Today’s ride was a loop to climb Zayante, which starts somewhere in Felton, and end up at Skyline. The start of this ride was at Saratoga Gap, at Hwy 9 and Hwy 35, but I wanted some extra miles, and so did a number of others. We decided to meet at Starbucks in Saratoga. This was a big group.
We got to the official start of the ride in plenty of time to spare. The official start had even more people. I think there were about 27 riders signed up for this … awesome.
First up, the descent down Hwy 9. It hit cold on that descent, and it was a good thing I wore a base layer … I just didn’t want to bring a vest. There was a lot of dew from the trees, and it gave us the illusion that it was raining, but we were just being dropped on by the trees. A few didn’t bring jackets and were freezing. Luckily Steve had extra jackets, and offered to those in need.
Descending Hwy 9 got really sketchy after we passed through Boulder Creek. There was not much shoulder room, and a lot of car traffic. It got so bad, one of the riders in the back took a fall. He flipped over the handlebars, and suffered a broken clavicle. It seemed to be a matter of crossed wheels. Luckily, an ambulance happen to be rolling by, and was able to assist. Kudos to Steve and to John for jumping in and heading back to be with our fallen rider until he was safely transported in the ambulance. They also made sure his significant other made it to the scene. Scary moments. This was definitely on every rider’s mind.
We went on ahead and we all decided to regroup at the Zayante Market. We refueled here, ready to tackle Zayante.
It was about 10 miles to the top, but the real climbing didn’t start until about 5 miles later. Some of the switches were pretty steep, and you could see it as you were approaching it. You gotta just shift, and power through it.
The climb was well shaded with an abundance of trees, and it kept the sun away most of the way, and the temps reasonable. One rider made a comment about how shady the climb is, compared to those in Contra Costa County, which are all completely exposed.
Made it to Skyline where we all regrouped. I offered an easier way back by going on Summit, t Hough Lexington Dam and into Los Gatos, but everyone wanted to continue on the route. Besides, it will add to the mileage and climbing on Strava.
The rest of the ride was a series of rollies, and this is tough when you have miles and climbing already in your legs. But at least it was still pretty scenic.
Everybody split off when we got back to Saratoga Gap … one thing nice about this … it was all downhill.
Great ride, except for the accident. Just wish there was a better way to get down to Zayante. I guess the other way would have been to go up Jameson Creek, then go down Empire Grade, and onto Felton, but that has tons of traffic too. I guess there is no good option … gotta just be very aware and careful.
Stats: 74.3 miles, 6870 ft climbing. Legs are feeling it the next day.