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We're running through a hot streak here in Silicon Valley, and Sunday was one of the hotter ones. It was a good 10 degrees hotter than Saturday. I thought it was hot last weekend, but this was worse. On the other hand, I'd be riding among the shady redwoods, rather than the barren eastern range.
I got started around the usual time, rolling away from the house at 9:30. I took the usual route up toward the Lexington Reservoir, and I was happy to be able to ride up the notorious steep dusty ramp, despite spinning my slick back tire a bit. I continued up Old Santa Cruz Highway, feeling pretty good, and continued southeast on Summit.
Roads ridden in an unfamiliar direction are complete strangers. One so rarely looks backward when riding that the sights are fresh, and the character of climbs are unfamiliar. In this case, I found the small climb up Highland to be very pretty, and the descent down Eureka Canyon Road wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be. The potholes near the top are bad, but shortly afterward the road is really smooth the whole way down.
It seems like all the roads around Mount Madonna are steep. The approach is no different, but on Sunday it was especially bad because the steep ramps were also exposed to the sun. I had to stop several times to cool down. In the past I had to do that frequently, but I thought I was past that; as it turns out, it's just a question of the prevailing temperature.
As I weaved up those hot steep ramps, I looked forward to the shade I knew was higher up. As it turns out, the shady part near the top is relatively flat; all the hard work is in the sun.
I continued down the other side of Mount Madonna Road, then turned left on Watsonville Road, heading toward Uvas. As usual, there was a little headwind, but it never grew too strong.
By this time I was basically empty of energy, and so I struggled up Uvas road past all the reservoirs, and then home.
Sunday's ride was 75 miles, but with only 5200 feet of climbing. The most difficult kilometer was on the climb up Mount Madonna Road. The difficulty is measured entirely in terms of grade, but on Sunday, with the sun bearing down, it was definitely the hardest part of the ride. It's been a very pleasant summer, but it's October already, and I'm ready for some autumn.