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ALC12 Distance Training #5: Coyote Valley Plus (2/23/2013)

Date: Saturday, February 23
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: 3 - moderate-fast pace (12-15 mph)
Terrain: 3 - rolling hills with one very steep climb
Miles: 71


Coyote Valley, directly south of San Jose, is a popular cycling destination, and there are many ways to get there from Mountain View. Today, we'll be using one of the most challenging. (That's the "plus"!)

Redwood Gulch Road provides a short but steep connection between Stevens Canyon and Highway 9. This climb is officially 1.4 miles at 9.4%, but it has some easier sections and some very steep sections, even a little bit steeper than the parts of Parrott Drive that we did on our last ride. Cross-training is perfectly OK! The reward is a glorious 4-mile descent on Highway 9 into Saratoga ... and no other steep climbs the rest of the day. (And, come June, you will be sooooooo ready for Quadbuster, which is 1.4 miles at 7.6%.)

Half of the day's total climbing comes in the first 12.5 miles, so after Redwood Gulch, the rest of the route is relatively sedate. We'll take a break at Saratoga Village and then pass through Los Gatos on our way to Almaden Expressway in south San Jose. At the end of the expressway, we'll ride alongside Calero Reservoir for a couple of miles before descending on Bailey Road. Then, we stop for lunch at a large shopping center with many options before making our way up Santa Teresa Blvd. (where headwinds are possible) and back through Los Gatos and Saratoga. We finish with an easy ride from Saratoga (no climbing) back to Mountain View.

Total climbing on this ride is about 3,000 feet. Beginning today, the Distance Training rides move up to a Cat-3 (12-15 mph) pace. This is so that everyone can be back in Mountain View before sunset. But it's perfectly OK if you're at the low end of this range; you DO NOT need to be a 15 mph cyclist to do this ride!

You can end this ride at Mile 42 by taking VTA light rail back to downtown Mountain View. The trip costs $2 and takes at least 90 minutes ... not much faster than riding it, but the option is there if you need it.

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.

If it rains before or during our scheduled time, but not heavy enough to cancel the entire ride, we will reroute for safety to avoid Redwood Gulch.

Here's a short video preview of Redwood Gulch, with the approximate grade shown at several locations throughout. This should help you know what to expect and how to budget your energy during the climb.

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