Epic Weekend of Riding

I saw that there were no rides posted for the weekend on BF, so I decided to lead a pair of rides. First one on Saturday, was originally designed to be a metric century, starting from Mountain View, going to Los Gatos, and tackle Hicks Road. Hicks Road is a tough climb, but no one really knows about it, unless you are a Los Gatos citizen. It is kind of out of the way, and goes to fairly remote area of Los Gatos.

Had a good turnout. I described this as a Wheel Stooges ride, with the intensity of a Gladiator ride. Pete, Michael, and Chris came along. Kevin was a BF lurker, and decided to do his first BF ride with us .. woohoo … hope he knows what he is getting himself into. Also, a late addition was Marco and Ruth on the tandem. Actually, they were going to do the DMD training ride (which happens to be next week), but they woke up late. So we were the fallback ride.

Chris was actually recovering from knee problems, and this is the first real ride of any significance … oh boy, I hope he does well. As it turned out, he did better than me. Here is Chris’s fashion statement:

The ride went through Saratoga, and that happens to be close to where the Bohlman-On Orbit climb is. For those that don’t know, this is a 3 mile climb, that goes vertical! I am not kidding either … there were sections that went as high as 30%, most averaging around 10% … good part of the top hovers around 20-25%. In other words, you will earn your HTFU points on this climb. Since Marco and Ruth were doing DMD next week, and they missed today’s training ride, they need to make up for it by doing Bohlman-On Orbit. The rest of us were sheep, and we simply followed them up to the top of Bohlman – On Orbit.

This took a lot of energy out of me. By the time we got to the top, I thought we were up in the heavens.

Coming down this hill was also very technical. You had to control your speed, so that you don’t overshoot the turn. Oh, and of course, there was some fantastic views.

Now, we did finish this climb, but that drained a lot of energy out of everyone’s legs. What everyone didn’t know was that Hicks Road is not really that easy either … in the last mile or so of the climb, the grade consistently stays around 20-25%. The tough part here is there is no water to refill anywhere on the climb. Dang, I thought at least, at the restroom stop there would be a spigot, but there was none. It’s a good thing the weather wasn’t hot … in fact, it was cool, around 60 F, which worked out perfectly for us.

The top of Hicks is at the intersection of Mt. Umunhum Road. This road, if you take it up, goes to some secret military base, with the infamous “box”. You can barely make out the box from this picture:

Now the story here is that if you do go up Mt. Umunhum, there is a gate, and is not allowed to the general public. If you do plan to cross it, you may run into a big white albino, and they are not very friendly … you move, they shoot … I think we’ll skip this part.

We continued on to loop around the reservoir. A few riders were running low on water, so they stopped off at the Lucky’s supermarket. The front of the pack blew by that so fast, I didn’t have the energy to go up to the front and suggest to stop there. I think next time I do this ride, it will be mandatory to top off all water bottles before doing Hicks.

And how did everyone do on Hicks? Well, I could see everyone tacking up the hill. They were completely unprepared for this.

By the time we got back to Los Gatos, I didn’t have the same zip in my legs. I guess you could say I had a mini-bonk, but I just took it at a much slower pace, and that’s what saved me. Later on, when we got to a 7-11, I got nice ice-cold water, and ice cream. The ice cream felt good, but the cold water is probably what replinished me … the zip in my legs was back. By the time I finished, I had completed 84 miles, and 7100 feet of climbing. Whew, what a day.

Oh, BTW, I accidentally hit the stop button, so my Garmin stopped recording data during the nice downhill descent. But at least I had the elevation gain correct (that’s why you see the flat line in the elevation profile).

I also volunteered an Easter Sunday ride … I was shocked to see nothing was planned. So I decided ahead of time to do Old La Honda – Alpine loop. This was a short, 40 mile, 5000 foot climb ride. My worry here was my legs wouldn’t be ready for this, but surprisingly, my legs recovered, and I was able to climb on this ride (not really fast, but not really struggling either). My legs felt good, but I think I’ll need to ice my knees. This is what I did yesterday, and I think this is what helped my legs recover.

Alpine is one of those climbs that is a big one, but most people don’t think about. Sure, there is OLH, King’s Mountain Road, but no one thinks about Alpine. I think it is even tougher than OLH, and probably tougher than King’s Mountain Road. I would say it is equal in difficulty to Page Mill. Alpine is about 750 feet more climbing than OLH, so it is quite a bit longer. It also gives you a pretty nice view too.

So this was an epic weekend … I will remember this weekend, just due to the sheer magnitude of the ride, and how well my legs recovered in a short time. Good times.

Pics from the weekend rides



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