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I left the house at about 8:30, and headed up toward Summit the usual way, up Old Santa Cruz Highway. I rode up Mountain Charlie Road to Summit, Summit to Zayante, and then Zayante down to Felton.
|Felton Empire Road|
The Stanford cycling page lists this road as 3.7 miles at an average grade of 7.8%, which is roughly what I got. The most difficult kilometer of the day was in the middle of this section, with an average grade of 10%.
On Empire I turned toward the north, continuing to climb but at a much reduced grade. The weather was practically perfect, but so cool that I was glad to have brought along my jacket.
At the north end of Empire Grade I decided to explore the last little bit of the road, beyond Jamison Creek Road, where it dead-ends at the Lockheed-Martin facility. There wasn't much to see there. The Stanford page mentions a couple of "diversions" in this section, but if they're still there, I couldn't find them.
Refreshed, I continued the climb out of the park, and particularly enjoyed the sunshine near the intersection with China Grade. After descending to the intersection with Highway 9 I started the climb to Saratoga Gap, still feeling pretty good despite being beyond my normal range. On this cool day I was pretty well hydrated, and I had eaten plenty, which all helps. In any case I got to the top of Saratoga Gap and, for the first time in quite a while, saw the soda vendor there. I would have rewarded myself with a sugary drink, but I had spent all my cash at the park's snack bar, so I once again passed on by.
I descended quickly to Saratoga, then took the usual route through Los Gatos and Kennedy to my house.
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