Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rendevouz in Santa Cruz

On Tuesday I bid farewell to my family, rode to Santa Cruz, said hello to the same family, and then returned home to see them again. Pointless, you might say, but satisfying.

View Santa Cruz in a larger map

Now that the kids are out of school, the family took advantage of a hot day (in San Jose) to enjoy a warm day (in Santa Cruz) on the beach. I thought it would be novel to stop by and see them, in the course of an otherwise normal ride through Santa Cruz.

I got moving at about 11:30. It would have been earlier, but it seemed important to know whether the family was really going to the beach or not, and they didn't firm up their plans until then. For my part, I don't recall having another route in mind. I left the house some time before they did.

I took the same ol' route through Los Gatos, then up Old Santa Cruz Highway to the Soquel/Santa Cruz road and Capitola. I rode west along the beachfront, riding past Betty Burger for the first time in quite a few trips.

When I got to the Santa Cruz boardwalk I texted my wife, and she met me with a sandwich and some watermelon. The kids were all on roller coasters.

Bean Creek Road
I rode back to the river, then along the river path to the bridge, and then Ocean Street and up Graham Hill Road. At Lockwood I cut over to Scotts Valley, where I filled up on water and tea. Then it was off to Bean Creek Road, which drops a hundred feet or so before climbing up to 800 feet, pretty steeply.

After a short descent on Glenwood you get to the start of Mountain Charlie Road, which climbs up a skinny, pot-holed single-lane road, mostly at a reasonable grade but with a few steep ramps in the middle.

One of the nice things about Mountain Charlie Road is that, near the top, you are rewarded with a mile or so of basically flat riding through a lovely wooded area. If you can ignore the noise from nearby Highway 17, it's ideal.

I descended the north side of Mountain Charlie Road, then rode through Los Gatos and Kennedy home. The family had already arrived.

Elevation profile
This ride was 69 miles, with 5000 feet of climbing. It's something I've done several times before, but it was oddly enjoyable to meet the family at the far end.

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