Thought I was going to collapse through the park, strong recovery in the middle

Interesting, with the trees removed towards the bottom of 84, how you see the hill that runs through the middle of Woodside. Who knew it was there?
Tuesday’s ride I was just feeling week in general, maybe recovering from Sunday’s ride, and watched as Kevin and Karen rode away from me. This morning was thankfully a bit different. I totally sucked heading up through the park, although once past the entrance station I saw a little bit of power developing. Still, no way to catch up to Kevin, Karen & Colin before hitting Kings. I was pretty sure this was going to be a bad ride up the hill in general, but, as has happened many times before, I rode really strongly on the middle section. Kevin and Colin were very quickly dropping behind, maybe even more quickly than I did on Tuesday.

I did the usual, holding my speed all the way to the 1.41 miles to go sign, where I let Karen pass me and told her I’d be waiting up for Kevin and Colin. I circled for about a minute, saw they were together and doing OK and took off again. No chance to catch up with Karen after giving her a “free” minute, but I did get her in sight again, and put two minutes on Kevin and Colin by the top.

Nice morning, thankfully without fog. Still a bit cool and my lungs definitely appreciate warmer temps!

Heading down 84 into Woodside, just before the bottom, they’ve cleared out a ton of Eucalyptus tress. Two odd things about that. First, it just feels weird, because you position yourself as much by the trees as lines on the road. Second, did you know there’s a ride that runs through Woodside? Who knew? But for the time being, it’s right out there in the open.

No centuries in three years, now two on back-to-back Sundays? This one a bit tougher though!

And so it begins. The non-descript start of Mountain Charlie Road, off Glenwood.
There are three primary 100-mile loops from Redwood City to Santa Cruz. They all start the same way, heading over Old LaHonda, Haskins, almost into Pescadero but turning onto Gazos Creek, then heading down the coast to Davenport for lunch. That’s common to all of them. 50 miles so far. The traditional route, which we did last week, continues into Santa Cruz, then up Highway 9 to Skyline, north on Skyline to 84 and then drop into Woodside an back to Redwood City. Today’s route, after going into Santa Cruz, then takes a mildy-convoluted route that parallels highway 17 to Scotts Valley, then up Mtn Charlie via Bean Creek and Glenwood. This drops you off at the highway 17 end of Summit, which you take north until it becomes Skyline, and from the intersection of highway 9, it’s the same route home as the traditional. And finally we have the Bonny Doon version, which doesn’t actually go all the way to Santa Cruz. We’ll cover that when we do it in a couple weeks. Maybe.

But first we’ll try to figure out why today’s ride, which is almost exactly the same distance as last week’s (114 miles vs 113), about a thousand feet more of climbing (9500 vs 8200) is so much tougher. I think a lot of it is having to follow that convoluted routing from Santa Cruz to Scotts Valley; it might actually be easier to do a bit of climbing and get there via Glen Canyon instead. Very important to get food in Scotts Valley before hitting the turn onto Glenwood Drive. There’s a Starbuck’s on the right hand side, and a gas station with mini-mart on the left. We used both to good advantage. This is your last chance to get drinks or food for the rest of the day! Actually, we did try feeding the coke machine quarters at the fire station, but it ended up being a $1.75 donation; the machine simply ate the quarters and wouldn’t return them.

Kevin was doing great until the upper slopes of Mountain Charlie and was dying on Summit. Fortunately, once we got out of the undulating rolling stuff, he started to recover. Amazing how much if feels like home turf once you get to Saratoga Gap!

Temperature was pretty nice until we got towards Saratoga Gap, where it dropped from 70 to about 60, low enough to trigger my Raynauds and cause my fingers to go icy. Hate that.

Overall this felt like a really tough ride and passed the “legs hurting when walking down steps” test with flying colors.