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ALC12 Distance Training #4: Parrott Drive (2/9/2013)

Date: Saturday, February 9
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: 3 - rolling hills with one very steep climb
Miles: 58


Parrott Drive in San Mateo is one of those routes that doesn't get much love. After this ride, you'll probably feel strongly one way or the other about that!

We begin with a gentle route through downtown Palo Alto and up Sand Hill to Alameda de las Pulgas into Belmont. After that, it's up and over the short but steep section of Alameda and through San Mateo. Then comes Parrott. Officially, the main climb is only 0.8 mile at a 7.9% average grade. But that's deceiving. It's actually three distinct short climbs -- about 10% for a quarter of a mile, then about 7% for a quarter of a mile, a short downhill, and finally a nasty 11%-plus grade for the final quarter-mile to the top. In fact, you might even be able to walk part of the hill faster than you can ride it, and that's perfectly OK. There are even pesky stop signs where you can (and must!) pause to catch your breath.

Here's a short video that shows you what to expect on Parrott Drive:

After Parrott, we'll head down to CaƱada Road for an easy run in the hills, then we'll do a partial Portola Valley loop, ride around Stanford to Old Page Mill Road, and finish with La Cresta Drive, one of the lesser-known but more stimulating climbs in Los Altos Hills.

Total climbing on this ride is about 3,400 feet. Because of the steep climbing involved, we've left this ride as a Cat-2 pace. Most riders can expect that their pace on this ride will be a little slower than usual.

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.

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