Sunday, March 24, 2013

Big Basin

Today I had a really great day on the bicycle, riding one of my favorite routes on a beautiful day and feeling pretty good while doing it.

View Big Basin in a larger map

In the last few weeks I've regularly managed to take a long ride on Sundays, which isn't really enough to keep me in shape, but it doesn't hurt. I've been wanting to go through Boulder Creek, since that seems within my range, but today was the first time I've actually managed it.

An older Chevy on West Park Avenue
Starting at about 9:30, it was warm enough to leave the jacket at home, but just barely. I took a direct route to Boulder Creek, heading down the Los Gatos Creek Trail, then next to Highway 17 on the dirt path to the Bear Creek Road overpass. I slowly made my way up Bear Creek Road, but felt pretty good, even on the very steep upper part. Then it was a pretty quick descent of Bear Creek Road into Boulder Creek, and the usual burger at Foster's Freeze.

As I was eating I decided how I was going to get back home. I could have gone directly up Route 9, or I could have dropped down to Felton and taken Zayante Road back. But I was feeling great, there was plenty of sunshine left, and I really wanted to visit Big Basin. I've done that ride a number of times, and realistically it has too much climbing for my current condition. But what the heck.

The bike, inside a redwood
To change things up a bit, I headed up West Park Avenue, which parallels 236 as it runs toward the park. At its end I switched to 236, climbing up to about 1400 feet before descending into the park. Once there I bought a couple of iced teas, and chips. Having topped off my sugar, caffeine and salt, I started off again.

As usual, the climb out of the park was quiet, cool and gorgeous. Before I knew it I was past North Escape Road, and then China Grade, still feeling great. Silly as it seems, I think the salt helped. The caffeine probably didn't hurt.

On this ride I normally drag up Route 9 to Saratoga Gap, and while I wasn't setting any records I continued to feel good, and the miles passed quickly. I descended Route 9 very quickly, without ever being passed by a car. On the way back home, over Kennedy, the accumulated climb started to get to me, and I was glad to see the top.

Elevation profile
Today's ride was about 64 miles, with 6350 feet of climbing. The toughest kilometer was near the top of Bear Creek Road, just before it reaches Summit, where it averaged 11.5%. I felt pretty good on the ride, but now afterward I'm pretty sore; 6000+ feet of climbing is outside of my comfort zone. Still, it's nice to know I can still visit some of last year's favorite rides.

No comments:

Post a Comment