Bike Items for Sale - Here's a photo journal of bike parts that I'm trying to clear out of my workshop.
Shipping is $10 or (actual shipping charges + (optional) insurance charges + delivery confirmation fee), whichever is greater. I will try to find cheapest shipping option (e.g. USPS for US Domestic delivery) or will ship according to your carrier of preference.
Some of the parts are new, some are used. If you think my item pricing is off or you're buying multiple items, please make me an offer.
I am selling everything "as is". But, if you buy an item that is dead on arrival, damaged in shipment, or you believe you got a raw deal, please contact me as soon as possible so we can work out a solution. Given the time involved in selling these items I am not making a profit on this and am more interested in seeing components and parts I no longer use but that have remaining useful life to find a home with other bicycle enthusiasts, where they will be used instead of collecting dust in my workshop.
Contact me at the following . It will help if you include the links to photos of the items that interest you. All prices are in US Dollars.
Entire Blog - Display the entire Blog for all years. This is a large file!
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||7100 feet|
Oakland Hills, October 16, 1994 - Stella Hackell and I did a ride in the Oakland Hills.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||4900 feet|
Point Reyes, October 9, 1994 - Richard Mlynarik and I carpooled out to the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitor's Center to begin our ride out to the Lighthouse and to various intermediate points. We rode first to the Lighthouse, then on the return trip, visited South Beach, North Beach, Drake's Beach, Estero, and Mt. Vision (Pt. Reyes Hill).
CA85 Before Opening, September 25, 1994 - Hildy Licht and I rode from Stevens Creek Blvd. south to Almaden Expressway on the last remaining segment of CA85 that had yet to open to normal traffic. We managed to sneak in our ride three weeks before the official opening celebration.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5500 feet|
Marin Headlands and Bolinas, September 18, 1994 - Richard Mlynarik and I did a ride through the Marin Headlands, then up CA1 past Stinson Beach to Bolinas before returning on Bolinas-Fairfax Road to Larkspur and then the ferry back to San Francisco.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6300 feet|
Mt. Diablo and Morgan Territory, September 11, 1994 - Richard Mlynarik and I took BART to Walnut Creek, then climbed up Mt. Diablo (North Gate), then descended South Gate and rode Morgan Territory Road south to north, ending with dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Concord before taking BART home.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6930 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||13.9 mph|
|Max. Speed:||39.5 mph|
Loma Prieta, August 13, 1994 - On my way from home in Palo Alto to Saratoga High School, I met up with Brent Silver. We continued on to the high school where we hooked up with Beth Dawson’s ride up Loma Prieta. While we rested at the start, I met Thomas Maslen, Larry Sokolsky, a fellow LMSC employee, and his friend Denise Ellestad. Ron Porat and Sam Wilkie arrived a minute later. Beth wanted to warm up a bit before starting up CA-9, so she and the group started off on a warm-up loop while Ron and I went to top off our water bottles. Feeling slow, Brent started up the hill first.
Fifteen minutes later Ron and I took off and began climbing up CA-9. We caught up to Brent at the two long switchbacks and continued at his pace to the top. About 3/4 of a mile before the top Denise zipped by at about 10 mph. (We were doing 5 mph or so.)
At the top we regrouped and relaxed for a little while before heading south on Skyline. The ride south was very pretty and quiet. We regrouped again at Bear Creek Rd.
As we passed the Redwood Estates turnoff on Summit Road, a mystery cyclist without a helmet and with a toothless grin came upon us from behind. At our next rest stop, the Summit Store, he introduced himself: Jan Zaluda. Jan has been riding in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 1974. He’s ridden up Loma Prieta before but wanted to join us today.
We continued south on Highland Way and turned left on Mt. Bache and began a very hot climb. In less than a mile we reached Loma Prieta Ave. and continued climbing into the sun. After what seemed like an hour but was really only 28 minutes, we reached the end of the paved road. This was as far as Beth, Sam, and Thomas wanted to ride, since they were on skinny tires.
The rest of us were more foolish, so we said our goodbyes and continued on the rough, rocky, washboard, dirt road. Loma Prieta Road climbs gradually up to the junction with Summit Road. We stayed left at the junction and began climbing up a visciously steep and rocky road. Fortunately, the steep part wasn’t too long, but the weather was hot and dry, and the dust and rocks made the climb more challenging. Brent remarked to me later that Denise got off her bike and walked some sections faster than he could ride them.
About 500 feet below the summit, we reached a junction where someone had placed a mobile home with a sign in the window that reads “For Rent”. To the left Loma Ridge Road continues down the ridge to Mt. Umunhum and Loma Almaden Road. Jan claims to have ridden up to the top of Mt. Umunhum several times even when the Air Force used to be there. He prefers that climb. “All pavement,” he says. He said he never had a problem being kept out by the gunslingers that are said to prowl the area. To the right Casa Loma Road plunges down to Uvas Road, and to the middle we continued up to the Summit. The road is steep, and after we passed a gated road to the left that goes to the antenna farm at the top, I found I lacked the right combination of traction, balance and power to stay pedaling. Larry managed to stay in the saddle as the rest of us plodded uphill on our two-foot gears.
The road ends at a microwave relay antenna farm that isn’t behind barbed wire. A short footpath leads up the northeast side of the peak to a small helipad just outside a high razor-wire fence and about 20 feet below the actual summit of the mountain. The temperature was a very dry 90F. The view of San Jose to Gilroy is reminiscent of the view from the top of Mt. Diablo toward Concord. Loma Prieta is nearly as high as Mt. Diablo. Mt. Hamilton is about 400 feet higher, but it doesn’t look it.
We spent about 20 minutes enjoying the view and drinking our precious water before we began the bumpy descent. When we reached Summit Road we turned left and began the long trek south to Mt. Madonna County Park. Larry and Denise had gone ahead. They were going to go down the west side of Mt. Madonna Road and return to Saratoga via Eureka Canyon Road and Highland Way.
Shortly after the turn I discovered my rear tire going flat. It was a patch that had come unglued. I’ve never had that happen before. After spending fifteen minutes mucking around on the dusty ground, we got going again. Five minutes later, Ron stoped to fix a flat. Since Brent had ridden on ahead, I decided to go catch up to him so he didn’t think we had turned back. Brent waited at the upper gate on Summit Road just past the road into Uvas Canyon County park and just before Ormsby Cutoff. A sign reads “Private Road. No Trespassing”, but having checked with Santa Clara County beforehand, I know it is an illegal sign and that Summit Road is a public right-of-way. The gate was open.
Brent and I waited for a good half-hour before deciding that Ron and Jan were taking far too long to fix a flat. So we started back. In less than half a mile, we met up with them. Ron had two punctures, but he didn’t discover the second until he had fixed the first.
We continued without further delay down Summit Road and past several hovels on the hot, dusty, treeless ridge. The 1000-foot antenna is about a quarter mile off to the left of Summit Road behind a high fence. I was curious to know what it’s for. Not many antennas are on such a high tower.
Soon we reached the lower gate. After passing through we continued a little further on dirt and then onto blessed pavement. Despite what some people think, I’m not crazy about dirt roads. I like to ride them if they go someplace interesting, but I usually don’t go out of my way just to ride dirt. Loma Prieta Road is one of the roughest dirt roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and both Loma Prieta and Summit Rds. are dusty and rocky. The ridge along the southeast flank of the Santa Cruz Mountains is mostly treeless, and on a hot day, a ride down this road is very dry and dusty. If these roads were paved next week, I wouldn’t cry.
Since the time I had been waiting with Brent at the upper gate, my digestive system had been grumbling, and now grumblings punctuated by sharp stabs had become alarmingly frequent. I knew we had a few miles of mostly downhill before we’d reach the “little building” at Mt. Madonna park, but I couldn’t wait any longer. As soon as I saw a secluded bunch of trees, I stopped. This time I brought an adequate supply of paper. When I was finished, I even dug a little trench with a stick and buried the fruit of my labor.
The others had gone on ahead. I caught up to them at Mt. Madonna Road. We continued into the park and stopped for water and a snack next to the little building.
After resting, we turned around and rode back on Pole Line Road to Mt. Madonna Road. Then we turned right and headed down on the dirt. Brent and Ron were ahead. A half mile from the top, I picked up a set of keys, tools, and a bottle of sunscreen. It looked like Brent’s or Ron’s.
A little further down, Jan flatted. He had advised me earlier not to pump my tires to 110 psi, that it wore out the casing. I replied that I pumped up the tires to avoid pinch flats on bumpy dirt roads. Jan had gotten two pinch flats and one puncture flat. Now it was my turn to give advice.
A half-hour later, we got moving again. The road was steep, but about 3/4 of a mile before the bottom, the pavement returned. Ron was at the bottom of the hill. He had just left a note for us on the “Yield” sign at the bottom, and Brent had ridden on ahead. The three of us continued down Redwood Retreat Road at a fast pace and then left on Watsonville Road. Jan took the lead and pulled us into the wind at a difficult 20 mph.
When we got to Monterey Hwy, we turned left. I knew Brent was going to stop for food somewhere along here, so I kept my eyes open for his bike. As we passed the Subway shop on the right I looked behind and recognized Brent’s bike. We stopped, ate, and drank.
Brent looked tired and unhappy. He asked if I had found a set of keys on the road. When I said I had, his face lit up.
“It must be my day.”, he said.
“Yes,” I replied. “Also, you’re the only one who hasn’t had a flat tire.”
After a moderately long rest and a good two-hour ride ahead of us, we resumed riding. We could have taken the county transit bus #68 to the San Jose Caltrain station, but we were too macho for that. Besides, I wanted to get “credit” for a century.
We started north on Monterey Highway taking turns at the front. But when Jan got to the front, he pushed the pace to about 21 mph and held it there for an hour. (!) It was like following a locomotive. Without the food stop I would have been unable to hold on. As it was, I was comfortable drafting at 21 mph, but had I been at the front I would have ridden at 17 or 18 mph. I was not feeling particularly energetic.
After stopping very briefly in downtown San Jose at Cesar Chavez Plaza, Brent left us by heading home to Sunnyvale on San Carlos Blvd., and I led the way north on Coleman, De la Cruz, and Central Expressway at a slightly slower pace of 19 to 20 mph. Ron cut off at Mary St., and I cut off at Middlefield. I got home at 2038.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6900 feet|
El Sereno, July 30, 1994 - Geoff Chase and I rode up Bohlman Road over the top of El Sereno (where the one photo was taken), down Montevina, and up Black Road and then south to Old Santa Cruz Hwy after which we flew down CA17 into Los Gatos. We then rode back into Saratoga, up CA9 to Sanborn Park, then up CA9 to Redwood Gulch and down Redwood Gulch and Stevens Canyon Road.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||8430 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||14.3 mph|
|Max. Speed:||45.0 mph|
Santa Cruz Zig-Zag, July 24, 1994 - Starting from my place near the Cultural Center in Palo Alto, CA at 7:40 we headed south on Middlefield Road. While we continued south on San Antonio Road and Foothill Expressway we found ourselves delayed by nearly every traffic signal. After stopping at the picnic area just past Montebello Road we continued up Stevens Canyon and Redwood Gulch to Saratoga Gap, pausing briefly at the summit to discuss the route.
“So, where are we going now?”, asked Pete.
“We’ll continue down Highway 9 and then straight onto Highway 236, then turn left on China Grade Road instead of descending into Big Basin.”, I replied
We all were anxious to climb Jamison Creek Road.
So, off we went. At the turn-off to CA-236 6.1 miles from Saratoga Gap, I continued straight at the saddle point on the ridge onto CA-236 and coasted up to the nearest turnout out of sight of the junction to wait for the others. A few seconds later Ron came along, but Stella and Pete did not appear. So, Ron and I coasted back to the saddle point and waited at the junction.
“Do you think they flatted or had other trouble?”, I ask Ron.
“I don’t know.”, Ron answered.
“Well, we’ve been here for ten minutes. Let’s give them another ten. If they don’t appear by then, let’s assume they missed the turn and continued down to Boulder Creek. They know we’re climbing Jamison Creek Road, so if we don’t find them in Boulder Creek, we’ll probably find them at the bottom of Jamison Creek Road. If something else happened, which is unlikely, we’ll have to assume they can take care of themselves.”, I said.
Ten minutes passed and no Stella and no Pete. So down CA-9 we rode. On the flat several miles from the bottom of the grade into Boulder Creek, I drafted Ron. I had forgotten how much fun it is to draft behind someone who is my size. Ron and I are both tall (6’4” and 6’5”).
When we got to Boulder Creek we rode down the main street as far as Karan’s Deli, but we didn’t see Stella or Pete. Well, either they didn’t make it down this far or they’ve continued on to Jamison Creek Road. We stopped briefly next to Johnny’s Market and ate a snack before starting up CA-236.
When we got to the bottom of Jamison Creek Road, Stella and Pete were waiting. We filled up our water tanks at the new fire station at the corner before starting up the hill. Jamison Creek Road begins disarmingly enough, but 1.3 miles up, the road makes a turn to the left and begins a relentless climb at 12.5% average grade for the next 1.7 miles. We all managed the climb in 25 to 30 minutes.
While we rested at the top, an “army” of teenage boys clad in green T-shirts and green jeans marched by silently and grimly in two long files on either side of Empire Grade. From where were they marching?
“They must be heading to the CYA (California Youth Authority) camp at the top of Ben Lomond Mountain.”, I said.
A few minutes later we rode between the two files just before we reached the top of the mountain.
Most of us continued to Pine Flat Road, but I stopped to rescue a young fledgling that was sitting in shock on the roadway. I had seen it out of the corner of my eye as my wheels narrowly missed it a few seconds earlier. It didn’t move as I bent to pick it up, but as I grasped and pulled it off the roadway, I could feel it clasping the irregularities in the asphalt, resisting my pull. It let out a protesting squawk as I broke its grip. I was going to move it off the roadway and then determine if it was injured. I was also thinking of how I was going to transport this bird home to the Wildlife Rescue shelter in Palo Alto and whether or not that would be a good idea, but before I could set it down, it flew out of my hand and landed in a nearby bush. It seemed O.K., so I continued on, feeling that I had probably saved this bird from certain death had an automobile happened along.
We turned right on Pine Flat and right again on Bonny Doon Road. When we got to the Bonny Doon winery we turned left and headed up Pine Flat a short distance before turning right onto Martin Road. Martin Road passes over what looks like a more arid pocket in the Santa Cruz Mountains, more like the middle-Sierras where the soil is drier and rockier. I wonder if the area was logged heavily at some time as The Chalks in Big Basin and Butano Ridge had been.
We turned right on Ice Cream Grade and right again on Empire Grade and enjoyed the rolling downhill to the west entrance of the UCSC campus. Rarely can I resist delaying my arrival into Santa Cruz by detouring up into the campus and zipping down over the Great Meadow on the bike path. This time was no exception.
The Saturn Cafe was our destination, and we lingered lazily over a two-hour feast. Each of us ordered at least two meals. Ron got a Frank Award for crossing the street to Yogurt Delite and bringing back a chocolate yogurt cone to go, and that was after a large bowl of very thick carrot and cashew soup, a large plate of pasta, a fruit shake, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Stella, who always seems to eat for one-half, outdid herself by putting down and keeping down a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a large plate of pasta.
We began the return trip home by slowly heading east on Mission Street to Water St. and then left on Market St. We continued on Branciforte Road and turned left at Granite Creek Road. We stopped briefly at the Chevron station in Scotts Valley next to “nny’s” (Denny’s. When I was a student at UCSC, the “De” part of the sign didn’t light at night, hence the nickname.)
Our route took us up Glenwood Drive to Glenwood Cutoff, a road I had never ridden before. Glenwood Drive is the old Santa Cruz Highway used more heavily before infamous CA-17 was built. Glenwood Cutoff climbs steeply from Glenwood Drive to CA-17. At CA-17 we crossed and head uphill for 0.4 miles before diving off onto Laurel Road, another road I hadn’t ridden.
Laurel Road starts slightly downhill then climbs a bit before descending more than 300 feet to the little community of Laurel nestled in the upper reaches of the West Branch of Soquel Creek. One reason I chose this route was to try some new roads. The other was to find the end of one of the tunnels used by the old railroad that crossed the mountains between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz many years ago. We found the end of the tunnel that goes between Glenwood and Laurel. It was completely caved in.
While we were standing at the opening, talking about the old railroad and where it went, I started looking around for a place to conduct business. Just then two men who must have heard us popped out of a little building off behind some bushes. Apparently, the local community draws its water from a well located at the mouth of the old tunnel, and the men were working on the pump when we happened by. It’s a good thing I decided not to add to the local water table.
I asked one of them about the possibility of rebuilding the rail line along the old alignment. In a similar situation I suppose things might go worse were I to ask Mike of the Junction Cafe why he doesn’t serve veggie-burgers or something suitable for customers who aren’t sitting on their duffs all day, though if he did he might have less reason to complain about bicyclists always wanting water but never buying anything, which isn’t true.
“You’d have alot of people against it up here.”, said the man, pouting and sighing. “Most of the land along the old rail line is private. And with these tunnels caving in all the time, I don’t think you’ll see it open any time soon. When the line was built it didn’t take the most direct route, but a route that went past all the sawmills. The lumber barons built the railroad to haul lumber so they routed it past all their mills. If they wanted to haul passengers, they should’ve sent it down Soquel Creek. That would’ve been easier.”, he said pointing behind us.
We continued up Shulties Road, whose pavement is in as good condition as the top of Redwood Gulch, to Old Santa Cruz Highway, and turned right. We stopped just past Summit Road for a snack break before starting down the north side of the ridge on the old, broken concrete.
At CA-17, we turned right and coasted quickly down to Lexington Reservoir. We stopped just before the final plunge down into Los Gatos because Stella got a pinch flat after running over a rock somewhere along the highway. Fifteen minutes later and after graciously enduring a great deal of unsolicited advice from yours truly, Stella and the rest of us got back on the road.
After exiting at CA-9 in Los Gatos, we stopped at a pay phone to make a few phone calls and then continued home on the flat route through Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||8000 feet|
Borel Hill, July 17, 1994 - Ron Porat and I rode up Borel Hill. According to my notes it looks like we rode down to Old Haul Road by some indirect route—we had already done 5300 feet of climbing and 58 miles—, came up Camp Pomponio Road and west Alpine Road, then detoured up Borel Hill before finally heading home.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5900 feet|
Daggett, Luther, and Carson Passes, July 9, 1994 - Chris Hull and I parked the car near NV-206 and NV-207, the bottom of Kingsbury Grade Road. We climbed Kingsbury Grade to Daggett Pass, then descended into South Lake Tahoe, taking Pioneer Trail to cut off most of the urban stuff, then climbed over Luther Pass into Hope Valley. We stopped for lunch at Sorensen's before starting our climb up Carson Pass. It so happens we chose to ride on the same day as the Death Ride, so the road was crowded with cyclists. I had trouble getting to the top that day as I was suffering a severe case of side-stitches, but we both made it to the top. Then we had a long descent down CA-88, past Woodfords, and down Emigrants Trail and Fredericksburg Road back to NV-206 and the car.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||3600 feet|
Ebbetts Pass, July 8, 1994 - Chris and I started near Markleeville and climbed to Ebbetts Pass.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5800 feet|
Mt. Rose Highway, July 7, 1994 - Chris Hull and I rode the Lake Tahoe portion of the Comstock Silver Century. We started in Carson City, rode north to Reno through New Washoe City, and then climbed the Mt. Rose Highway over the Mt. Rose Summit and down to Lake Tahoe. We returned along the eastern shore of the lake and returned to Carson City over Spooner Summit.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||7900 feet|
July 4th Ride to the Grimm's, July 4, 1994 - Stella and I started off with Tom Maneri on a ride to Boulder Creek. Tom joined us part way as he had another obligation to attend while Stella and I descended to Boulder Creek for lunch. After lunch we took Gazos Creek Road to the coast, and then rode up Cloverdale and Pescadero Roads to join Chris, Juley, Rama, and Vasu at the Grimm's (Robin and Lester) for their July 4th party.
Mt. Hamilton, July 2, 1994 - Chris Hull and I rode up Mt. Hamilton. We took a couple of photos at the bench at the top.
Santa Cruz with Stella June 16, 1994 - Stella and I did a ride to Santa Cruz and stopped at Guaranga's for lunch.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6390 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||15.7 mph|
|Max. Speed:||48.0 mph|
Santa Cruz Mountains Coastal Loop, June 12, 1994 - At 7:15a Ron Porat, Ed Miller, and I set out from my place in Palo Alto, CA. We cruised up Embarcadero Road through a corner of the Stanford campus and up Sand Hill Road to Portola Road. We turned right on Portola and left on CA-84 and continued all the way to San Gregorio. Tom Lawrence joined us at Sand Hill Road and Santa Cruz Ave.
I seldom ride up the eastern side of CA-84. The ascent is about 1000 feet in 3 miles, an easy climb, and early on a Sunday morning traffic was light. Skylonda was at the boundary between fog and sun, and as we began the western descent to San Gregorio, we rode through wet patches of roadway underneath dripping, fog-soaked redwoods.
As we came out on the open, flat run for the last 4 or 5 miles to San Gregorio, the heavy fog turned to drizzle. Everything was wet, and the temperature was a chilly 57F. We stopped for a water break at the General Store shortly after its opening at 9:00a before heading out the last mile to the coast.
We turned left and began the 40-mile ride south to Santa Cruz. Caltrans have recently resurfaced CA-1 between San Gregorio and Pescadero with new, smooth asphalt and have widened the shoulders in both directions. The first few miles south while wet was smooth and swift. The strong wind blowing from the northwest helped, too. Were it not for the traffic, CA-1 would be a more comfortable alternate to Stage Road about a mile inland.
Ron took a long, strong pull at the front of our line from Bean Hollow Beach all the way to Ano Nuevo. We stopped at the preserve parking lot to shed our wet-weather layers as we had just come out of the fog into the bright, warm sun. From the viewpoint near the pit toilets, we could see the fog bank, marked by a definite boundary, like something out of a science-fiction story involving the Bermuda Triangle, hanging ominously about 1 mile off the coast.
We continued south past the cliffs at the southern end of Big Basin State Park, past Waddell Beach, and past Big Creek Lumber. On the long downhill past Scott Creek Beach I reached a record 48 mph maximum speed, and sustained a speed in the 40’s for a fair distance. A tuck and a tailwind helped.
We arrived in Santa Cruz at 11:30a and decided to continue straight to lunch rather than detour uphill through the UC Santa Cruz Campus. We had planned to take lunch at the all-you-can-eat $6 buffet at Guaranga’s, but when we arrived they were closed. Rather than retrace our busy path on Water and Mission Streets to the Saturn Cafe we continued down Water for a few more blocks and ate at the Staff of Life deli. The food here is good, but the portions are smaller.
After lunch we returned west on Water St. to Branciforte and joined the 1994 Sequoia 100-mile route over the two “walls” of Isbel and Carbonera. Instead of taking El Rancho and La Madrona, frontage roads to CA-17, we turned left at the top of Carbonera and rode the scenic road through the Pasatiempo golf course and development and exited at Sims Road. We turned left and then right on Graham Hill Road and then left just past the stores onto Pipeline Road through Henry Cowell Redwoods.
(FYI: I did not route the 1994 Sequoia Century this way for three reasons, one of them political, the other two safety: (1) We could not route some 450 cyclists on the private road through Pasatiempo, (2) the Pasatiempo/CA-17 overpass is very dangerous on the overpass because the exit ramps from CA-17 both northbound and southbound do not stop, and (3) I did not want cyclists making a left turn off of Graham Hill Road onto Pipeline Road.)
After taking a break at Henry Cowell Redwoods we continued through Felton and climbed Zayante Road to Summit Road. After regrouping at the top we turned right on Summit Road and left on Bayview and descended the steep and tortuous route through Redwood Estates on another series of semi-private roads. We continued downhill on Old Santa Cruz Highway and made our final descent swiftly on CA-17 into Los Gatos rather than mess with Alma Bridge Road and the crowded, dusty footpath alongside Los Gatos Creek.
We returned to Palo Alto on the usual flat route through Saratoga, Cupertino, and Los Altos, returning home just after 5:00p.
Sequoia Century Support, June 5, 1994 - I did bicycle and car SAG for the Sequoia this year. Here are a few photos from that day.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5500 feet|
Mt. Hamilton, May 21, 1994 - I joined Geoff Chase and his friends, Brendan, Mark Tunick, Marsha, and Felix for a ride up Mt. Hamilton. I rode from home and caught up to them near the start of the climb.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||15370 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||11.8 mph|
|Max. Speed:||41.0 mph|
Mr. Bill's Nightmare Preview, May 8, 1994 - What has become but is no longer a yearly event for me and for others who like long and punishing rides has become one of the official courses, Mr. Bill’s Nightmare, on this year’s Sequoia Century to be held on June 5. Today’s ride is my opportunity to ride the entire course in a day and to give others in the club an opportunity to join me for the adventure. The official “preview” ride happened on Saturday May 14, but due to other pleasures I was unable to lead the Nightmare course on that day.
Our route varied slightly from the planned Sequoia route, but the overall distance and climbing was similar.
At 5:55 I pull into the parking lot at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. I fully expect to be riding alone, but when I arrive, Tom and Jeff are already there. A few minutes later Jim arrives, and at 6:06, we set off.
After a long and tiring marathon ride the previous weekend, I have resolved to ride gently today and to use my small chainring whenever I feel like it. On previous weekends I had ridden the course in sections, and on those occasions I could climb the grades without shifting below 41 gear-inches. But today I feel no need to be macho.
We begin by climbing through Los Altos Hills: Arastradero, Purissima, Elena, Natoma, Black Mountain, Altamont, and Page Mill Road. We are on the official course at Altamont. Two large rambunctious dogs are loose on the roadway giving us our first adrenaline rush.
At Page Mill Road we turn left and begin a climb we’ve done many times before. Just past Foothills Park, I drop my chain off the small ring, and it jams tightly between my crank and bottom bracket. It takes me several minutes to un-jam the works. Meanwhile everyone else has ridden on ahead.
I continue slowly. Another cyclist is out to enjoy repeated climbs from Foothills Park to Moody Road. I yell out to him, “Once isn’t enough?” He smiles.
At the bottom of the upper grade past Shotgun Bend I catch up to Tom. Tom rides with a similar philosophy to mine: take it easy and enjoy the ride. We stay together for the rest of the climb to Skyline where Jim and Jeff are waiting.
After a short pause we continue southeast on Skyline toward Saratoga Gap. The air is cool and damp, and a gray fog hangs over the land.
We stop again at the fire station for a snack and to refill our water bottles. Afterward we continue past Saratoga Gap without stopping and descend CA-9 into Saratoga. The descent is fast and fun. Without pedaling I manage to get up to 41.0 mph in the cold damp air. I continue on to the BP station at the corner of Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road to conduct business while the others turn right on Sixth St. and begin the tough climb up Bohlman Road.
I return to Sixth Street and climb the lower portion of Bohlman Road alone. I turn left onto On Orbit Lane and begin climbing the steepest road on the course. As I near the 20+% grade section of pavement at the top of On Orbit I see Tom ahead. I catch up with him after the brief downgrade to the upper junction with Bohlman Road.
We find Jim and Jeff waiting at the end of Bohlman Road. They have not been waiting long. We all eat and talk about the climb before enjoying our next adventure: dirt.
Our route goes to the right and down slightly on a dirt road. It’s the only such road branching out from the end of Bohlman that is not marked with a “Keep Out” sign or similar. After a short downgrade we reach MROSD gate ES04. We ride through the gap in the fence and continue up the short steep gravel trail. The El Sereno Fire trail is as wide, smooth, and hard as a runway. The heavy rains 36 hours before don’t seem to have left much mud anywhere. The view to the right into Lyndon Canyon and of the ridge beyond is magnificent.
We turn right at the only fork in the road. The left-hand fork continues for a 1/4-mile to a viewpoint before plunging precipitously into Los Gatos. From the viewpoint one can see the trail descending very steeply down the ridge. This would be another fun descent, but signs at the top warn that there is no legal access into Los Gatos from the open space preserve, which would require one to return back up the steep, exposed hillside.
Soon we reach the Montevina gate. A guy driving up the hill to go jogging in the preserve nearly gets himself stuck in the mud by the steep road. He digs himself further into the dirt by spinning his wheels faster when he realizes he’s not getting any traction. Why do people do this?
Montevina Road is a fairly consistent 9% grade. The most difficult obstacles on the road are several loose, unruly dogs. The big, black lab near the top of Montevina that usually chases us away is nowhere to be seen. But further down the hill, a smaller, dog that looks like a pit-bull is loose and performing his guard duty.
On the way down we pass a group of joggers, and at CA-17 at the bottom we make another brief stop to give our hands a rest. Jeff makes a phone call.
We turn right on CA-17 and continue on the ample shoulder to Black Road where we turn right. We continue up a busy Black Road to Lakeside School where we fill up on water from the drinking fountains. Beyond Lakeside School Black Road climbs lazily and even descends briefly before entering a beautiful redwood forest and beginning a steep climb to Skyline.
Jeff suddenly gets another wind decides to ride on ahead. Jim and I ride together, and Tom is spinning away at a slightly slower pace.
We regroup at Skyline. At this point I suggest a bail-out for those who don’t want to descend into Ben Lomond: turn right and return to Saratoga Gap and then home. Were I alone I would probably turn right and head home as I am feeling tired and cold. Warmer air would help. I wish all this fog would burn off!
We turn left and continue on the narrow part of Skyline Blvd. that passes many Christmas tree farms. At Bear Creek Road we turn left. The Sequoia 100k turns right here, and I suppose, those on the Nightmare course who don’t wish to complete the entire ride but who do want lunch can follow the 100k route from here.
At Summit Road we turn right and shortly after turn right on Upper Zayante Road. Zayante Road is a beautiful climb out of Felton, but I’ve rarely ridden down it. We pass a spread-out group of cyclists who look like they’re out for a training ride.
On the last decreasing-radius turn before Zayante reaches Fern Ridge Road and Zayante Creek, the pavement has a small dimple that causes me to straighten my wheel enough to send me over onto the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, no traffic is coming the other way. This is one place cyclists on the Sequoia will have to exercise caution.
We continue to the Zayante store and take a short break. The sun has just come out. After chatting with a teenager about biking and motorcycling (about which I know little), we continue to Quail Hollow Road. We climb Quail Hollow Road, pass the Quail Hollow Ranch, where a rest stop will be located, and descend swiftly into Ben Lomond. The descent down Quail Hollow Road is one that I’ve forgotten about. It’s very fast but a little bit scary because it’s on a wide curve. There are several driveways along the descent, too. We turn right on Glen Arbor and continue into Ben Lomond and stop at the market for a very leisurely lunch.
At 2:00p we realize we must begin riding again or we won’t get home at a reasonable hour. We’ve only ridden about half the course so far. I joke that if John Hughes were leading, we would have spent about half as long for lunch.
Jim has to be home at 16:30, so he leaves us by riding up CA-9 to CA-236 and then up China Grade and then back to CA-236, CA-9, and home.
The rest of us ride a short distance up SR9 and turn left on Alba Road. Alba is not a fun climb on a full tummy, but since we lunched slowly and napped for a while in the warm sun while our food digested, we do not experience any serious gastric upset. Nevertheless, when we all get to the top, Tom calls the climb “rude”.
Alba Road climbs 2050 feet in 3.8 miles. One could conceivably ride a century on Alba Road by climbing and descending it about 13 times, thus giving one nearly 27,000 feet of climbing.
Jeff reaches the top in about 45 minutes. I get there in 50, and Tom arrives in about 55. While we wait to regroup, Bruce Hildenbrand comes by. He has been on a somewhat tamer ride that day and is heading home on Jamison Creek Road and then via the same route Jim is planning to take. Apparently, Bruce knows someone who climbed Alba in 19 minutes, less than half my best time.
We continue south on Empire Grade and turn right on Pine Flat Road where we continue down the hill and stop again at the Bonny Doon School for a water refill. Just after I signal and turn left off Pine Flat Road into the school an impatient motorist whom I delay for a few seconds while turning left yells out his window at me and describes himself perfectly:
Jeff hasn’t brought a light so he decides to ride on ahead. Tom and I both have lights, so I don’t mind continuing at a more relaxed pace. We continue down Pine Flat Road to Smith Grade Road where we turn left. Smith Grade descends gradually at first and then more steeply into a narrow canyon. At the bottom of the descent I see Jeff up ahead, but rather than catch up to him, I pedal slowly and wait up for Tom.
Someone has built a new Mediterranean-style house in ubiquitous peach pastel colors at the site of the old Bald Mountain School at the top of the first upgrade. Tom catches up to me here and we continue down the second gradual downgrade.
Smith Grade ends with a short but steep upgrade ending at Empire Grade. We turn left and continue up Empire Grade past the quarry. While I wait up for Tom at Felton-Empire Grade I chat with an older fellow out riding a mountain bike. He started from his home in Felton and rode to Santa Cruz, then up the coast to Bonny Doon Road and then up to Bonny Doon. I had seen him earlier at the Bonny Doon School. He continued to Empire Grade via Ice Cream Grade. We exchange “war stories” about all the rude, impatient drivers on the road.
Ten minutes later Tom arrives having been delayed by an “imminent bonk” requiring him to stop and eat. After a few minutes’ wait, we head down Felton-Empire Grade.
Felton-Empire Grade is a fun descent. I had forgotten how much fun it is. There are a few places one must take care: bad pavement in the downhill lane near the top, gravel around a blind right-hand turn, and a couple sharp turns on steeper downgrades. We reach the bottom and continue across CA-9 onto Graham Hill Road and turn left onto Mt. Hermon Road.
Mt. Hermon Road is a busy and ugly expressway. It is with some regret that I route the long Sequoia courses on this segment, but Bean Creek and Mountain Charlie Roads are worth the brief unpleasantness on Mt. Hermon Road.
We stop at the McDonald’s to use the restroom then we go across the parking lot to the nearby Safeway. Tom must be tired because he accidentally buys a bottle of seltzer water. But his Camelbak seems to be able to handle the carbonation, and Tom seems to do well on it as he does not complain later about it.
Crossing Mt. Hermon Road we take Kings Village Road to Blue Bonnet Lane to Bean Creek Road. Bean Creek Road is a nice, shady one-lane road along Bean Creek on the other side of a low ridge from Scotts Valley. Bean Creek Road ends with a short, steep upgrade to Glenwood Highway.
We turn left on Glenwood Hwy and a short distance later left again on Mountain Charlie Road. We stop for a few minutes to snack before making the climb.
The climb up Mountain Charlie Road passes uneventfully. We turn left at Summit Road and begin the long trek northwest along the ridge.
At Summit Rd and Bear Creek Road I suddenly have a violent urge to eliminate. Knowing full-well that the nearest public toilet is more than 10 miles away, I grimace and continue pedaling, hoping that my system will settle down and that the excess liquid concentrated at the end of my digestive tract will be reabsorbed.
Unfortunately, the cramps worsen. Damn! What did I eat? Shortly after we turn right off Bear Creek Road and onto Skyline Blvd., I search desperately for a well-concealed glade. A minute later I tell Tom to go on ahead, that I have to attend to some unpleasant business.
“Have you got any TP?”, he asks.
“No.”, I reply wondering what I’ll use.
I used to carry TP on bike rides, but after years of always finding a public toilet within a comfortable riding distance, I gave up the practice.
I decide that the best way to assure privacy is to clamber partway down the embankment and squat, hoping that no one will see my lone bike in the turnout and look downhill for its owner. I aim the voluminous explosion downhill. Instead of TP I use leaves. I remember having been taught to do this long ago as a child. The key is knowing which leaves NOT to use. Yet, I think I will carry TP from now on, just in case...
Having finished, I feel much better. Tom has continued on to Black Road, and I ride faster to catch up.
At Black Road, we continue on the broader part of Skyline Blvd. We stop once to take a picture of a bright green peacock by the side of the road and again at the boulders just before Mt. Bielawski. Fog is rolling in waves through Big Basin and around Ben Lomond Mountain. The scene is particularly beautiful at sunset.
We turn on our lights and head down to Saratoga Gap. The official Nightmare course descends CA-9 into Saratoga, but we decide to continue to Page Mill Road.
Just past the Gap we enter fog. Riding in the fog on Skyline Blvd. at night is both frightening and peaceful. It’s almost as if we are floating in soup. The road is barely visible in front, but nothing can be seen to either side.
The few cars that drive past seem to see us, but I know how hard it can be to see anything from an automobile while driving in thick fog. When we get to Page Mill Road, a MROSD ranger warns us that visibility is very poor ahead. We assure him that we’re heading down Page Mill Road and out of the fog.
We finally leave the fog just above Shotgun Bend. We stop once more at a turnout on the steep downhill to enjoy the view of the city lights.
The rest of the ride passes uneventfully as we descend Page Mill Road and continue on the expressway. Tom turns off at Hanover, and I continue onto Oregon Expressway to Middlefield Road and home.
I am tired, but because I babied myself in my small chainring, I didn’t damage my body. If we had not taken so many long breaks I’m sure we could have finished the course in the anticipated 14 hours. Cyclists on the Sequoia will have to ride efficiently.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||11520 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||13.8 mph|
|Max. Speed:||38.0 mph|
Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Diablo in a Day, April 30, 1994 - Thomas Maslen and I started from my place in Palo Alto at 5:12. We rode south on Middlefield Road and Central Expressway at a moderate pace. We turned left onto Trimble Road and continued over to east San Jose. A long line of trucks headed for I-880 slowly passed us as we headed east.
We continued onto Montague Expressway and then right on Trade Zone Blvd. to N. Capitol Ave. We turned right and followed the Mt. Hamilton Challenge arrows to Penitencia Creek Road. I stopped along the way to water the bushes just as an old man walking his dog ambled into view.
We turned right on Toyon St., left on McKee, left on Alum Rock Ave., and right on Mt. Hamilton Road and began the long climb.
We expected to be passed soon by cyclists on the Mt. Hamilton Challenge ride that began at the Lockheed plant in Sunnyvale. I did not know what time the ride started: 6:00 or 6:30. If the former, then we would surely be passed by some of the faster cyclists on the way up the mountain.
As we climbed, I kept looking back to enjoy the view. We were rising up the hillside out of the fog, but to the north a thick white blanket lay low to the ground. I also looked for other cyclists pedaling fast up the hill but saw none.
The descent into Halls Valley was cold, but we soon warmed while climbing the second upgrade. Partway up we passed a nervous black steer trapped between us on our silent machines and a steep embankment.
At the top of the second upgrade, Thomas and I stopped for numbers: 1 for me and 2 for him. Thomas asked me to continue without him. As I climbed the third and longest upgrade alone I kept my eyes on the scenery. I was hoping to see more blooming flowers, but I only saw a few small but colorful patches of mixed lupine and poppies growing by the roadside.
I looked back every so often to check Thomas’s progress, but I could not see the road where it passed behind a hill or under trees. I also kept my eye open for tacks and other debris. Last year as a goodwill gesture, someone had thrown tacks out on the road near Kincaid Road.
I found no tacks nor did I see other cyclists until I was about 1/2 of the way up the final upgrade. I then saw two cyclists zipping down the second downgrade to Smith Creek.
As I neared the summit, I saw several cyclists pedaling quickly up the hill including one that looked like Thomas. Ahead of him were at least a couple other cyclists.
When I got to the summit, I stood and ate a snack at the benchmark and watched the road below. Cyclists were crawling like a trail of ants up the road.
About 6 or 7 minutes after I arrived, the first of the Challenge riders arrived. Thomas was next, and several more cyclists dribbled in over the next 45 minutes while we relaxed in the warm courtyard on the southeast side of the building.
Thomas and I both expected to meet up with John Hughes by the time we got to the top, but John had not arrived by the time we decided to press on down the backside of the mountain at 9:30. We did see Mike Wilson, a regular participant on John’s long-distance rides.
The ride down the steep backside of Mt. Hamilton was uneventful. At the bottom of the second downgrade we stopped and peeled off several layers of clothing. We continued through San Antonio Valley to the Junction Cafe without further delay. We saw few wildflowers on the way. Thomas saw a snake on the road, but my eyes were off in the fields.
Mike, the proprietor of the cafe, seemed less grumpy today than he did last month. [The Junction Café has since passed through several different proprietors.] We relaxed on the tables outside and chatted with a couple of older cyclists who were not on the official ride. They had started early in Milpitas and were riding the “minimum loop”. After about a half-hour of snacking and relaxing we continued on toward Livermore.
Part way up the first grade to Eylar Summit we passed a cyclist on the Challenge ride who told us he had ridden the Livermore/Patterson loop two weeks ago and that the flowers were blooming then. I guess I just missed them this year. Oh well.
At the top of Eylar Summit we stopped briefly to enjoy the silence of the land. Just before we started down the hill Karl Kneip came by.
We continued past the Arroyo Mocho rest stop for the Challenge ride.
A strong headwind began to pick up as we descended Mines Road.
Just past the rest stop we came upon a cyclist riding a little slower than we. I pulled up and drafted him as best I could. But he kept looking over his shoulder as if expecting a blow and seemed nervous with my following closely. I decided to pull back and give him room.
A few miles before the final descent into Livermore, a long line of cyclists led by a guy on aerobars approached from the rear. I wasn’t sure whether I felt like letting them pass and then tagging onto the end or whether I felt like staying ahead so I wouldn’t be trapped behind a tight bunch on the fast downhill soon to come.
After telling Thomas that maybe we could hook onto the approaching line, I decided to try and stay ahead. I pedaled a little harder. The lead rider must have been tired because no one tried to pass us until the start of the steep downhill where one guy pedaled madly to get by while I was in a tuck. At the first right-hand corner, I noticed him wobble a bit as he negotiated the gravel and tried to get his speed under control. He stayed up. Whew!
At the bottom of the hill, my legs felt great, but my gut was in side-stitches. Thomas and I plodded on at 16 mph to the Livermore Public Library where we stopped to eat lunch. We went across the street to Nob Hill Foods and bought deli sandwiches. I also bought a miniature peach pie and gave myself a Frank Award. Thomas exercised greater restraint.
We ate lunch on the lawn and napped lazily for about 20 minutes in the sun before we slowly got our things together, refilled our water bottles and began the second half of the ride. The time was 14:05.
We rode past the flag pole at the center of town and north on North Livermore Avenue. We continued out under I-580 and across the fields north of the town. The wind was blowing stiffly at such an angle so as not to affect our speed.
When we turned left on Manning Road we had to face the wind head-on. We continued on Manning to Carneal rather than taking Highland. We turned right on Carneal and continued to Highland Way and then we turned left. The rolling fields were beautiful green, but the wildflowers were few.
We turned right on Camino Tassajara and continued to Blackhawk Road. We turned right on Blackhawk Road and then right on South Gate Road and began the long climb up Mt. Diablo.
Halfway up the hot section a series of fire trucks, ambulances, and Sheriffs trucks all passed us with lights flashing, sirens blaring, and horns bellowing. Higher up the hill we could see a hovering helicopter. It must have been some accident. Since North Gate Road was closed, surely we’d find out what all the commotion was about. Strangely, we saw no evidence of an accident nor did we see the emergency vehicles again.
At the junction between North Gate and South Gate roads, Thomas decided not to tear apart his muscles any more. He offered to find a nice comfy spot to relax while I rode to the summit and back.
The ride up Summit Road was uneventful. I lapsed into my granny gear a few times when the grade went above 7% so I wouldn’t tire my muscles too much for the ride home.
At the summit I took a few obligatory pictures, ate a snack, and talked to a fellow who used to be into long-distance cycling. But I didn’t linger too long as Thomas was waiting down at the junction.
On the way down South Gate Road at the bottom of the only fun little drop, a couple mountain bikers waved us down. One of the bikers had a flat tire but his Zefal mini pump had busted. I told them I didn’t care much for the mini pumps but that I’d never had a problem with the full-size models.
We continued down South Gate Road and returned to Blackhawk where we stopped at a Pizza and Pasta restaurant at the Blackhawk Shopping Mall for a nice, big pasta dinner. Now you’re probably thinking, “Uh oh!” The danger of this, of course, was that we’d be too full and sleepy afterward to ride home comfortably. We took the risk.
The meal was good, and we spent a long time eating and resting afterward in the warm restaurant. At 20:00 we finally got moving again. Our next stop was a Safeway across the street so Thomas could get some batteries for his light.
The first leg of the most direct route home was on Crow Canyon Road, a road I’ll avoid riding at night in the future: narrow to non-existent shoulders, flesh-shredding guardrails, reflector “squares” placed along the white shoulder line, glass and debris that we were aware of only after we heard the tell-tale “Crunch!”, many spent flares that also went “Crunch!” and gave evidence of frequent accidents on this roadway, and motorists driving well in excess of the posted limit, swerving at times out of the lane ahead of us. Combine these hazards with an impending case of side-stitches, and you’ll see that this was not the most enjoyable segment of the trip for me.
Unfortunately, the next most convenient alternates are not much better:
Norris Canyon Road has a tougher climb and still requires one to ride a significant distance on Crow Canyon Road. The tight part of Niles Canyon Road is shorter but is still just as harrowing, and it increases the overall distance significantly. A ride on BART would’ve been more comfortable.
We continued through Castro Valley and Hayward. I missed the left turn for A Street, so we turned left on Mission and right on A. The neighborhood and roadway deteriorated somewhat as we got closer to the bay, but we managed without incident. We turned left on Hesperian Blvd. and pedaled south riding alternately and endlessly past apartments and strip malls. The first several miles of road had no shoulder, so we rode in the right lane.
Finally we crossed Alameda Creek and turned right on Paseo Padre. After stopping briefly at the Nature Center in Newark, we continued across the Dumbarton Bridge and home, arriving at 23:27 tired but unbroken.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5000 feet|
Primavera Century, April 17, 1994 - Stella Hackell, Sam Wilkie, Josh Zucker and I rode with some other friends on the Primavera Century that starts in Newark and makes a tour of the Livermore Valley and areas nearby. Based on the mileage it looks like we may have started and ended in Palo Alto.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6200 feet|
Santa Cruz, April 10, 1994 - Tom Lawrence, Stella Hackell, and I carpooled to CA17 and Summit Road. We started down Mtn. Charlie Road and made our way to Felton to meet Jude Katsch and Jennifer Zheng where we climbed Felton-Empire Road and did a circuit of Bonny Doon before heading down into Santa Cruz for lunch. After lunch Jude and Jennifer returned home while Tom, Stella, and I returned to the car on Branciforte, Old San Jose Road, and Skyline Ridge.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6150 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||11.2 mph|
|Max. Speed:||38.0 mph|
Santiago Peak (Old Saddleback), April 3, 1994 - I wanted to start riding at the crack of dawn, but Chris wanted to sleep heavily until 0900. We compromised and agreed to leave home at 0730.
At 0850 we finally hauled ourselves out the door and onto the road. We started from Chris’s townhouse in the University Towne Center and rode northeast on Harvard Ave. under very thick low clouds. The air was cool, and a few drops of drizzle hit our faces.
We turned left on Walnut and right on Jamboree and continued toward the mountains. After crossing under I-5, Jamboree begins a slow, gradual incline, passing the Tustin Ranch development just before it begins climbing a steeper and longer hill. Many bicyclists out for an Easter morning ride passed by in the other direction.
Soon we reached Santiago Canyon Road. We turned right and began the climb to the fire station at the top of the hill. After coasting down the other side we stopped at Lake Irvine for a rest and a snack.
After our snack we continued on Santiago Canyon Road and turned left onto Silverado Canyon Road. An Easter breakfast was being served at the Cleveland National Forest Ranger Station, but once we passed the event, traffic thinned. We stopped at the fire station to top off our water supplies and then at the store so Chris could get a Milky Way Ice Cream Bar and other goodies.
We continued up to the gate marking the end of the road open to motor vehicles. The small parking area was full of cars, and families were picnicking by the creek at the first ford.
The climb to Santiago Peak from the west involves climbing the Maple Spring Truck Trail, the continuation of Silverado Canyon Road, to the very rough Main Divide Truck Trail that traverses the backbone of the Santiago Mountains. The first 2950 feet of the climb are on a paved surface with several fords crossing Silverado Creek, some of which require us to dismount. At the last ford the road becomes dirt and continues up several long switchbacks for another 1600 feet to the ridge.
We were lucky that the sky was foggy until we reached the gate at the end of the open road. Even though the climb was sunny, the air was cool. The air temperature stayed constant as we climbed. Several times Chris demanded that we stop. Usually I would get ahead and then stop every half-mile to a mile for him to catch up.
Maple Springs Truck Trail climbs at a fairly constant grade, but even so Chris complained about not being able to keep traction. He complained several times that he had bitten off more than he could chew, but somehow I managed to coax him along.
At one extended stop at Bigcone Spring we talked with a cyclist on a mountain bike. I asked him about the Holy Jim Trail as I had thought that might be a fun way to descend to Live Oak Canyon Road from the peak. He hadn’t ridden it, but he did suggest another route that climbed from I-15 south of Corona.
As we neared the top of Maple Spring Truck Trail we were passed by two fast joggers and a dog. At the Main Ridge Truck Trail we met up again with the guy on the mountain bike. He had just ridden up to the spur between Modjeska Peak and Santiago Peak. He warned us that the road was very rough and then expressed surprise when he saw we were both riding slick tires.
Chris and I continued right on the ridge road and climbed toward the spur. About a half-mile from the fork the road became steeper and very rocky. We both walked up this part, but halfway up at about 4650 feet above sea level Chris decided he’d had enough. He didn’t think he’d make it to the peak and then home before dark. I reminded him that I had wanted to start an hour and a half earlier. He wanted water but was unhappy when I gave him only 1/2 of a bottle. We decided to meet back at the store or at the fire station down in Silverado.
I continued up to the spur and then on a slightly downhill section losing about 100 feet before making the final effort to the summit of Santiago Peak, 5687 feet above sea level, and about 5630 feet higher than Chris’s townhouse.
If one can stand clear of the forest of antennas at the summit, the view from Santiago Peak is magnificent. The entire LA basin was fogged in. I could almost imagine that I was far from uncivilization. To the north I could see snow-capped Mt. Baldy, San Antonio Mountain, and San Gorgonio Mountain, to the east, Mt. San Jacinto, and to the south and west as far as I could see: fog.
After eating some food—boy, was I hungry—and snapping a picture of the benchmark, I began the long, bumpy downhill. I had about 10 ounces of water, and there would be no more until I reached the bottom.
Fingers of fog blown on the wind arched over the road in several places. I could almost imagine I was standing on the cliffs over the San Mateo County coastline.
I rode down the rocky section I could not ascend earlier. Somehow riding downhill over bad terrain is easier than riding uphill. When I get going fast enough it seems to be easier to keep going and to stay upright even while the large stones breaking loose send my tires skittering sideways. Several sections of road reminded me of the rocky and sandy trail leading to the top of White Mountain Peak I climbed last August.
Partway down Maple Springs Truck Trail, I asked a cyclist if he had seen a substantial cyclist wearing purple and riding a bike that looked like mine. He had and added he was 10 minutes ahead of me. Ten minutes! Chris must have waited for a while before returning downhill.
Further down the road I asked a jogger the same question. She told me he was 5 minutes ahead. O.K. I was catching up.
I caught up to Chris on the paved section just before the bad washout at 2620 feet elevation. He had planted himself squarely in the middle of the road and was fixing a flat.
The first thing he wanted was water. I gave him half of what I carried.
“I had an adventure.”, Chris said.
“Yeah. I was wondering why you weren’t further ahead of me. Did you wait or have mechanical trouble?”, I asked.
“No. But I missed the left turn onto the road we came up [Maple Springs]. I ended up going 1.5 miles beyond the turn. I didn’t remember we had turned right on the Main Ridge Trail. It was only when that road started climbing that I knew I had made a wrong turn. Just then a jeep came by. When I asked the people how to get down, they directed me back. ‘About three miles’, they said. Well it turns out it was only 1.5 miles, but still, I didn’t have any water, and I was beginning to get a little panicked, thinking that you’d be ahead of me.”
After Chris patched the flat we continued down the road. Not more than a mile later the tire went flat again. This time he replaced the tube. When we reached the store, it was closed. We continued to the fire station and filled up our water bottles.
The store further down the road was open, so we stopped. Chris went in and returned with a fist full of sweets.
After resting and munching for 15 minutes we continued down Silverado Road and then retraced our path on Santiago Canyon Road, Jamboree, Walnut, and Harvard, arriving at Chris’s house just after 1900.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||6890 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||14.4 mph|
|Max. Speed:||37.5 mph|
Mount Hamilton Clockwise, March 26, 1994 - When I looked out the window at 5:15 and saw no one waiting to go, I wondered whether anyone would bother showing up for an early-morning start on a clockwise ride around the Mt. Hamilton Loop. At 0520 our rude doorbell rang long and loud. When I went to the door Richard was ready to go. After checking over his bike and pumping up the tires, we set off from my place in Palo Alto.
Our route took us past the Palo Alto Cultural Center where I had told others I’d meet them if they had felt inclined to join me at the last minute. No one waited in the dark parking lot. We continued up Newell, on the old bridge over San Francisquito Creek, and left on Woodland Ave., probably the bumpiest paved road on this side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. (The bumpiest paved road on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the lower part of Last Chance Road.)
After turning right onto University we cruised quickly and quietly through the silent streets of East Palo Alto. The pavement on University Avenue was still broken and rough in spots, but the street was quiet. There were no people loitering in front of the bar near University and Bay, and the streets seemed unusually clean.
At Bayfront Expressway we turned right onto the bike path and cruised up to the apex of the Dumbarton Bridge. We stopped to enjoy the sunrise through a thick layer of fog. We were supposed to enjoy sunrise from a bay area “peak”. As I dismounted I noticed that my rear tire bounced. I felt it. Soft. Drat! This is the first time I’ve had a flat on the bridge, and I suppose it won’t be the last.
It didn’t take long to find the sharp piece of glass that had lodged itself in my rear tire. We continued quickly down the eastern flank of the bridge and then at a moderate pace along the levee.
We rode down Thornton to Fremont Blvd. then to Peralta. Just after we passed under the BART overpass, I felt my front tire go flat. This was not an auspicious start to a long ride. This time the culprit was a goathead thorn.
We continued on Mowry to Mission Blvd. and then to Niles Canyon Road and through Niles Canyon. Our urban route is usually unpleasant later in the afternoon, but at this early hour, the streets were mostly empty, and motorists were polite, even the drivers of pickup-trucks hauling motorboats.
At the mouth of the Niles Canyon we got behind a fast cyclist who looked to be out for a serious ride. I attempted to get a draft, but I usually find this difficult to do without going down onto the drops, especially when the lead cyclist is on aerobars as this cyclist was.
I must also admit that my desire to draft was partly motivated by my curiosity. Was the cyclist male or female? Perhaps we should call this the Pat Syndrome. The 21 mph pace up the canyon was anything but leisurely. That would tend to indicate that the cyclist was male, since men are on the average faster than women. Yet this cyclist’s hips were wide, and the musculature of the legs looked more like what I’ve seen on strong women cyclists. The upper body was barrel-chested and compact and the hair was short. That would tend to indicate a male. The brisk pace precluded any sort of conversation, and besides, I somehow wanted to prolong the mystery. I looked into my rearview mirror and noticed that Richard was lagging behind. Just before I fell back to let Richard catch up, I noticed a bump in the middle of the cyclist’s back that looked suspiciously like a bra clasp.
Having been dropped by our hermaphroditic cyclist, we continued at a slower pace through Sunol and onto Foothill Blvd. Several large groups of women were riding the other direction. I later learned that we had found ourselves in the midst of the “Cinderella Classic”, a women-only organized century ride.
We turned right on Castlewood Road and then left on Pleasanton-Sunol Road. As we rode through Pleasanton, we saw many women cycling, more than I’ve seen concentrated in one place in a long time.
At a light I said, “Hello.” as innocently as I could to one of the women. She looked away as if I wasn’t there and did not answer. Perhaps she thought that if she replied my next utterance would be a proposition for hot, steamy sex.
We continued onto Stanley Blvd. I had originally planned to take Vineyard Road to Livermore, but a recent discussion in one of the rec.bicycling newsgroups made me curious to try the bike path alongside Stanley Blvd. We started on the path, but it soon degenerated into the most glass-strewn sidewalk I’ve ever ridden on, even worse than the Dumbarton Bridge. To add injury to insult, utility poles were planted squarely at inconvenient intervals in the westbound “lane” of the path. We got off the pathway and continued on the ample and cleaner shoulder of the road.
At the railroad tracks I unwisely continued at my cruising pace. The rails cross at an oblique angle to the road, and the asphalt has heaved alarmingly on either side and has left a large gap at the rail. Normally I could have handled this, but I had forgotten that I did not nor could I get more than about 120 psi into my rear tire after using my hand pump on the bridge after my flat. (I normally put 140psi in my rear tire, and bunnyhopping my 45+ lbs of rear-heavy bike is extremely difficult.) I heard and felt the rear tire hit the metal rail hard. It surely bottomed out.
When we got to Livermore I checked the wheel. It was distinctly out of true, and the nice, even spoke tension I had finally achieved all around was shot to hell. Still the wheel was rideable, so we did not quit the ride.
Richard did not bring any real food with him, so we stopped at a deli where he picked up a croissant and a bagel. We both refilled our water bottles and prepared for the long climb up Mines Road ahead.
At 0815 we headed south on S. Livermore Ave., past vineyards and turned right on Mines Road. Traffic was light, and most of it was headed to Del Valle Park.
The first mile or so of climbing on Mines Road is steep, but soon the grade lessens and the climb becomes easier. We rode easily up the hill with the aid of a slight tailwind. I stopped once to water the plants, but we both did not take an extended break until we crested Eylar Ridge some 2300 feet higher and 26 miles from downtown Livermore.
While we ate our snacks we heard the sound of a helicopter approaching in the distance. Soon an evil-looking black military helicopter slowly hovered into view. Richard said it was a “Huey”. It flew past us slowly from north to south then curved westward and then to the north behind Mesa Ridge. Then with little warning it rose up from behind a nearby bluff to the northwest and made a mock-dive toward us, thundering past not more than 200 feet overhead, close enough for us to see clearly the bristling weaponry mounted on each side of the cockpit. I didn’t quite have the nerve to take a picture of it. I suppose we in our bicycling attire stood out like bullseyes in the monotonous landscape.
We continued on to The Junction, arriving at Mike’s Junction Cafe at about 11:10. I haven’t quite figured out what makes Mike, the proprietor, tick. Everytime I walk into the dimly-lit cafe he gives me a hard stare as if he’s just seen a madman. Maybe he thinks all bicyclists are nuts for riding out to his part of the world. Maybe it’s just his personality.
I asked Mike if the water from the hose outside the fire station was safe to drink, in case I happened by some time when his cafe was closed. He seemed insulted.
“Why don’t you ask them? We all drink the water around here. It comes from the same place. Though, there are a lot of cattle around here,” he added with a laugh.
Richard thought Mike was rude. I decided to buy a six-pack of 7-Up and sell two cans to Richard.
As I handed over the money to pay for the drinks, Mike said, “You realize you can’t drink this on the premises. The six-pack is to go.”
I shrugged my shoulders and put the drinks in my bike pack. It seemed odd that he didn’t mind if we drank water from our bottles, but didn’t want us drinking something we bought at his store! Maybe he just wanted me to carry it on my bike.
Richard went back in and bought himself a serving of french fries.
A few minutes later John Hughes, Rick Anderson, Mike Topper, and Kim Freitas arrived at the Junction. They had ridden up the west side of Mt. Hamilton earlier in the morning and were doing a similar loop in the other direction.
When we go in to fill up our water bottles, Mike offers to fill them up under his tap.
“What would you guys do if I weren’t here?”, he asks teasingly.
“You’d be in deep trouble, wouldn’t you.”
A few minutes later several other long-distance cyclists came by: Seanna Hogan, Jim DeCaro, Wyatt Woods, and Shawn and Antoinette Addison.
Twenty minutes after they arrived, John and his company headed out toward Livermore. Richard and I lingered for another 15 minutes before heading south into San Antonio Valley.
One of the reasons I had planned to do this loop this weekend was because I thought I’d hit the wildflowers at their peak. We were disappointed when we saw very little color in the not-so-lush green meadows. It’s been a rather dry winter. Perhaps one or two weeks from now should see the foliage at its peak, but it won’t be as spectacular as it was last year.
We continued without stopping through Upper San Antonio Valley and up over the China Grade Summit to Arroyo Bayo. Not far down the other side, I stopped with a side-stitch. Richard continued on saying he’d probably stop and rest a little later.
The night before I had eaten something that my digestive system did not take a liking to. Early in the morning it notified me of its displeasure in no uncertain terms, and it continued to give me grief as the day wore on. The more worrisome side-effect was that I didn’t absorb the Calories from dinner the night before, and I was starting to feel weak. Fortunately, I have accumulated a small pouch of fat that keeps me from disappearing, but I still needed carbohydrates to proceed comfortably.
After a short break I resumed riding. A took another short break at the top of the ridge separating Arroyo Bayo and Isabel Creek. While I stopped, a large group of cyclists came up from Isabel Creek. They had obviously come from the top of Mt. Hamilton and were traveling in the opposite direction.
Richard was waiting at the turnout on the far side of the bridge over Isabel Creek. I stopped for a minute to move water into my drinking bottles. Then we began the long climb: 4.5 miles and 2050 feet.
We were lucky. The air was cool, yet I sweated profusely. About 1/3 of the way up, Richard dropped his water bottle and stopped to pick it up. I continued slowly hoping he’d catch up, but he was riding very slowly. I managed the climb in my 46x30, and Richard’s lowest gear was 42x23, a rather high gear for this climb.
I had set a goal for myself of riding the entire climb without pause in my 41” gear from the bottom to the top, so I continued on and hoped Richard would make it to the top. I passed the spring just before milemark “3” and just before the top passed a truck screaming downhill towing a tractor trailer. They guy must’ve been nuts to take a big truck down this hill. By the time I reached the top 43:30 later, my back was killing me (Time to start doing stomach crunches again.), and my digestive system decided it was time to clear inventory and must have sensed I was about to make a sale. I proceeded posthaste to the observatory building at the summit and made my way to the single porcelain throne—fortunately vacant—and commenced business.
About 15 minutes after I had arrived, Richard rode up. I apologized for riding on ahead, but I told him I would have ridden back down to look for him if he hadn’t showed up after a while. We enjoyed the hazy view of San Jose from the benchmark at the summit. I was hoping to meet Gardner Cohen at the top as he said he would probably ride up the west side and meet us. After looking down the winding road below I saw a pair of cyclists, but neither of them looked like Gardner.
We stayed at the top for about an hour and a half until 15:30 and the threat of getting caught in the dark pressed us on.
The descent down the west side is much more gradual, but it’s no less twisty. To make matters worse, sand had been dumped on the road to increase automobile traction in the light snowfall that landed on the mountain the day before. Of course, sand on a dry road doesn’t help bicycles at all.
I waited up for Richard at the summit on the far side of Smith Creek and again on the minor upgrade just past Quimby Road. We descended Crothers Road to Alum Rock Ave. and Penitencia Creek Road. I stopped at a restroom again.
We continued to Piedmont, turned right and proceeded to Cropley. We turned left and continued down the gradual hill through suburb hell where I was nearly the victim of a “left-hook” maneuver by an impatient, testosterone-crazed teenage driver.
We continued on Trade Zone Blvd., Montague Expressway, Trimble Road, Central Expressway, and Middlefield Road arriving home just past 1800.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||7900 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||16.0 mph|
|Max. Speed:||50.0 mph|
Marin County, February 5, 1994 - I joined John Hughes and company for a moderately fast and steady ride through Marin County, California. The club newsletter listed the distance as 150+ miles, and I figured I’d probably be unhappy if I rode that far. So I start by riding to the Menlo Park Caltrain station and take the train to San Francisco. I live in Palo Alto, but I save 50 cents and get a couple miles more exercise by catching the train in Menlo Park. What a cheapskate!
After catching up on my sleep on the train, I arrive in San Francisco shortly before 0800. I told John I’d be at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge around 0830, and maybe a little later. My route takes me down Townsend to The Embarcadero and then along the waterfront to North Point. I turn left on North Point and continue up over the hill and past Fort Mason and onto Marina Blvd. I continue straight through The Presidio and onto the path that leads to Fort Point and then up the short hill to the tourist parking at the south end of the Bridge.
John’s group is waiting along with some other cyclists not affiliated with his ride. Altogether we are 8 cyclists: John, I, Jim Haughey, Rick Adolph, Rick Anderson, Jeff Bell, Loren Gottschalk, and Mike Wilson.
A few minutes after I arrive we start off toward the Bridge, momentarily interrupting a group of Japanese tourists standing in front of Joseph Strauss’s statue for a picture.
We continue across the bridge and down into Sausalito. Without stopping we ride the bike path beside Richardson Bay, turn left on Blithedale Ave. and right onto Camino Alto. We climb up the short hill and descend into Corte Madera. On the descent a deer jumps across the road right in front of John, who is leading.
Upon comparing cyclometers with Jim, I note that I have ridden 25 miles and 1400 feet of climbing less than the rest of the group who had started at Canada Road and CA-92.
After a brief potty break, we continue on the tedious bike route through Kentfield, Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax. The route must have about 50 stop signs; some of them are three-way stops at alleyways! It’s no wonder cyclists blow them off. The bike route is scenic and is probably a better way for cyclists traveling at a sightseeing pace, but a group traveling our speed rightfully could have asserted ourselves on the busier but more consistent Sir Francis Drake Blvd. a quarter mile to our right.
Beyond Fairfax we continue on Olema Road and join Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at the start of a short climb to the pass at White’s Hill, separating Fairfax from San Geronimo Valley. The descent into San Geronimo Valley is gradual, and the road has a nice, wide, clean shoulder.
We turn right on Nicasio Valley Road and head north. The hills in central and northern Marin County are like large grass-covered mounds, nearly treeless. While winter rains have encouraged a new generation of green grass, the hills are still mostly gray-brown with the dead stalks of last year’s growth.
We continue past the few buildings that mark the town of Nicasio and turn right onto Pt. Reyes - Petaluma Road. After another short climb we descend to the Marin Cheese Factory for a rest. No one eats any cheese, though John mentions that he sometimes buys a pound and carries it some 100 miles home for his wife.
We ride north on Pt. Reyes - Petaluma Road and turn left on Hicks Valley Road. After a brief descent past an old schoolhouse and a short climb over a low ridge, we descend to Marshall - Petaluma Road and turn left. With a strong tailwind we ride swiftly west toward the coast. Only a few motorists pass us on this 11-mile stretch. Marshall - Petaluma Road ends by climbing a moderately steep hill and descending furiously to the coast. I register a maximum speed of 50.0 mph, aided, no doubt, by the tailwind.
By the time we reach Marshall we are split into two groups: Jim, Loren, and the two Ricks are ahead, and I, Jeff, and John are behind. Shortly after we begin heading south on CA-1 we come upon a recent head-on collision in front of a small group of stores. Several people are on the road coming to the aid of the motorists. We learn later that the lead group of cyclists heard the accident happen just behind them. We proceed cautiously without stopping. Some ten minutes later we hear sirens as sheriff, ambulance, fire, and highway patrol vehicles pass on their way to the scene. We continue riding, now into a headwind, and in a gloomier mood.
As we near Pt. Reyes Station, dark, threatening clouds begin to roll over, and we are struck by a few spits of rain. I joke to John that every ride I’ve ridden with him recently has either been visited by rain or mild but relentless headwinds. Perhaps we’ll be lucky and get both today.
At Pt. Reyes Station we enjoy our only extended break of the day for lunch. I have a few minutes to snap some pictures of the main street through town and of our group gathered for lunch behind a local deli. The time is shortly after noon. At around 1300 we resume riding south on CA-1 along the San Andreas Fault line. We continue through the town of Olema and south on the rolling, but gradually climbing road. Several miles later we are treated to a swift, curvy descent to Bolinas Lagoon. We continue along the water past the Audubon Canyon Ranch and through Stinson Beach.
We turn left on the Panoramic Highway and begin the only long climb of the day up into Mt. Tamalpais State Park. The sky is becoming darker and ever more threatening, but the anticipated rain has yet to arrive. This is good.
We regroup at the top of the climb where the Panoramic Highway intersects Pan Toll Road. While we wait for everyone, two women riding Bike Friday’s come riding up from the east. They’re headed down to Stinson Beach to catch a bus whence they came. John jokes that he might consider taking a bus if it were to take him all the way home to Portola Valley.
We start down the east side of the Panoramic Highway toward Mill Valley. Shortly after we begin the descent a Golden Gate Transit bus chugs up the hill. The destination sign, most likely in error, reads, “Stanford Stadium”. We continue down into and through Mill Valley before rejoining the bike path by Richardson Bay and returning to the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge where we take a short break.
It is here that I decide to ride home with the group. I figure if I ride all the way home, I should ride as many miles as those who started at Canada Road and CA-92 in the morning, but I will still be down about 1300 feet or so of climbing.
We continue down Lincoln Blvd. and take Camino Del Mar past all the expensive San Francisco homes and past the Palace of the Legion of Honor. We ride down Pt. Lobos Road and down the Great Highway on the generous shoulder ignoring the ill-timed traffic lights at crosswalks spaced about a half-mile apart.
We leave San Francisco on Skyline Blvd. and continue south through Daly City, San Bruno, Millbrae, and Hillsborough along the San Andreas Fault line. Maybe this ride should have been called the “San Andreas Fault” ride. We arrive at Canada Road and CA-92 at 1730, less than eleven hours after the starting group began.
After saying goodbye to the others in our group John and I continue riding south on Canada Road, In Woodside, John heads home to Portola Valley, and I take Manzanita and Sand Hill Roads. back to Palo Alto, arriving home just after 1830, tired and a little bit sore. The last time I rode as far was last August when I did my first solo ride over 200 miles. Today’s ride was good, but I would like to spend more time in northern Marin County sometime.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5060 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||14.3 mph|
|Max. Speed:||33.5 mph|
Mount Diablo Sunrise, January 30, 1994 - Co-conspirators Gardner Cohen, Paul Liu, Stella Hackell, Rich Feldman, and Pete Petroski and I slip out of the cold Lucky supermarket parking lot at the Green Valley Shopping Center at 0450 on our way to the summit of Mt. Diablo. The temperature is 32F, and the air is damp with clinging valley fog.
We are passed several times by expensive cars as we climb the moderate grade of Diablo Road toward Blackhawk. What are these people doing up at such an early hour? The unspoken answer is “heading home from parties or bars...” We turn left at South Gate Road and descend briefly through a residential neighborhood before starting the climb. Just after we pass from the trees, we come upon a locked gate. I explain to everyone present that we are technically breaking the rules by proceeding up into the state park, which is closed until 0800, well after sunrise.
After dousing our headlamps, we all continue. The air seems almost warm (43F) as we climb the exposed hillside under a very bright moon. Riding toward the rear I look up the road to see a series of small bright red blinking taillights of the lead members in our group rounding the next hairpin turn.
A couple of miles later we approach the entrance station. The little guard hut is lit up, but no one is present. The ranger’s residence is dark and quiet. We continue past very quietly. As I think of Sam and Frodo passing under the eyes of the Watchers as they cross into the land of Mordor, I half expect a klaxon to sound as I pass by the hut. But everything remains quiet.
We ride out of range of the lights and continue up the road, darker now with tall trees on either side. We regroup a half-mile from the entrance station. We must still ride quietly as there may be campers sleeping in the campgrounds ahead.
As we near the Junction, a slight breeze picks up. I startle thinking that a car is up ahead on the road. Then I realize it’s just the wind. I wait up for Rich who decides to stop for a bite to eat. It’s a little after 0600, and the blackness of the eastern sky is just beginning to show a tinge of dark blue. Rich tells me to ride ahead.
An owl hoots from a nearby power pole. I can see it in the moonlight. I’m tempted to try for a picture, but then I realize my camera has only a wide-angle lens, and the owl, barely within flash range, would be nothing but a speck on the negative.
I continue climbing alone. Just as I begin to get hungry and reach for a Powerbar, the grade steepens. A strong gust of wind sends a large tumbleweed chasing after me. I startle, thinking at first that some nocturnal creature has given chase. “Are there wild pigs in the park?”, I wonder.
The climb up the last switchback to the east above the Juniper Campground is into a strong gusty wind. The eastern sky is orange, and I can make out a good 200 miles’ worth of the Sierra Crest some 100 to 200 miles away. The San Joaquin Valley lies quiet, blanketed with a dense layer of fog, like a layer of soapy froth coating a recently drained bathtub.
I stop at the Devil’s Elbow switchback to make a parabola. The treacherous wind blows from several different directions, requiring me to stop my flow several times (How tight is your string?) and perform a demonic dance as I turn first one way and then another in a partially successful attempt to remain upwind of the exiting liquid.
I manage to stay in my middle ring (46x30) as I climb the final 200 yards to the summit parking lot. Gardner, Paul, and Stella have taken shelter in an alcove of the observation building. The time is 6:47.
We climb the stairway and take refuge in the indoor observation platform while we wait for Rich. Even through the scratched and dirty windows the view from the top of the mountain is incredible. The air to the east and south is clearest, while to the north and west the air is turbid.
We remain at the summit for over an hour as we enjoy the sunrise, take many pictures and marvel at the view. The stingy coin-operated telescopes give only a minute or two of viewing time for 25 cents. As the sun rises the mountain casts its distinctive shadow against the haze to the northwest.
For the descent we put on all our clothes. Gardner and I are prepared for the worst. Despite our layers of clothing we are chilled to the bone by the time we reach the entrance station at the bottom of North Gate Road. A finger of thick valley fog has sneaked into Walnut Creek, and our trip into town along Ygnacio Valley Road is not fun.
We plan to stop for breakfast somewhere. I have resolved not to stop at Denny’s and prefer not to dine at a greasy spoon specializing in spam, eggs and spam. No sooner do we begin passing restaurants when the first one is Denny’s. Gardner calls out, but I ignore him. Will we stop at the McDonald’s? Certainly not! We continue to Main Street and turn left. We pass a Sizzler. I hear some grumbling as we continue past. We pass a Lyon’s, and the grumbling becomes an outright protest. With a sigh I give in and lead the group back to Lyon’s for a heavy breakfast to match the weighty discussion of where to ride afterward.
Eyebrows raise and eyeballs roll as we enter the restaurant. Only if my gray sweatpants were emblazoned with “Contra Costa County Jail” would I feel more out of place. The restaurant is filled with mostly graying retirees, many dressed in their Sunday best. The manager asks us if we are starting out for a ride. When I tell her we have just come from the top of Mt. Diablo and had started at 0430, she is speechless. Though she is dressed more formally then the other restaurant help and wears bright red, inch-long manicured fingernails, she tends personally to our table several times during the meal.
I order the stack of four pancakes and a side order of hash browns. Since I am hungry, the food tastes good, and I eat it all even though the pancakes are spongy and gluey and the hash browns are soaked in oil and salt. We all get Frank awards.
During breakfast we decide that all of us will ride back to the cars at Danville. Gardner and I had originally planned to ride Marsh Creek Road and Vasco Road to Livermore, but when we saw how thick and damp the fog was on Ygnacio Valley Road we decide to find a more pleasant route through the Livermore Valley that avoids any major climbs.
After breakfast we take Danville Blvd. back to Danville. We ride quietly and at a moderate pace, allowing our digestive systems time to assimilate the Calories.
When we get to Danville the fog has lifted. Pete has driven himself from Foster City and elects to return home. Paul and Rich elect to drive Gardner’s car back to my house, and Gardner, Stella, and I decide to continue on an extended tour through the Livermore Valley before riding back to Palo Alto across the Dumbarton Bridge.
After a brief episode of deja vu along Diablo Road we turn right on Camino Tassajara and continue through Blackhawk and onto Highland Way. We continue to Manning Road, North Livermore Ave, Mayschool Road, and others that pass through the northeastern part of the valley. At Vasco Road we head south, cross I-580, and turn right on South Front Road. We continue on 1st Street through downtown Livermore and stop at the Togo’s on Railroad Ave. At Gardner’s recommendation, next time we’ll try Hilda’s Deli a little further down the road.
After lunch we continue on Stanley Blvd. reaching 30 mph due to the slight downward slope of the road and the strong tailwinds blowing from the Central Valley. Stanley Blvd. is fun to ride under such conditions. The only downside is riding over the set of obliquely crossing railroad tracks halfway from Livermore to Pleasanton. The railroad crossing on Stanley Ave. has since been refurbished and is now bicycle safe. Still, care must be taken when crossing the tracks as they run obliquely to the road.
From Pleasanton we continue on Foothill Blvd. to Sunol and begin the narrow descent through Niles Canyon. Halfway down the canyon we are treated to the sight of a long freight train emerging from Tunnel 1 on the UP rails. Other than the tourist train running on the old SP right-of-way, this is the first time I’ve seen a big train running through the canyon.
At the Union City end of the canyon we move to the Alameda Creek Trail. We stop at a picnic table conveniently placed next to two outhouses. While we relax we see two BART trains pass over Alameda Creek, another freight train head toward Niles Canyon on the UP rails, and an Amtrak train, probably the Capitol, head south on the SP rails. Later I learned that a UP freight had derailed three hours later on the bridge over Alameda Creek and had spilled flaming phosphorous and sulphuric acid into the water. What a day for trains!
We continue on the Creek trail and exit at Ardenwood Road. We ride down Paseo Padre and then take our last break at the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge Center in the Coyote Hills overlooking the bay. We end our adventure by riding over the Broken Glass Bridge (Dumbarton) and through east Menlo Park.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||5630 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||12.3 mph|
|Max. Speed:||47.0 mph|
Half Sequoia 200k, January 15, 1994 - Hildy Licht, Sequoia 1994 Committee co-conspirator, and I rode the most distant half of the planned Sequoia 1994 200k route. No one else showed up, but we had a great time nonetheless.
We started at Summit and CA-17, rode southeast on Summit Road past the Store and onto Highland Way. At the second big slide, a new slide has covered the old bulldozed path. We got around this one with some assistance. A big tree had fallen and blocked the way, but we managed to clamber over. This will be a problem for the Sequoia if the slide is not fixed by June. The only real obstacle is the large fallen tree covering the path. Perhaps the trunk could be cut to allow easy passage. Shortly after the slide Hildy’s front tire became flat. So we delayed another 25 minutes while Hildy and I squabbled over the task of patching it.
We continued down Eureka Canyon Road to Corralitos and then through the backroads to Aptos. After deciding to locate the rest stop at Cabrillo College instead of Aptos Creek Park, Hildy decided to ride directly to lunch and I continued on the planned 200k route up Rodeo Gulch and down Branciforte. Hildy likes to ride leisurely, so up to now we had not been riding fast. I rode quickly up Rodeo Gulch and then down Branciforte, being passed on Rodeo Gulch by a guy out for a short training ride. I caught up to him on the rolling descent down Branciforte, and he promptly tucked in behind me. It was my one chance on the ride to “let the testosterone flow”, so to speak. It wouldn’t be polite to behave like this while riding with Hildy. I arrived at the lunch stop, Guaranga’s, an Indian/Krishna restaurant (all vegetarian), 44 minutes after I had told Hildy I’d meet her there in 45 minutes.
The buffet lunch ($6 for all you can eat) was great. The food isn’t spicy, so it’s perfect bicycling food. We both ate mounds of rice, pasta, and toppings. I avoided the salad because raw veggies give me side stitches if I exercise after eating them. There’s a bike rack and even a table out front. Guaranga’s will be a regular lunching spot for me in Santa Cruz from now on. Unfortunately, Guaranga’s went out of business sometime in 1995 or 1996.
The return trip took us up along CA-17 on the frontage road and through the Pasatiempo golf course/development. The road passes by some of the most expensive houses in Santa Cruz and is open to travel, though it’s private. Little gates, guard-houses, fences, speed bumps and “No Trespassing” signs discourage visits by “riff-raff” (namely, us). Even the drinking fountains at the large and very green golf course are separated from the road by little rope barricades and signs warning that only members are allowed to drink therefrom. I doubt the century will go through this way, though I plan to take it again on my own rides.
At Sims we turned left and then right on Graham Hill Road and then left again and rode through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on the paved Pipeline Road. This road will be on the century. At the beginning there are a couple steep ups and downs, but after that it gets much more gradual. This one-lane road through towering redwoods is another beautiful section on the century route.
We passed through to Felton and then took busy Mt. Hermon Road, where Hildy got her second flat, which I fixed this time,. In Scotts Valley we found ourselves on Bean Creek Road, which we rode up to Glenwood Hwy and then took Mtn. Charlie Road back up to Summit Road, arriving back at the car shortly after 1800, and in the dark. I encouraged Hildy to draft me earlier, but she said she was having too much fun looking around and didn’t want to stare at my rear tire the whole time.
Ben Lomond Ridge set against the deep fiery orange sunset made for a picturesque and peaceful twilight scene, but Hildy’s enjoyment was reduced somewhat by her worrying that her husband was worrying about her. I had brought a light with me, and near the top of Mtn. Charlie it was the only light we had.
The car to car ride was 67.0 miles w/5370 feet of climbing, not including the 16.4 miles round-trip between my house and Hildy’s.
Martin Luther King Weekend Rides, January 1994 - Three photos from three different rides I did on each of the three days of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||2990 feet|
|Avg. Speed (moving):||17.4 mph|
|Max. Speed:||46.0 mph|
Brunch in Blackhawk, January 8, 1994 - At 0800 I met Jim Haughey, Eric House, John Hughes, Rob Satterthwaite, and Sam Wilkie at the Menlo Park Recreation Center for John’s ride to Blackhawk, a fairly new development east of Danville.
At about 0810 we started off down Laurel and then northeast on Willow and across the Dumbarton Bridge. We turned left on Paseo Padre and joined the Alameda Creek Trail off Ardenwood Drive. John prefers riding the Alameda Creek Trail to Niles Canyon, but I prefer the quick and dirty routes straight through town. The trail gives a more relaxing ride than the city streets, but the unpredictable pedestrians, kids on little bikes, and in-line skaters make me nervous. We rode along in a tight bunch at about 20 mph.
At the entrance to Niles canyon we continued without pause up CA-84 to Palomares Road. After climbing a short distance up the hill, we stopped to take an input/output break. The horses in the nearby corral wandered over and eyed our snacks hungrily.
We continued up Stonybrook Canyon to the pass, and after a short break we started down the north and steeper side of Palomares Road. I managed a max speed of 46 mph, but I would have done better had I waited longer at the top after the others had started down ahead of me. The road was damp and sandy in parts, but there was no ice, and traction was good. After cruising down the rolling descent for another couple of miles, Rob got a pinch flat after riding over a pothole that I failed to call out. (Sorry, Rob.)
We continued into Castro Valley and then turned right and started up Crow Canyon Road. Crow Canyon Road is not much fun to ride, especially during the middle of the day. The shoulder is narrow, often poorly-paved, and the white line is marked with white road reflectors at intervals frequent enough to be frustrating as we weaved first to the left to avoid bad pavement and then to the right to avoid impatient motorists.
We turned right at Norris Canyon Road and enjoyed the remaining climb to the top of the ridge in relative peace. The eastern descent was swift, but at the stop sign at Bollinger Canyon Road, I felt a few spits of rain. Looking north, our planned direction, the clouds only looked darker.
We turned left on Bollinger Canyon and right on Crow Canyon Road. Instead of taking the short, sweet (and bicycle-unfriendly, according to John) route on Crow Canyon Road to Blackhawk, we turned left on San Ramon Blvd. and wound our way via Greenbrook to Sycamore Valley Road. By now the precipitation had become a steady drizzle, not enough to ease the dry spell, but enough to wet the roads and make drafting the cyclist in front decidedly unpleasant.
We continued on Camino Tassajara to Suzanne’s Muffins at Blackhawk for a well-deserved brunch-break and a chance to dry off.
My original plan (as advertised last week on this list) was to join John’s ride to Blackhawk and then head north to Walnut Creek BART and take the lazy man’s way back to Union City. Sam was unsure whether he’d want to ride further than that since he hadn’t ridden more than 60 miles in a long time. Rob wanted to join me because he wanted to get home early. But, since the weather had turned unpleasant, John decided to shorten the planned route and return to Pleasanton on Camino Tassajara then continue to Sunol before deciding whether to ride Calaveras Road or just return over the Dumbarton Bridge. Since the way was mostly downhill, Sam decided to continue the ride, and since we’d probably arrive home a little quicker than if we rode to Walnut Creek and BARTed to Union City, Rob decided to stay with the group. So, to make a long story only a little bit longer, I decided to stick with the group. I estimated that those of us returning to Palo Alto would ride a little under 100 miles for the day.
The drizzle stopped while we ate, and as we rode east the roads became dry. I pulled at the front for several miles—too long for my own good—then Jim, Eric, and John pulled. By the time we got to Pleasanton, the drizzle returned. We continued with only two brief stops for the bushes through Pleasanton to Sunol. The weather looked very wet up the Sunol Valley, so John and Eric decided not to try Calaveras Road. We turned right and rode swiftly down Niles Canyon Road, and got honked at rudely by one pickup truck driver for no apparent reason.
At the end of Niles Canyon we rejoined the Alameda Creek Trail and retraced our steps back across the Dumbarton Bridge, arriving in Menlo Park at about 1445.
It was a good, fast-paced ride without too much climbing, and yes, I was tired at the end. The weather could have been nicer, and it would have been nice to stop a little more often, but I suppose these kinds of fast-paced, minimal-stops rides are good for me to do once in a while.
|Bike Ridden:||Bridgestone RB-T|
|Cumulative climbing:||3800 feet|
Fremont Older Open Space and Black Mountain, January 1, 1994 - I took a New Years Day ride through Fremont Older Open Space Preserve, then up Stevens Creek Canyon to the summit of Black Mountain before heading down east Alpine Road.
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