Yesterday I took advantage of the long weekend to sneak out for a non-commute ride up Mount Umunhum.
Normally I try to fit in a long ride on these long weekends, but the day after Thanksgiving I woke up pretty late and was lazy, so I only had a few hours. Meanwhile, there's been a lot of work on the mountain since the last time I saw it, so I wanted to see what was up.
As far as I can tell, the last time I did this ride was April 2014. Since then they've constructed a little parking lot at the gate on Mount Umunhum Road, the highest point cars are currently allowed.
|Plenty of parking|
There's a nice little parking lot and bathrooms, but no water that I could see.
|No change in the road surface|
If I understand it correctly there are plans to re-pave the road when they open access to the top, so it's no surprise that it hasn't been worked on yet. It's not a problem when climbing, but when descending the 10%+ grades it can be tricky.
I'm sure the quality of the road hasn't changed much, but this time I found myself unable to dodge several large potholes. It's nerve racking, but then again a smooth road surface might encourage reckless descending.
|Even more emphatic signs|
The next change one notices is that MROSD has put up new signage blocking the road that's even larger, 100% redder, and generally more emphatic. Before too long we'll be able to ride (and even drive) to the top; why they still can't allow bike and pedestrian traffic even one foot further than this is a mystery to me.
|New facilities at Quicksilver|
After a long cold descent I rolled through New Almaden, and saw new construction at the Hacienda entrance of Quicksilver park. There too they've erected a little bathroom and they appear to be in the process of building a bell tower for some reason.
What I learned from this is that, in building a bell tower, one apparently installs the bell before even finishing the exterior. Who knew?
I had a few extra minutes of sunshine and no interest in riding along Almaden Expressway, so I took Harry Road past the entrace to the IBM Almaden facility, where it winds through a hilly little residential area on the way back to Camden.
All in all a really enjoyable ride -- perfect weather, I felt good on the steep climbs, and it fit neatly into the afternoon. It was just under 25 miles, with a little over 3000 feet of climbing. The most difficult kilometer was the lower part of the climb up Hicks, which averages well over 14%.
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