Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monte Sereno

At the start of an extended holiday, I took a short ride exploring the hills between Los Gatos and Saratoga.

These days I only seem to make time for longer rides on holidays, so since I'm taking the whole week of Christmas off I should be able to get in at least one good ride. Today was not that day, but I did get in a short ride exploring some unfamiliar roads around Los Gatos and Saratoga, and mostly Monte Sereno.

I started off at about 10 bundled up against the damp morning but almost immediately thinking I had overdressed. As I climbed up Kennedy I got comfortably warm right away, but if the clouds burned off as they so often do, I would be left steaming in my kit. The roads were wet as I took the steep and perhaps not quite legal route up Teresita and around to Cypress. Along the way you spend quite a while on a one-lane road marked as private, which adds a few BPM to your heart rate if the 20% ramps weren't doing enough already.

Withey Road
Most of the route through Los Gatos reversed my normal evening commute. It seemed quite new to me partly because it was reversed, but mostly because it was daylight. I took the I've-always-wondered-where-that-goes Withey Road, thinking it would link up to Overlook. It just dead-ends. After that I went back down to Route 9, then skipped over to more side streets that I hadn't visited before.

In Saratoga I started up Route 9. I've ridden down Route 9 from Redwood Gulch or Pierce most evenings this year, but this may have been the first time this year I was headed up.

Ojai Drive
At Tollhouse Road I climbed the comically steep ramp, again reversing part of my commute. Then I headed over to Pierce to visit a little side road I've passed 100 times, only to find it too has scary "private driveway" signs a little ways up. Oh well. It was beginning to rain a little, too, so I turned back toward home.

Along the way I headed back up to Overlook, reversing a route I'd taken once before. This involved riding up Lucky Road, which has "private" signs that aren't quite scary enough, apparently. Lucky Road is a barely one-lane winding road that today was damp and slick with mud and fallen leaves. It's steep the whole way, so I kept spinning my back tire.

On Los Gatos Boulevard they were doing some road work, I think, so I took the proffered detour up Stacia and found a new way to Kennedy, via Worcester Park. And then the short trip home.

Elevation Profile
Today's ride was just 32 miles, with over 3400 feet of climbing. The most difficult kilometer was the private road at the top of Teresita (maybe Paseo Carmelo?), speaking strictly of the 13% grade and not the legal jeopardy. A good day, and with any luck preparation for a much longer day quite soon.

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