Saturday, April 21, 2012

Summit and Mount Madonna

It's suddenly hot in the valley. It was supposed to be hot on Friday, then even hotter over the weekend. So I decided to get out on Friday to beat (a little of) the heat.

View Summit and Mount Madonna in a larger map

I got out at about 10:30, and rode up through Los Gatos and Old Santa Cruz Highway to Summit Road with no real plan in mind. Since it was about lunchtime, I went to the Summit Store for a half-sandwich and decided to ride up to Loma Prieta, and then down to Mount Madonna.

View from Loma Prieta Avenue
After lunch on the busy patio, I headed up Loma Prieta Avenue. It was properly hot. My Garmin device was routinely showing 95 degrees, but that's affected by the sun (I, too, am affected by the sun). Regardless, I drank a lot of water, and was wondering whether I'd have enough, considering that the next fountain was in Mount Madonna park.

Bogus gate on Summit Road
I plodded up the hill in reasonably good form, and gingerly descended the second dirt section of the day to Mt Bache Road. Then it was up the sharp hill on Mt Bache Road, then a flat bit, and finally the one mile climb up to the 3000 foot level. The most difficult kilometer of the day was in the middle of this climb, averaging just under 11% (the whole mile-long section is close to 10%).

The last time I was up here, I rode up to the summit only to get kicked off by a ranger. This time I skipped it, and just continued down Summit toward Mount Madonna.

Gravel on Summit Road
The dirt section of Summit Road was terrible, as usual, but got worse. Apparently they've been doing some roadwork by dumping large, loose gravel. I suppose that's reasonable, but it's practically impassable on my skinny-tire bike. So I found myself walking through these sections, perhaps 10 sections of up to 100 meters each.

These rocks are a much better deterrent to bicycles than those bogus signs ever were. I suspect they'll get embedded into the track by passing cars, and may be routine maintenance. But for now, I'm not tempted to return.
Waterfall on Mount Madonna Road

By the end of the Summit Road, the third dirt section of this ride, one welcomes the return to smooth roads on which you can maintain some speed. On this day, the speed also meant a little cooling air, so that was especially welcome.

I got to Mount Madonna Park pretty quickly, and filled my nearly-empty water bottles at a random water spigot. Then it was down the north side of Mount Madonna Road, the fourth and last dirt section of this ride.

The rest of the ride, basically heading north on Watsonville and Uvas roads, was a battle against the wind. I can't understand why the hurricane I experienced in this section wasn't reported on the news.

Elevation profile
This ride was almost 67 miles, with 4800 feet of climbing. It seemed a lot harder than that, presumably because I was baking in the sun the whole time.

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