Ride by Shooting

Shots fired while out on my bike

There’s only one switchback on Whitney Portal road, but it’s a switchback for daaaaaaayyyyysssss.
Locked gate? You think that’ll stop me? On Friday I climbed Whitney Portal Road. 11 miles with about 4,200ft elevation gain. The part past the locked gate (which starts at the bottom of the road leading to first switchback) was the best bit. No cars! Just solitary suffering, with the occasional g’day to a hiker. Greta day on a bike.

Out the door at 5am. 

Highway 1. Quiet. Listen to Harmontown. Dungeons and Dragons. Silliness. Fun. Forty miles disappear behind me. 

Up Gazos, cut through to Stage Road. Cool. Overcast from time to time. Getting warm. Stuff my SL jacket in the back of my bibs. Change gloves to shorties.

Climb Tunitas. At the top, cold, windy. Cold. Fog and sun and chill. Up. Top. Long fingered gloves back on. Jacket donned. Down.

La Honda descent flies by. Goal to be ordering sandwich in the General Store by noon. Churn fast.

12:04. Close. No cigar.

Eat. Shiver. It’s supposed to be warmer than this.  

Cut across to Alpine. Climb. Banana slugs are long and fat today, but not luminously yellow. 

On. And On. Climbing warms me up. 

Turn onto Skyline and up to four corners. The wind is whipping. I was not expecting this cold, though I have enough layers. Dread the descent. 

Zip. Eat. Clip in. Down.

Tears stream from the chill. Fingers are frozen in their gloves. It’s painful. But fast. How I like it. 

Climb again, to next descent at China Grade. 

Roll into the basin. Spigot. Water. Eat. Off.

Feel good. This is the fast part. Felton Empire will occur. There is no doubt. Be there by 4. Be there.

4:35. Dammit. I turn. It’s mile 113 and I turn to charge up to Empire. 

Climb. Legs feel great, but knees are a little stiff. Getting dark in the redwoods. Taillight on.

Top. We are at 11,854ft. Still about 25 miles to go, I guess. 

Ice Cream Grade. Pine Flat. Boony Doon. Highway 1. Taco stop. Done. 

139.5 miles. 12,800ft. 12 hours (slow, but steady)

Shower. Kick back. Find out Karol-Ann has won Stage 2 of San Dimas Stage Race after a two minute, solo breakaway. Stoked. In the back of my mind, I convince myself it’s because I stuck her in that redwood last week for good luck. 

Good day. A good, great, magical, hard day.

I sleep. 

Strava deets here

Sunday. I get my arse kicked all over the Santa Cruz mountains by Karol-Ann Canuel. I stick her in a tree to make myself feel better. 

Worth it. 

The route, if you’re curious. It was front loaded with climbing. She’s a climber. I’m a… not. But I love this route. It’s one of my favs.

Ride to eat. Eat to ride. Last weekend I took Olivia up Mt Hamilton. It was her first time. Quote: “I can’t believe I’ve lived here for three years and never done this”


STRAVA deets here

The clocks have changed. There is now gorgeous afternoon light on my commute home. 

Schulties Road, CA. I love it, either up or down. Lil’ bit o’ dirt, lil bit, rough-as-guts, all awesome. 

What a difference 45 minutes makes. From lush green paddocks on Watsonville, to dense ‘can’t see the edge of the road’ fog on Mt Madonna (which made for one of the slowest, scary descents ever)

Morning commute. Annoyed the two on Madonna turned out blurry, but it was raining and I guess I couldn’t get the iPhone to focus with mah wet finger? Oh wells. Rode the Crux today and had a blast on the muddy descent. It’s a fun bike. Wrapped my frets in bags, sealed em, then wore overstocks. Got to work with happy feet after 2.5 hrs of drizzle and general wet getting flung all up in my grill.

Rode to work this morning, rode home tonight. Rita and Oliva joined for the ride up Mt Madonna, then turned around and went back to MoHill. I continued alone. Jon caught me on the climb on Hazel Dell, and we hammered it back to Santa Cruz together. My legs blew up on Soquel, but it was cool by then. Nearly home! Long day. 

Been sick the last couple days, but took my wheezy lungs for a quick jaunt up Nisene to see where I was at. Big tree downed and cleared. Hard to get a sense if the size, but first two photos show both sides of the road with the middle missing. The top half extends well into the forest. The bits you can’t see - the giant sections they cut to get that portion off the road - were pushed off the edge of the road. I peered over the edge and saw many huge cross sections in amongst other redwoods. This was a very tall tree. A shame when one goes down.

The Black Mamba waits patiently while I attempt to snag a nice pic on my ride home. Days are getting longer!

Four hour ride, I’d estimate maybe 3 of it in rain all up. Started in a downpour, but 5 miles in it cleared for a long spell. While I was in Corralitos Sausage Market getting a lamb sandwich (it was wet and cool and I couldn’t resist), it started up again. On a whim I decided to go to the top of Hazel Dell and it poured all the way up, creeks wild and rushing and man, I was having fun. It slowed to a drizzle on the descent and the creeks got all settled again. Since it wasn’t raining quite so badly, I was able to snag a bunch of photos. 

Eureka Canyon loomed and I headed off and up. It started raining quite determinedly again, but I was still enjoying it. Not a lot of traffic, and I only saw one cyclist. After dropping down to demo, I reached saturation point. Before the descent down San Jose/Soquel, I pulled out my secret weapon! (A spare pair of dry gloves). It was nice to put on warm gloves, but unfortunately, the descent was painful on the eyes. No glasses and I couldn’t fit my fenders on the Crux so had none. Grit flew into my eyes at speed, and the rain was stabbing at my face like needles. 

All these complaints aside, great ride. Nice rain ride. Glad it wasn’t cold. Enjoyed my tacos when I got home! :)

Last weekend, Rita, Olivia and I went and did the Old Caz grasshopper ride up in Occidental. It was a toughie! While Rita is capable of winning an event like this, she decided to hang back with slow ol’ me and we three decided to try win the “most fun” division. I think we did. 

I was totally spent after it - the dirt was challenging at times - but holy smokes, the pizza in Santa Rosa afterwards was Epic! (Russian River had a 45 minutes wait, so we went down the street and found this place, which was amazing). Also, beer never tastes better than when it’s freezing cold after you’ve had a hard day on a bike. 

So dry. Still so beautiful. Nisene, Aptos California.