Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rainy Summit

It was supposed to rain both today and Sunday, and since I have some plans for tomorrow, I had to take my weekend ride today. When I left it wasn't raining... much, just sprinkling, and I hoped to get lucky.

View Rainy Summit in a larger map

Mountain Charlie Road
One bit of good planning: when I left at 10 AM, I was carrying a Disneyland rain poncho. That turned out to be very helpful.

The plan was to go to Big Basin again. I got the Lexington Reservoir the usual way, but then I was thinking about how to get to Boulder Creek. I could take Bear Creek Road, but since the dirt path near Highway 17 would be pure mud after all this rain, there was no easy way to get there. So I decided to get to Summit on the Old Santa Cruz Highway.

By this time it was raining pretty hard, and I was getting soaked. So out came the poncho. At first I wore it in the obvious way, with my arms sticking out. But then I pulled my arms in, and pulled the poncho over the handlebars. Now I was dry (well, not getting wetter, anyway) and warm, with only my dignity to pay for it.

Since I would be heading northwest on Summit, I took Mountain Charlie Road, which is steep but goes right to the intersection of Summit and Highway 17. I continued on Summit as it passed Redwood Estates and became a one-lane road. In this section the tree cover was good, and I was getting rained on much less. Nonetheless the cold was starting to get to me, perhaps through my drenched socks. I realized that my original plan was out the window, and I'd have to cut it short.

I thought about heading back on Bear Creek Road, but decided that was just a little too short, so I continued up to Black Road. This was the first time I'd ridden north on this part of Skyline.

As I turned onto Black, it immediately became clear that my brakes were shot. I knew the pads were low, but apparently in the rainy ride so far I'd taken the last bit of life out of them. So I gingerly descended, riding the still-functioning front brakes and trying to retain some body heat.

I returned up Highway 17 and through Los Gatos, then over Kennedy. As I began to turn from Kennedy onto Shannon, I suddenly found myself sliding on my shoulder. One moment I was riding along and the next I was down, with zero time in between. Amazing. Luckily nothing was broken, either on me or my bike, and I continued on home.
Elevation profile
I was a short ride today, only about 38 miles, with 3700 feet of climbing. I learned a bit about using a poncho, which could come in handy.

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