Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

Ride reports for everything *but* the Tuesday-Thursday morning ride

Push this button or another one of your roads will fail!

This puts the West Old LaHonda road closure in perspective (Highway 35 about 3.5 miles south of Saratoga Gap/Highway 9).
A different sort of ride today as younger Kevin had other plans. I’ve obviously had a need to check out the local road conditions, and how can you pass up an opportunity to check out that missing section of 35? Of course, getting there was half, no, 1/4, nah, maybe 1/16th the fun.

I headed south with a route through the foothills, dropping by our Los Altos store to say hi, before heading up one of the local roads I most-dread. Redwood Gulch. That was another opportunity to check out a heavily-damaged local road although it really didn’t seem that bad. Not much water on the road, and just a couple places where it was slightly narrower than normal. Redwood Gulch has actually been on the county’s list of “closed” roads, but there was no signage indicating that. It wasn’t a pretty climb, but I survived. Sometimes that’s enough.

Lots of hillside slippage evident climbing Highway 9, including a short section of traffic-light-controlled one-way pavement. A little bit tight for bikes and cars together, but manageable, and it’s not too long.

The really good news was that Mr Mustard was present at Saratoga Gap. I debated briefly whether I ought to fuel up before going off to see the missing roadway, or after. The decision was made when a young guy in team kit pulled up, and I had a bit too much pride to want to be seen eating something as healthy as a hot dog in front of him. So off I went, past the signs that said “Road closed 2 miles.” I didn’t really know how far it was going to be, so I was a bit relieved it was just two miles.

Well, 3.7 miles later I found it. It’s not like you can miss it… one set of barriers about a thousand feet away (stops cars but not bikes), and another set, with a fence, about 20 feet from where the road ends. I took some photos through and over the fence before going around the left side to get a bit better shots from the other side. It’s not like I came anywhere close to the edge though! Just didn’t want the fence in the photo.

After that it was a mostly-downhill ride back to Saratoga Gap and Mr. Mustard! I did have a minor incident with a car on the way; a group of young guys drove past me pretty close, with someone deciding it would be fun to tap me on the back as they passed, while someone in the front seat was taking a photo. Idiots, yes, but I’m pretty tough to rattle.

So of course, right as I pull up, so do another young cyclist, in racing kit, and I’m thinking yeah, whatever, I’m having my hot dog anyway. I’m not that proud. Funny thing… the kid ordered one too!

I was a bit surprised, looking at Strava telling me my run across Skyline, from Saratoga Gap to 84, was my personal best. It didn’t feel that fast. Descending 84 from Sky Londa, I checked out the mythical “driveway route” that exits from the northern side of the building with the general store. It bypasses the first of the two one-lane signal lights on the 84 descent, which could save a bit of time. Unfortunately, you’ve got to thread your way underneath a gate and pass more than one “no trespassing” sign before you can get where you need to be. A better option would be to hike over a small barrier that prevents traffic from Skyline using it as an alternate route; that barrier’s location can be seen here. Either way does get you past that first light, and in front of the second one where I noticed, for the first time, the signage that says “BICYCLES MUST PUSH BUTTON.” Must??? I mean, what happens if I don’t? I brought it up later with my son, who says that sign has been up there ever since the signal went in. Maybe I noticed it this time because I had plenty of time waiting for it to turn green and there were no other cars in front or behind me.

A Delorean passed by but it didn’t transport me back in time

On the left Kevin’s on the final Stage Road climb to Highway 1; on the right, flatter part of Tunitas, he’s enjoying what’s left of a Coke. Life definitely went better after the Coke!
Nothing different from the normal Sunday routine, except that I got up quite a bit earlier than Kevin to watch the final stage of Paris Nice, and after that, spent some time cleaning a bad winter’s collection of mud off our bieks before the ride.

Ohmygosh it was beautiful out there today! First time in many months we got to leave the legwarmers, base layers and jackets at home. Lowest temp I saw was maybe 61? Lower 70s were the norm. Nice enough that Kevin overcooked it a bit climbing Old LaHonda; I saw him for the first 6 minutes or so and then he was gone. It’s going to take him a bit of time to get back to full speed, but at just over 20 minutes, he’s way faster than I am!

We did the outlaw thing, like everybody else, riding West Old LaHonda through the “dangerous” closed section (which hasn’t seemed to have changed at all these past two weeks). The climb over Haskins was pretty slow, although we can blame most of it on stopping to help someone in a car figure out how to get to the coast. Pretty easy; just stay on the same road and it dead ends at the ocean!

The bakery/market in Pescadero was packed, which shouldn’t be a surprise, given how nice it was. We’re such regulars there that they start making Kevin’s sandwich as soon as they spot him in line though, so that saved some time. They even know him by name (which they wrote on the sandwich).

Stage Road? Yeah, tough headwind today, but the only really bad part is just that first few miles to the base of the first climb. Tunitas? Very easy; Kevin was feeling the effects of his Old LaHonda effort. He felt a lot better after drinking the half bottle of coke that I couldn’t finish in Pescadero and brought with me though.

I can definitely get used to days like this. After the winter we’ve had, yeah, we’ve paid our dues. Time to really enjoy riding on warm days and put the rain bikes aside for a while. Hopefully a long while. 🙂