Woodside/Santa Cruz loop with Swanton Road addition

It’s really tough to top the big ride we did in France- the Glandon/Croix de Fer/Telegraphe/Galibier loop. Probably impossible. Not even sure I’d want to! But it would seem terribly insignificant to just do a loop out to the coast, so today Kevin (my son, not the pilot) and I did the Woodside/Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Santa Cruz/Highway 9/Skyline loop, something we’ve done a number of times, and added in the Swanton Road detour for a scenic diversion from a few miles of Highway 1 (which is so busy at this time of year that the noise from cars does a lot to break you away from the pleasant experience cycling should be).


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113 miles, about 9200ft of climbing, moderate pace (15.1mph average) broken up by a flat tire Kevin got on Highway 9 on the return. Along the way Kevin got his best-time yet up Old LaHonda (21:38), which he thinks his new Madone is largely responsible for, as well as shaving a minute off his usual time up Haskins.

Unfortunately, the usual tailwind on the coast wasn’t there, so that part of the ride was a bit of a grind. I was also try out a route that would bypass maybe a mile of the most-congested part of Highway One through Santa Cruz via King Street; it literally was so jammed that it was unsafe to try and make the left-hand turn required to get there. Since this was one of those things that looked good on a map but I didn’t really know how it was going to turn out, we didn’t go to any heroic efforts to try.

Ride details: 108 miles as shown on the map (starting from the Park & Ride on Woodside Road just west of 280).
Climbs- Old LaHonda 3.34 miles 1287ft, Haskins (Pescadero Road) 1.65 miles 601ft, Highway 9 east of Boulder Creek (when the “real” climb finally starts) 7.6 miles 1800ft. In addition there’s a couple thousand feet of small & rolling climbs.

It was interesting to feel, at the 100 mile mark, like I could just keep on going, maybe tackle one more big climb without feeling like I’d pushed the limit. Sad to think that, in a couple months, such capabilities will be just a memory. –Mike–






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3 thoughts on “Woodside/Santa Cruz loop with Swanton Road addition

  1. Mike,

    King St is fine and highly preferable to Mission St/Hwy 1 in Santa Cruz. I never liked riding on Mission unless it was early morning with few cars. Even when there is a lot of traffic you can usually get across half of Mission, hang out at the median, and wait for somebody to slow and let you across the other half.

    Or just turn south on Swift St instead and go to Kelly’s French Bakery …

    Ben (RBR reader, former Santa Cruz resident)

    1. Ben: Thanks, next time I’ll pay more attention to where I need to turn. Mission/Highway 1 is pretty crazy in that area, but as long as you can still keep the speed up, you can play with the cars. –Mike–

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