Friday, June 22, 2012


Yesterday I spent the longest day of the year, and the traditional first day of summer, trying not to freeze.

View Corralitos in a larger map

Here in the Bay area it's been hot over the past week, so when it cooled down yesterday I was eager to get on the bike. I got moving at 9 AM. I wasn't wearing a jacket, so the morning air was cool but of course it would heat up.

Uvas Reservoir
I went down McKean and Uvas roads in perfect weather, then turned up Redwood Retreat on the way toward Mount Madonna. Along this road I had the clich├ęd bicycling experience of being chased by a barking dog, but in this case it was a short-legged and easy to ride away from. Scared me, though.

Fog on Mount Madonna Road
As I was approaching Mount Madonna Road, I could see fog rolling over the mountaintop. As I struggled up the steep lower portions of the climb I didn't notice the weather much, but once the road becomes dirt it enters the shaded woods and became much cooler. As I neared the top it was thick with fog, so thick that condensed water rained from the trees.

The south side of Mount Madonna Road is one lane and rough, so given the occasional wet patches under trees I was especially cautious descending. Nonetheless I got down to Hazel Dell Road, then around to Corralitos.

After the long descent to Corralitos, I was thoroughly cold, and ate my sausage sandwich with coffee, just to warm up. But that didn't work, so I resorted to buying an overpriced but very comfortable hoodie from the market.

Day Valley Road

Staples in a telephone pole in Aptos
Comforted inside and out by the new hoodie, I reversed a path that I've ridden a few times before. I went west on Hames, then took Day Valley Road to Valencia, and into Aptos. I crossed Route 1 on Spreckels, then rode through the residential neighborhood, stopping briefly at Seacliff State Beach for a lovely view.

Seacliff State Beach
I took McGregor Drive toward Park Avenue, which I rode into Capitola. On the beach were dozens of kids participating in what I think was a lifeguard camp, with dozens more parents looking on.

I left Capitola on Bay Avenue, which turns into the Soquel/San Jose Road. I've ridden down this road many times, but this was the first time I'd gone up. As usual, it looked like a completely different road, entirely unfamiliar to me.

On this weekday there was lots of traffic coming down the road, but little going up. On one long section they were repaving the road, which further cut down traffic. I enjoyed the ride, with its consistently moderate grade, very much.

Once I got to Summit, I returned home in the familiar way, down into Los Gatos and then across to Almaden on Kennedy.

Elevation profile
This ride was 80 miles, with 5300 feet of climbing. I was out for 8 hours, pedaling for 7. The most difficult kilometer was on the lower, paved part of Mount Madonna Road, with an average grade of 10.9%.

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