Monday, May 21, 2012

Santa Cruz

Today I took a great, albiet familiar ride to Santa Cruz.

View Santa Cruz in a larger map

I got started at 10, and took the familiar route over Kennedy to Los Gatos, then down the Los Gatos Creek Trail to the Leniham Dam, then around the Lexington Reservoir and up Old Santa Cruz Highway to Summit. I went down the Soquel/San Jose Road to Capitola, then rode along the beach to Santa Cruz.

Monterey Bay, from Santa Cruz
I had lunch at Betty Burger, which is good but is becoming too much of a habit; I need to find another convenient lunch spot. After lunch I continued west to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk area, then headed north along the river.

I was planning to take Mountain Charlie Road home, but tried a very slightly different route to get to Scotts Valley. Well, it was different for me, anyway; it might be the most common route. Basically I took Market until it turned into Branciforte Drive, then took that up to Granite Creek Road. I've done that before; the new part was the southern bit of Branciforte Drive. It was pretty, but I suppose the most interesting part of it is that you go by the Mystery Spot. I managed to pass by without getting a bumper sticker slapped on my bike.

Once you get to the top of Granite Creek Road, you're basically at the intersection of Scotts Valley Drive and Glenwood. That's great, but lately I've been enjoying taking Bean Creek Road to bypass Scotts Valley Road and the lower, busier parts of Glenwood. I think in the future I'll try taking Branciforte to Glen Canyon Road, which arrives in Scotts Valley further south, near Bean Creek Road.

But in this case, since I haven't been on that part of Glenwood Drive recently, it was a nice change. Glenwood has an easy grade, particularly on this cool day. Soon enough I was heading up Mountain Charlie Road, which had quite a lot of traffic on this weekday. Can this be normal?

When I got to Summit I decided to take a left, to descend Bear Creek Road. The climb on this part of Summit, coming so late in the ride, normally kills me, but today I felt pretty good. I zipped down Bear Creek Road, and despite a long line of traffic coming up the road, wasn't passed by any cars on my way down.

I went back home the usual way, but when crossing over the hill on Kennedy I tried doing the whole thing in my middle chain ring. I'm pretty heavy, and not very strong, so I normally live in the granny gear on any real climb. I made it, which marks a big step for me. I guess I'm building up a little strength to go with my (slightly) improved endurance.

Elevation profile
This ride was just short of 68 miles, with 5200 feet of climbing. I think I had a little more left in me, which is also a good sign.

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