Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Wet, Cold Saturday Ride in the Mountains

Saturday - my long ride day. Eureka Canyon is my fave. Starting from Spa Fitness, over to Corralitos, up Eureka Canyon to the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains, along Highland, and down Old San Jose Rd to Soquel and Capitola and the gym again, is 42 miles and 3387 ft of gain. Today, I got an unusually late start - noon! Rain forecast by afternoon but I heard it would be light and hoped it would wait till I was done. I reached the upper headwaters of Aptos Creek, where the Silicon Valley mountain bikers like to park on the back side of Santa Rosalia Peak and then ride through the redwoods of Nicene Marks upper reaches. Here, the rain began. It gave a dark, ominous cast to these unpopulated forest areas, not far from the infamous Ormsby Cutoff crest of the ride, where a dirt road leads off to the netherlands of drug growers who guard their privacy zealously. At this point, I was still puffing uphill and wondered how well my bike would handle downhill. It has been many years since I rode my skinny tire Serrotta in the rain, and never intentionally. I've still got osteoporosis from years off my feet due to severe hip disease, fixed w/ surgery in '07. Going down hard on the slick pavement would be very bad. I considered pressing on to the nearest civilization - the Summit Store, and begging for a ride down in the back of someone's truck. Ignominious, but safe. My pride wouldn't let me and I figured I'd just trust the traffic would see me and not run me over or carom me off into the canyon. All went according to plan, except halfway down the steeps I heard a bad sound and got myself pulled over to find big fat construction staples poking into my rear tire. Doh! Salvagable, repairable, and with help from a nearby tree to shelter me from the rain, I got that solved. But I was wet and cold by the time I got back to the spa. I soaked my numbness in the hot tub for a good half hour, did some stretches, ran some errands, and then home.

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