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

Show blog entries about: Upcoming rides | Ride reports | My own training

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.