Category Archives: Ride reports (not Tu/Th)

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

Do something crazy! And fix a bike or two along the way.

The Davenport Cafe is our mandatory mid-rid stop on the Santa Cruz loop.

The Davenport Cafe is our mandatory mid-rid stop on the Santa Cruz loop.

Wow, I think we’re finally back on-line, after 10 days in which the Almost-Daily Diary had vanished. Some catching up to do, like Tuesday & Thursday’s rides, but we’ll work backward and cover yesterdays’ first.

With the weather billed as being, well, awesome, we couldn’t do just any ride. And with as many miles as my legs have missed lately due to travel, clearly it was time to do something a bit beyond, and that can mean just one thing. Santa Cruz. Back in the day, a Santa Cruz loop was not all that common, perhaps done once a year, maybe missing some even, but it seems to be the new leg & body-testing ride for myself and Kevin. And why not? It’s got everything! Climbs, descents, headwinds, tailwinds, light traffic, heavy traffic, and did we mention the fantastic lunch stop in Davenport?

Just before hitting Old LaHonda we came across Lisa & Andy, customers of ours who were having trouble with a bike computer. It’s display simply said “Working…”. Seriously, that’s what it said. I did a reset on it, it still said “Working…” but came to life shortly after. Patience is a good thing sometimes.

Kevin enjoying Lunch at Davenport Cafe

Nothing fast up Old LaHonda (22:40) or Haskins (almost 11 minutes!) because we knew there was a lot more ahead. Traded pace with an Alto Velo rider we came across on the run towards Pescadero, then peeled off south for the run down the coast. Thankfully the winds were favorable, accounting for the PRs on Strava. And, as usual, the Davenport Cafe did not disappoint. Carne Asada burrito, Pepsi and a Mocha. Could have skipped the Mocha, but I’d never had coffee there so figured I ought to try it out. We used to eat at the Whaler Cafe just across the street, but they’re busier, the food isn’t quite as good (but not bad, better than just about anyplace else you’re likely to go… just not as good as the Davenport Cafe!), and it’s more expensive.

Boulder Creek Food Mart/Gas Station. Last chance for food & water before climbing to Skyline

The least-favorite part of the ride, as always, is the section on Highway 9 from Santa Cruz until you get a few miles past Boulder Creek where it finally pitches up permanently. Prior to that you’ve got leg-sapping rollers, lots of traffic, potholes… you just want to get out of there. It’s funny how much you look forward to a real climb, where you can settle in. As expected, I was feeling a lot better this far into the ride than Kevin, who’s got even fewer miles in his legs than me. Oh, right, almost forgot the mandatory stop for Mtn Dew and to refill bottles at the gas station in Boulder Creek. We’re beginning to question if it really makes sense to stop there, perhaps riding on through and stopping at Skyline (Mr. Mustard) instead. Might try that next time.

Kevin began to feel better at “Cheeseland”, the part of Highway 9 about 3/4 of the way up from Waterman Gap, where there’s a large parking lot on the right with a terrific view. He calls it “Cheeseland” because there used to be a sign there for “Cheeseborough Scout Camp” or something like that. We almost reeled another rider in just before the top, but not quite.

No stop for Mr. Mustard today; we still had plenty of energy drink left, and since Kevin’s legs were feeling better again, it made sense to just keep going. We did get stopped for a few minutes by the almost-mandatory motorcycle crash on Skyline (at least this guy had the sense to wreck near the fire station), and then stopped again to fix a guy’s chain at Sky Londa.

112 miles, almost exactly 8 hours door-to-door. Not a speed run, but it really felt good.

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Get on a plane, or get on a bike? Pretty easy choice, even with wet road. Bike!

(Note: There would normally be photos of the ride, but still a few bugs in the system on this

The plan (remember, there’s always a plan) was to get in a nice ride to the coast on a day without rain. Yeah, that was the plan. Get going at a reasonable time and get back early enough that, if needed, I could get a flight out to DC today instead of tomorrow, hoping to make it in time for the congressional meetings back there despite a nasty storm moving in.

What I didn’t count on was waking up to… rain. It was supposed to be gone during the night! New weather report says it’s supposed to be over by 2pm. We wait. and wait. Well, it is letting up, and in fact, at 2pm it’s pretty much stopped raining. Wet everywhere, yes, but raining, no. Which meant rain bikes and yes, if we had to be out on our rain bikes, we might as well have left earlier. It’s not exactly rocket science. But 1:59pm and Kevin & I were finally out of the garage and out on the road.

That original plan, going to the coast… that was out of the question. Not enough daylight. That meant West Alpine, but as secondary options go, that’s a pretty nice one. So up Old LaHonda in about 24 minutes, down the other side, and 47 minutes up West Alpine. Could be worse. Faster on our Trek Madones? Oh yeah. But only by a couple minutes. The rain bikes feel a lot slower than they actually are, and after a while, you get used to it and it’s not so bothersome anymore.

Heading up Old LaHonda we eventually caught up with a guy, later identified via Strava as Stephane M, who seemed just a bit faster than me, not quite as fast as Kevin. He had headed down the other side of West Old LaHonda as well, last seen stopped to take some photos. Then later, about halfway up West Alpine, we saw him again! He’d gotten past us when we took the “shortcut” by the duck pond, which adds a few minutes to the route. I was thinking, nice, maybe Kevin might go into “social” mode and slow down for a bit. Well yes, for about a minute, then he was off & running again, flying up the second half of West Alpine. I hung on for a while, eventually giving up about a minute to him by the top.

But here’s the thing. Kevin was on the ropes on the first half of West Alpine, causing me to wait up for him. If I exploited he weaknesses, if I dropped him when I could, I’d probably be able to stay ahead of him to the top.

At the top we did a quick regroup with Stephane, alone with a Chain Reaction customer or two who’d ridden up the Page Mill side, including Joel B. You meet the nicest people on a bike.

In the end it was 42.3 miles, 4700ft of climbing, not too fast, but pretty nice ride. Yes, we should have left earlier, in the rain, and done Tunitas, but I was spending too much time on the computer, trying to figure out flight options for tomorrow’s trip… and, in the end, sticking with the original. Because, after all, that was the plan. –Mike–

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