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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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