Sunday, January 15, 2012

Santa Cruz

Yesterday's ride took me down through Capitola and Santa Cruz, then back via Mountain Charlie Road.

View Santa Cruz in a larger map

Yesterday was a standard fall-in-winter day, starting cool and getting up near 70 F by mid-afternoon. As usual I got started at about 9 AM, heading over Kennedy into Los Gatos, and then around the Lexington Reservoir and up Old Santa Cruz Highway.

I went down the San Jose-Soquel Road into Capitola, which was thick with cars. I went along the beach roads, enjoying the January surfers, odd bikes and various other sights.

Capitola Pier
In Santa Cruz I got a burger at the very convenient Betty Burger, then rode up the San Lorenzo River trail to Graham Hill Road. This was the first time I've ridden this part of Graham Hill Road, and I was surprised that it climbs pretty steeply, pretty much immediately. My intention was to cut over to Scotts Valley and return home on Mountain Charlie Road. To do that, I intended to use a road called Lockewood Lane. After riding a couple of miles I was convinced that I had missed it, and would return on Zayante instead, so I was surprised when the road finally showed up.

A chalk ridge on Bean Creek Road
This time I avoided Scotts Valley Road by taking Bean Creek Road, which was new to me. Bean Creek Road wanders through a valley, then climbs quite steeply to meet Glenwood Drive. Quite Steeply indeed. But in that same area it's one of those one-lane wooded roads I enjoy so much, so I guess there's a trade-off.

I have a new Garmin 500 bike computer, and on the climbs on this ride I was looking at its reported grade. On the Forerunner 305, using only GPS elevation, the grade was a joke, often reporting a drop while you're climbing. With the barometric elevation, the 500 is much more realistic, in the sense that the reported grades match what I'm experiencing on the road. Having said that, I don't know if it is accurately reporting the absolute grade. On the final section of Bean Creek Road, for example, it reported grades of up to 20%. My 100-meter calculations didn't show such steep grades, but of course they are measuring something slightly different, even if they are using the same data.

From Bean Creek Road, I headed north on Glenwood Road to Mountain Charlie Road, then up toward Summit. At that point, I opted for a direct route home, so I went down the northern part of Mountain Charlie Road, then took Old Santa Cruz Highway down, onto Highway 17, through Los Gatos, then over Shannon and home.

Elevation profile. See a note about data for details
Yesterday's ride was a little over 68 miles, with almost 5100 feet of climbing. That's not an especially long ride, but for me the total climb was pretty good.

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