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Quadrophenia #4: Emerald Hills Plus (2/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, February 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: 3 - rolling hills, some steep climbs
Miles: 45

For most cyclists who venture into the Emerald Hills area of Redwood City, there's just one well-known way -- Jefferson Avenue -- up and over the hills to and from Cañada Road. But here at Quadrophenia, as you've already come to expect, we aren't content to travel the same old routes. Today's ride features a hilly, scenic, low-traffic alternative to Jefferson. And because we're Quadrophenia, that's just one tiny piece of the out-of-the-way climbing and descending we'll be doing today.

We start easy enough with a no-hassle jaunt along Foothill Expressway and past the Stanford campus to Sand Hill Road. But then the fun begins in earnest as we venture into the Sharon Park area for Lassen Drive (0.2 mile, 10%) and Tioga Drive to Sharon Hills Park. Now suitably warmed up, we eventually make our way back to Sand Hill Road and across I-280 to our first rest stop at Roberts Market in Woodside.

We're just getting started. Next, we start descending Highway 84, but we turn off partway down for Southgate Drive (0.2 mile, 10%) and a tour of some of the more secluded, hidden mansions of Woodside. After making our way to Alameda de las Pulgas, we start climbing again, this time up the aptly-named High Road (0.7 mile, 7%), which rewards us with a gloriously gentle descent (1.1 miles, -5%) back to Alameda de las Pulgas.

Now it's time for today's star attraction, which gets your attention right away. Most folks take a right turn onto Brewster Avenue, but we'll take a left instead because, well, because it's there (0.1 mile, 11%). A gentle climb up Oak Knoll Drive takes us to the surprising oasis of the Emerald Hill Country Club (no public facilities), from which we begin the main climb up Oak Knoll and Hillcrest Way (1.2 miles, 6%, but many steeper parts). After bumping up against the scenic edge of the Edgewood Park and Nature Preserve, we descend the hidden, narrow Glencrag Way (0.7 mile, -7%) to Cañada Road, which takes us to our second rest stop, again at Roberts Market in Woodside.

Sure, we'll do Mountain Home Road and Portola Road mostly because we have to, but we have some special fun waiting as well. We'll start to do a reverse Westridge Drive, but we'll turn off and instead take Cervantes Road and its wall (0.5 mile, 9%) to the top of Westridge. After the steep descent of Westridge (0.7 mile, -11%, watch for the stop sign at the bottom), we'll finish the last nine miles with a surprise-free ride through the Arastradero Nature Preserve and back through Palo Alto. The dessert tray awaits!

Ride With GPS reports about 3,100 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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