gentler (and, therefore a little longer) River Mountains Trail. We eventually have to do some of the climb on U.S. 93 (the flood channel doubles as the bike path, so we might use that if it hasn't been raining), and we'll take another rest stop partway up the hill at mile 30.

We'll take Industrial Road to bypass the steepest and highest part of the River Mountains Trail (don't worry, that's coming up on a future ride), and we'll eventually pick up the trail again for the short climb back over Railroad Pass. After that, the final 8 miles of the ride are almost all gently downhill!

Ride With GPS reports about 2,400 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd. just past the parking garage, toward the train tracks.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

Once around St. George (12/5/2015)

Date: Saturday, December 5
Meet time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Ride-out time: 11:30 a.m. MST
Meeting place: Starbucks, 1091 N. Bluff St. (map)
City: St. George, Utah
Rain policy: Rain or ice cancels
Pace: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 42

Today's ride is a simple loop around St. George. But because this is St. George, that means there's a bit of climbing ... and you'll be rewarded with a wide variety of outstanding scenery and generally low-traffic roads.

We begin by heading south toward Bloomington, across the Virgin River, in for a quick and early rest stop at mile 8, and up to River Road. From there, we'll make our way to ride 7 miles of the Southern Parkway, a glorious freeway-type highway that has smooth, wide shoulders and often has more cyclists than motorists. (It's also good low-stress training for the freeway segments of the event in June.) And if skies are clear, you'll be treated to excellent views of Signal Peak, the region's highest mountain at 10,364 feet. (Sorry, no roads go all the way to the top.)

Next, we'll ride northbound through Washington City to our second rest stop at mile 28 near I-15. We'll then head back toward St. George, but we'll take a little detour into the Green Spring residential area along the way for a fun climb and an even more fun descent.

We've saved our pièce de résistance for last! Southern Utah cyclists know Red Hills Parkway well. If you're visiting, you'll be amazed by the views of the red rocks and the desert as we top out at just over 3,200 feet of elevation before our final descent back to our meeting point.

If you're not up for the full 42 miles, there are plenty of ways to make the ride shorter. You don't have to be registered for ALC 2016 to ride ... although we might try to persuade you to think about ALC 2017 if you're not.

Ride With GPS reports about 2,200 feet of climbing for this ride. We meet at a Starbucks, and there's plenty of other food and drink nearby. I've made the meet time purposely late so that: (1) you'll have plenty of time to drive here in the morning if you wish, and (2) we'll hopefully avoid the worst of the autumn morning chill. We're less than two hours of driving time from the Spaghetti Bowl interchange in Las Vegas!

We will not ride if the temperature at meet time is 32 degrees or below.

Important note for Nevada riders: St. George is on Mountain Standard Time, one hour ahead of Las Vegas.

Join us and find out how our rides are different! We obey traffic laws and stop signs, we ride single-file, we don't paceline, we never-ever-EVER pass others on the right, we help one another, and we make sure everyone has a GREAT ride. Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

Clark County Wetlands Park (11/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, November 21
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Nov. 22
Pace: 2 - medium pace
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 36

More than half of today's ride is on paved trails that are part of the excellent cycling infrastructure in the southeast valley. When you think of "paved trail," you might think of flat and easy, but that's not always the case around here!

We start with a few miles of very gentle climbing on the Union Pacific Railroad Trail, which gains about 400 feet of elevation on its way to the edge of Henderson. Then we'll make a quick connection under 515/95/93 to join the River Mountains Trail, and we'll conquer the first three of the Seven Sisters, a series of short but moderately steep hills. After a short ride on Lake Mead Parkway to visit our first rest stop, we'll head into the Lake Las Vegas area, where we'll pick up the Wetlands Park trail, 6 miles of rollercoaster-type hills up and down and around the desert. Then it's back into civilization for our second rest stop, and a bit of riding on Boulder Highway and Gibson Road before we again pick up the Union Pacific trail for our last mile back to the Fiesta.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,400 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd., near the train tracks.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

ALC 2016 Southern Utah kickoff (11/14/2015)

Date: Saturday, November 14
Meet time: 10:30 a.m. MST
Ride-out time: 11:00 a.m. MST
Meeting place: Starbucks, 1091 N. Bluff St. (map)
City: St. George, Utah
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Nov. 15
Pace: 2 - medium pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 32

Southern Utah has some of the West's most amazing road cycling, and the ALC 2016 southern Utah training rides will take you to some of the most scenic and amazing places. Our season kicks off today with a red rock excursion past Snow Canyon into Ivins, a gentle climb into the community of Kayenta, and to our rest stop on tribal land of the Shivwits Band of Paiutes.

Next, we'll ride through Santa Clara and past some volcanic lava fields before reaching downtown St. George, where we'll ride past the temple before our final spectacular climb of the day to the top of Red Hills Parkway and breathtaking views of the hills before our final grand descent back to our meeting point.

If you're not up for the full 32 miles, there are plenty of ways to make the ride shorter. And all paces are welcome; we'll make sure nobody gets left behind. You don't have to be registered for ALC 2016 to ride ... although we might try to persuade you to think about ALC 2017 if you're not.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,670 feet of climbing for this ride. We meet at a Starbucks, and there's plenty of other food and drink nearby. I've made the meet time purposely late so that: (1) you'll have plenty of time to drive here in the morning if you wish, and (2) we'll hopefully avoid the worst of the autumn morning chill. We're less than two hours of driving time from the Spaghetti Bowl interchange in Las Vegas!

Important note for Nevada riders: St. George is on Mountain Standard Time, one hour ahead of Las Vegas.

Join us and find out how our rides are different! We obey traffic laws and stop signs, we ride single-file, we don't paceline, we never-ever-EVER pass others on the right, we help one another, and we make sure everyone has a GREAT ride. Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

Blue Diamond out and back (11/7/2015)

Date: Saturday, November 7
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Vista Commons, Charleston Blvd. at Desert Foothills Drive (map)
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Nov. 8
Pace: All paces welcome
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 25

The first official ALC Las Vegas training ride of the 2016 season is here! And we begin with one of the valley's most popular and scenic cycling routes: Red Rock Canyon Road. Because the season is still young (even if some of us are not), we're doing only part of it today -- the part out to Blue Diamond and back.

From our start in Summerlin, we begin climbing right away, but it's mostly gentle and not steep at all. Before you know it, you've climbed about 700 feet to the canyon overlook, and from there it's mostly downhill all the way into our rest stop in Blue Diamond.

Our route back is exactly the way we went out, so it's just about impossible to get lost. And if you're not feeling like the whole 25 miles yet, you can turn around at any point. The ride to the canyon overlook and back is a robust 13 miles. And all paces are welcome; we'll make sure nobody gets left behind. You don't have to be registered for ALC 2016 to ride ... although we might try to persuade you to think about ALC 2017 if you're not.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,360 feet of climbing for this ride. We meet in a big shopping center, so you'll be near every type of food and drink you might want. Park and meet in back of Albertsons. DO NOT park in any of the 2-hour signed customer parking zones, or your vehicle might be towed.

Join us and find out how our rides are different! We obey traffic laws and stop signs, we ride single-file, we don't paceline, we never-ever-EVER pass others on the right, we help one another, and we make sure everyone has a GREAT ride. Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

ALC 2016 Las Vegas unofficial kickoff ride (10/17/2015)

Date: Saturday, October 17
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels; make-up date is Oct. 18
Pace: All paces welcome
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 25

The ALC 2016 training season is underway across California, so it's time to have a kickoff ride in the Las Vegas Valley as well! Just like the official rides, this route is about 25 miles with not a lot of climbing. And all paces are welcome; we'll make sure nobody gets left behind on this route that combines paved paths with on-road riding. You don't have to be registered for ALC 2016 to ride ... although we might try to persuade you if you're not.

From our starting point near the 215/515 junction, we'll ride the Union Pacific Railroad Trail very gently upward to the end of the paved section, and then we'll cut over to the River Mountains Trail for the long, gradual descent back into the valley, with a toilet and water stop along the way. We'll continue our descent into the Lake Las Vegas area (with a couple of short hills on the trail, but it's OK to walk them), and we'll take another brief water and toilet stop at Terrazza Park before heading back on the new section of Galleria Drive before our last little gentle climb of about 200 feet back to the Fiesta.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,170 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd., near the train tracks.

Join us and find out how our rides are different! We obey traffic laws and stop signs, we ride single-file, we don't paceline, we never-ever-EVER pass others on the right, we help one another, and we make sure everyone has a GREAT ride. Everyone gets a detailed route sheet, and you're free to ride at your own pace or with others, whatever you wish.

Click here to RSVP now
Please RSVP so I can plan appropriately.

Endings and beginnings

Today I completed my final weekend of riding with AIDS/LifeCycle in the Bay Area: about 132 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. (Yikes! I think that's the most climbing I've ever done in two consecutive days.)

I attended my first ALC training ride on May 14, 2005 (but didn't ride in the event until 2006), and since then I've racked up exactly 70,853 miles on the bike. Doing these rides has brought countless joy to my life, and I've been touched by the many stories I've heard from those with whom I've had the privilege and honor to ride.

My next chapter begins later this week, but don't be surprised if at some point in the future you again see my name as a ride leader on the ALC calendar ... or maybe even see me on the event.

I'm not riding in ALC this year, so I don't have a fundraising account. But I encourage you to support your favorite cyclist or roadie in ALC 2015 so that SFAF and the Los Angeles LGBT Center can continue to do their vital work.

Quadrophenia #8: Old La Honda Plus (4/18/2015)

Date: Saturday, April 18
Meet time: 8:30 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:00 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: 4 - some steep hills; one long climb
Miles: 65

Description:
Our big climb of the day is legendary Old La Honda Road, viewed by many as the benchmark climb of the Peninsula, the place where you go year after year to gauge your progress. How popular is it? Strava has logged more than 103,000 climbs up OLH! But today's ride isn't just Old La Honda; the "plus" is that it comes in the middle of today's ride, with a healthy serving of hills both before and after the main event.

We start by heading to Palo Alto and La Cresta Drive. Next, it's into Los Altos Hills for Natoma Road. Then, it's the back way into Neary Quarry. Then Ravensbury. And, mercifully, a rest stop. We might have cycled 18 miles so far, but we're actually only about 5 miles from our starting point!

Rested and refueled, we're ready for more. Barley Hill. Elena and Taaffe. Arastradero Nature Preserve. And finally we're ready for Old La Honda, a moderate 3.1-mile climb that gains about 1,250 feet without ever becoming stupidly steep. And today we'll also get to enjoy the amazingly scenic descent down the backside of Old La Honda as well! This takes us to Highway 84, where we'll do the very gentle 3-mile climb back to the summit before descending into Woodside and our second rest stop.

We're almost done, but we've got a couple more little pieces of fun on the way back. We'll revisit the Southgate/Eleanor hill we did a few weeks ago, and we'll climb the mostly gentle Concepcion Road in Los Altos Hills. That leaves just 7 miles to home, and it's almost all flat or downhill. What a workout!

Ride With GPS reports about 5,400 feet of climbing for this ride. Worried about doing Day on the Ride the day after this? You can do a version of this ride with a little less "plus," but still 53 miles and 3,800 feet of moderate climbing.

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 #7: Montebello (4/4/2015)

Date: Saturday, April 4
Meet time: 8:30 a.m. Earlier meet time!
Ride-out time: 9:00 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: 4 - some steep hills; one long climb
Miles: 58

Description:
So far this season, all of our climbs have been relatively short. Today, that changes. Montebello Road rises from Stevens Canyon on a climb of 5.2 miles to a top elevation of about 2,560 feet. (That's just about as high as Mount Tamalpais!) But you can think of it as three separate climbs. The first two miles average 9% and are moderately challenging. The next mile averages only 3% and offers some relief. The final two miles average only 8%, but there are a few very steep (double-digit) pitches on the way to an epic dead end with amazing views of the valley. Your reward for all that climbing? An epic 5.2-mile descent, but watch out for wildlife, oncoming traffic, and debris.

But if Montebello were our only destination of the day, that wouldn't be a very long ride. So we've packed today's ride with a few extra bonus climbs both before and after Montebello. We've got the backside of Pierce Road from Highway 9 to the Mountain Winery (the easier direction), and the backside of Mount Eden (OK, not so easy). We'll finish with a reprise of West Loyola Drive, Barley Hill, Quinnhill Road and Valley View Drive ... but they're at the end of the ride this time, and you might notice some difference in how you feel about them!

Ride With GPS reports about 4,300 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 #6: All-New Epic-er Dead Ends! (3/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, March 21
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: 4 - several steep climbs
Miles: 56

Description:

Word is that you overachievers apparently like epic dead ends. So our crack team of researchers has spent countless hours and countless Shot Bloks to scour the backroads and byways of Cupertino, Saratoga, and Los Gatos to find seven, count 'em, seven all-new even Epic-er Dead Ends that have never been on any training ride! Saddle on up, don't forget a generous serving of butt cream, and get ready for a hill-climbing (and hill-descending) extravaganza.

We get a 9-mile gentle warmup on our way to Cupertino for the day's first challenge: the combination of Lindy Lane and Canyon View Circle. It's only 0.6 mile at 9% average, but the final 0.2 mile is a wake-you-up 16% average. Good morning! It's less than 2 miles to the next hill of joy: the combination of Parker Ranch Road and Vista Arroyo Court (0.4 mile, 10%) with another stunning view of the valley waiting for you at the top. Our next destination takes us partway up Pierce Road to a turnoff we've passed countless times: Old Oak Way. You can see the intimidating beginning (0.1 mile, 15%) from Pierce, but it gradually levels off into a still-invigorating climb of 0.7 mile at 9%. We've earned our first rest stop, this time in Saratoga Village. Be sure to refuel!

After the rest stop, we start heading toward Los Gatos, but we'll turn off Highway 9 and up Pepper Lane to one of the great hidden gems: Cañon Drive. It's 0.9 mile at only 6% average, but most of the climbing comes near the end of the public road where we turn around. It's not the most technically exciting climb or descent, but it's an incredibly scenic valley where few cyclists ever venture.

Don't let that relatively easy climb lull you into a false sense of complacency about the second half of our ride. After passing through downtown Los Gatos, the fun resumes in earnest. First is the combination of Jackson Street and Central Avenue (0.4 mile, 9%), followed very closely by the rarely-visited Foster Road (0.7 mile, 11%) and our highest elevation of the day at about 950 feet. We get a glorious descent down to Kennedy Road, and we start the traditional Kennedy climb, but wait ... what's this? We're turning off Kennedy?!

Yup. Teresita Road is only 0.5 mile to the end of the public part, and it's officially rated at "only" 11% average, but it has some very steeply banked curves and an extended section near the top that runs at 18%-20%. (Our research team couldn't make it to the top without stopping.) There's a reason why, as of this writing, only 134 Strava cyclists have ever ventured here! The descent back down to Kennedy is very steep, twisty, and technical (but the road is in good condition), and you need to control your speed with extreme care. Be sure your brakes are in excellent working order!

Let's see ... that's, yup, seven Epic-er Dead Ends. What? Now we're climbing the rest of Kennedy? But of course. And are we heading back to Los Gatos by climbing Shannon? Hardly! We finish by climbing Santa Rosa Drive (0.3 mile, 14%), which is a dead end for cars but is gloriously open to us and connects to a secret passage that magically drops us in very short and steep order right down into the heart of south San Jose. You've earned that second rest stop!

With 17 miles left in the ride, sure, you can't get from Los Gatos to Mountain View without at least a couple of little rolling hills, but they're almost not even worth mentioning after everything we've been through today. We finish with the gentle descent all the way through Sunnyvale down to Evelyn Avenue, which we follow back to downtown Mountain View, and then the short little hop up the street to Stevenson Elementary. We'll make sure that today's dessert tray will be fabulous for all the fabulous riders who conquer this challenging route!

Ride With GPS reports about 4,350 feet of climbing, and most of that is packed into the middle 28 miles of the 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
RSVPs are requested but not required.

Quadrophenia #5: Epic Dead Ends (3/7/2015)

Date: Saturday, March 7
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: 50

Description:

This ride was such a hit last year that we've brought it back for an encore in 2015. At first glance, the map for this ride looks rather ho-hum: another boring ride up to Cañada Road and back. But look more closely! The route is full of little side trips that extend like the tentacles of a mighty beast and make this a very challenging ride. And since they're dead ends, many of these locations aren't visited often and give you some new options close to home. Some of them are pure climbs, others descend first and then climb back out, and still others are an up-and-down mix of the two. The even nicer part about it, though, is that you can skip as few or as many of the dead ends as you want.

We begin quickly by climbing into Los Altos Hills to Olive Tree Lane (0.7 mile, 8%, but that includes an intermediate descent) -- be sure to continue all the way to the end, and don't be fooled by the cul-de-sac that looks like the end but isn't. Next, we go around the quarry and then climb Oak Knoll Circle to rise even higher above the quarry (amazing views!) and then drop down to the steep dead-end of Oak Park Court ... which requires climbing back out for 0.1 mile at 14%.

We're just getting started! Next, we'll start on the usual Elena-Purissima route to the Arastradero nature preserve. But wait: You know that little hill on Arastradero Road next to 280? The one where there's a new stop sign for an impossibly steep road that you've seen a thousand times but never been brave enough to attempt? Welcome to Stirrup Drive, a mere 0.1 mile at 14.6%. This takes us to Saddle Mountain, where we drop down into a dead-end valley and climb partway back out before we dismount and walk down a secret, short, steep gravel path (who knew this would be a biathlon?) to an amazingly beautiful backroad that eventually leads us to Page Mill Road, and finally back to the nature preserve.

We'll take our first rest stop at Roberts Market in Portola Valley, and then it's time for the biggest climb of the day: Wayside Road. This is a mile-long, secluded, scenic dead-end that you fly by every time you do the Portola Valley loop. The total elevation gain on Wayside is only about 500 feet (9% average), but a lot of that comes on tight, steep hairpin curves that twist their way up the mountain. Use caution on the twisty, narrow, technical descent!

We've got just one dead end to go, and it's another gem. Runnymede Road branches off Cañada Road in Woodside and meanders up and down for 1.3 miles (and then up and down for another 1.3 miles on the way back) to the end of the pavement. Yay, we're done! Well ... not quite. We get back from the hills to the valley floor with a final stimulating climb through the Cañada College campus and the thrilling descent of Farm Hill Blvd.

After that, we're feeling merciful and benevolent, so there's a final rest stop in Menlo Park and 10 miles of easy riding with no hilly surprises (we promise!) along Junipero Serra and Foothill back to Mountain View. Treat yourself to a hearty and healthy post-ride meal; you've earned it!

Ride With GPS reports about 4,000 feet of climbing. 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
RSVPs are requested but not required.

Horizon Ridge and Lake Las Vegas (2/28/2014)

Date: Saturday, February 28
Meet time: 9:00 a.m.
Ride-out time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting place: Fiesta Henderson, 777 West Lake Mead Parkway (map)
City: Henderson, Nevada
Rain policy: Rain cancels
Pace: 2 - moderate pace (10-12 mph)
Terrain: 2 - rolling hills
Miles: 37


Enjoy this sampler of the southeast valley as we climb a few moderate hills, enjoy some wonderful downhills, and savor some of the area's magnificent scenery.

From our starting point near the 215/515 junction, we'll start gently downhill on the Union Pacific Railroad Trail and follow it into the Green Valley area. Then we'll gradually gain a couple hundred feet up to Horizon Ridge Parkway and, after about 12 miles of warmup, we'll do our longest climb of the day: the 1.3-mile ascent of Horizon Ridge up to Horizon Drive. The grade averages a very reasonable 4%, and there are only a couple of slightly steeper sections, so feel free to take your time. And what's waiting at the top? A rest stop at Starbucks, of course!

Next, we'll head back to the Union Pacific trail and take it very gently upward to the end of the paved section, and then we'll cut over to the River Mountains Trail for the long, gradual descent back into the valley ... with the added fun of a couple of very short but somewhat steep (both uphill and downhill) little bumps along the way. We'll continue our descent into the Lake Las Vegas area, and we'll take a brief water and toilet stop at Terrazza Park before heading back on the new section of Galleria Drive before our last little gentle climb of about 200 feet back to the Fiesta.

Ride With GPS reports about 1,850 feet of climbing for this ride. Toilets, water, and a Starbucks (of course) are available inside the Fiesta. Park and meet in the rear parking lot partway up the hill on Fiesta Henderson Blvd., near the train tracks.

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Quadrophenia #4: Emerald Hills Plus (2/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, February 21
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: 45


For most cyclists who venture into the Emerald Hills area of Redwood City, there's just one well-known way -- Jefferson Avenue -- up and over the hills to and from Cañada Road. But here at Quadrophenia, as you've already come to expect, we aren't content to travel the same old routes. Today's ride features a hilly, scenic, low-traffic alternative to Jefferson. And because we're Quadrophenia, that's just one tiny piece of the out-of-the-way climbing and descending we'll be doing today.

We start easy enough with a no-hassle jaunt along Foothill Expressway and past the Stanford campus to Sand Hill Road. But then the fun begins in earnest as we venture into the Sharon Park area for Lassen Drive (0.2 mile, 10%) and Tioga Drive to Sharon Hills Park. Now suitably warmed up, we eventually make our way back to Sand Hill Road and across I-280 to our first rest stop at Roberts Market in Woodside.

We're just getting started. Next, we start descending Highway 84, but we turn off partway down for Southgate Drive (0.2 mile, 10%) and a tour of some of the more secluded, hidden mansions of Woodside. After making our way to Alameda de las Pulgas, we start climbing again, this time up the aptly-named High Road (0.7 mile, 7%), which rewards us with a gloriously gentle descent (1.1 miles, -5%) back to Alameda de las Pulgas.

Now it's time for today's star attraction, which gets your attention right away. Most folks take a right turn onto Brewster Avenue, but we'll take a left instead because, well, because it's there (0.1 mile, 11%). A gentle climb up Oak Knoll Drive takes us to the surprising oasis of the Emerald Hill Country Club (no public facilities), from which we begin the main climb up Oak Knoll and Hillcrest Way (1.2 miles, 6%, but many steeper parts). After bumping up against the scenic edge of the Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve, we descend the hidden, narrow Glencrag Way (0.7 mile, -7%) to Cañada Road, which takes us to our second rest stop, again at Roberts Market in Woodside.

Sure, we'll do Mountain Home Road and Portola Road mostly because we have to, but we have some special fun waiting as well. We'll start to do a reverse Westridge Drive, but we'll turn off and instead take Cervantes Road and its wall (0.5 mile, 9%) to the top of Westridge. After the steep descent of Westridge (0.7 mile, -11%, watch for the stop sign at the bottom), we'll finish the last nine miles with a surprise-free ride through the Arastradero Nature Preserve and back through Palo Alto. The dessert tray awaits!

Ride With GPS reports about 3,100 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.

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Quadrophenia #3: Secret Saratoga (rescheduled for 2/14/2015)

Date: Saturday, February 14
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: 40


Here at Quadrophenia, we don't believe in doing the same old routes that you've probably seen dozens of times and can probably ride in your sleep (but please don't try it). Sure, we're just going to Saratoga today (with a little bit of Los Gatos thrown in), but our destinations include some places where fewer than 100 Strava cyclists have ever traveled and where the Street View car has never ventured ... and that's rare around these parts.

The day starts innocently enough with a quick trip into Stevens Canyon and up the well-known easy side of Mount Eden Road (0.7 mile, 7%). But we'll get down the other side by using Villa Oaks Lane (0.3 mile, -12%) and the gated part of Quarry Road. Then we'll use the fabled "Inside Passage" of side streets to head toward Saratoga Village, and climb back out on Stoneridge Drive and Bank Mill Road (0.4 mile, 11%) before taking a short segment of Highway 9 back into the village for our first rest stop at, of course, Starbucks.

After refueling, we'll climb to scenic Villa Montalvo (0.6 mile, 5%) and then ride Austin Way, the last remaining public brick road in Santa Clara County. This takes us to the secluded combo of Lancaster Road and Matilija Drive (0.6 mile, 7%) followed by the descent on Greenwood Lane, a rolling and narrow country lane that's scarcely as wide as a normal bike path. Another quiet climb then awaits on Laurel Drive (0.3 mile, 5%). That takes us to Quito Road, so it's all easy from there, right? Hardly!

We'll start down Sobey Road and Chester Avenue, but then we'll turn onto the little-known Gypsy Hill Road, which takes us into a deep ravine, a gated path, and a crispy climb back out on Crisp Avenue (0.1 mile, 13%). We've then earned a leisurely spin through some quiet side streets of Saratoga and a second rest stop.

We could take the easy way back from Saratoga (and you're welcome to do so if you wish), but that would be boring. Our biggest challenge of the day still awaits! The, um, Comer Climbpocalypse is listed as 0.5 mile at 12%, but that amazingly includes an intermediate descent. (Quadrophenia veterans might recall that we did this in the opposite direction last year.) The views from the hill are so amazing, however, that you might even forget how steep it is. (Nawwww, you won't forget.) It's a screaming descent (0.2 mile, -14%) down into the Parker Ranch area, where we'll descend gently on Prospect Road, do the McClellan Road bump just for fun, and then return to Mountain View the way we came on Foothill and Miramonte.

Ride With GPS reports about 2,900 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.

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RSVPs are recommended but not required.