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DBD4 ride #7: Kings Mountain and West Alpine (9/14/2014)

Date: Sunday, September 14
Meet time: 9:40 a.m.
Ride-out time: 10:00 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: 4 - some steep hills; two long climbs
Miles: 69

This year's finale to the DBD training season is a whopper of a ride. You can Have It Your Way ... as long as your way is hilly! (The good news is that today's ride contains about as much climbing as on Day 1 of the event, but compressed into 69 miles instead of 100.)

Our first main climb of the day is Kings Mountain Road, a 4.1-mile Category 2 climb that averages about 7% and is mostly a steady grade all the way up. To get there, however, we first have to ride to Woodside, and we've cooked up a crafty way through part of Portola Valley with a short but rather steep climb that surely will wake up any tired legs.

After we reach the summit of Kings Mountain, we turn onto Skyline Blvd., where a few hundred more feet of climbing awaits before taking us down to the junction with Highway 84. We'll descend 84 as far as the village of La Honda, where it's time to stock up for our big climb of the day: West Alpine Road. This 7.4-mile climb averages only 4%, but that's because it starts rather mellow and has some intermediate descents in the second half. Some parts of West Alpine reach 9% to 10%, and it plays with your mind as you reach one false summit after another on your way to the top.

Next, we'll return to Skyline Blvd. and head south, again for a few hundred more feet of climbing until we reach the intersection with Highway 9. We'll be climbing Highway 9 on Day 1 of the event, but today we'll be descending it. This is a good chance for you to scope out the lay of the land ... and to get the latest info on the roadwork situation. There are at least two major construction zones on Highway 9 where traffic is reduced to one lane and is controlled by signals with a wait cycle of several minutes, so don't expect to set any PRs on your descent today.

We arrive in Saratoga Village, ready for our final rest stop of the season. After that, it's an easy ride back to Mountain View ... well, except for that little hill on McClellan Road on the way to Foothill. We haven't done it all season, so why not now! You are now ready for DBD4.

Ride With GPS reports about 6,300 feet of climbing for this ride.

Our new location is an easy 1.1-mile ride from the Mountain View Caltrain station; the first southbound train from San Francisco arrives in Mountain View at 9:29 a.m. We've adjusted our meet time so Caltrain riders can make our meet time.

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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