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Quadrophenia #6: All-New Epic-er Dead Ends! (3/21/2015)

Date: Saturday, March 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: 4 - several steep climbs
Miles: 56


Word is that you overachievers apparently like epic dead ends. So our crack team of researchers has spent countless hours and countless Shot Bloks to scour the backroads and byways of Cupertino, Saratoga, and Los Gatos to find seven, count 'em, seven all-new even Epic-er Dead Ends that have never been on any training ride! Saddle on up, don't forget a generous serving of butt cream, and get ready for a hill-climbing (and hill-descending) extravaganza.

We get a 9-mile gentle warmup on our way to Cupertino for the day's first challenge: the combination of Lindy Lane and Canyon View Circle. It's only 0.6 mile at 9% average, but the final 0.2 mile is a wake-you-up 16% average. Good morning! It's less than 2 miles to the next hill of joy: the combination of Parker Ranch Road and Vista Arroyo Court (0.4 mile, 10%) with another stunning view of the valley waiting for you at the top. Our next destination takes us partway up Pierce Road to a turnoff we've passed countless times: Old Oak Way. You can see the intimidating beginning (0.1 mile, 15%) from Pierce, but it gradually levels off into a still-invigorating climb of 0.7 mile at 9%. We've earned our first rest stop, this time in Saratoga Village. Be sure to refuel!

After the rest stop, we start heading toward Los Gatos, but we'll turn off Highway 9 and up Pepper Lane to one of the great hidden gems: CaƱon Drive. It's 0.9 mile at only 6% average, but most of the climbing comes near the end of the public road where we turn around. It's not the most technically exciting climb or descent, but it's an incredibly scenic valley where few cyclists ever venture.

Don't let that relatively easy climb lull you into a false sense of complacency about the second half of our ride. After passing through downtown Los Gatos, the fun resumes in earnest. First is the combination of Jackson Street and Central Avenue (0.4 mile, 9%), followed very closely by the rarely-visited Foster Road (0.7 mile, 11%) and our highest elevation of the day at about 950 feet. We get a glorious descent down to Kennedy Road, and we start the traditional Kennedy climb, but wait ... what's this? We're turning off Kennedy?!

Yup. Teresita Road is only 0.5 mile to the end of the public part, and it's officially rated at "only" 11% average, but it has some very steeply banked curves and an extended section near the top that runs at 18%-20%. (Our research team couldn't make it to the top without stopping.) There's a reason why, as of this writing, only 134 Strava cyclists have ever ventured here! The descent back down to Kennedy is very steep, twisty, and technical (but the road is in good condition), and you need to control your speed with extreme care. Be sure your brakes are in excellent working order!

Let's see ... that's, yup, seven Epic-er Dead Ends. What? Now we're climbing the rest of Kennedy? But of course. And are we heading back to Los Gatos by climbing Shannon? Hardly! We finish by climbing Santa Rosa Drive (0.3 mile, 14%), which is a dead end for cars but is gloriously open to us and connects to a secret passage that magically drops us in very short and steep order right down into the heart of south San Jose. You've earned that second rest stop!

With 17 miles left in the ride, sure, you can't get from Los Gatos to Mountain View without at least a couple of little rolling hills, but they're almost not even worth mentioning after everything we've been through today. We finish with the gentle descent all the way through Sunnyvale down to Evelyn Avenue, which we follow back to downtown Mountain View, and then the short little hop up the street to Stevenson Elementary. We'll make sure that today's dessert tray will be fabulous for all the fabulous riders who conquer this challenging route!

Ride With GPS reports about 4,350 feet of climbing, and most of that is packed into the middle 28 miles of the 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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