Sunday, June 19, 2011
Michael and I are joining Carole and Jackie for the 2008 version of the Sequoia Metric Century. We meet up at the Pearson Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto. Water and restrooms are available.
There’s not much of a warm up period as we head directly to Page Mill Rd. It’s an 8.4 mile stair-step climb to Skyline Blvd. It starts off with a steady grade of 7-8% and levels off a bit as you get to Altamont Cir. The climbing starts again as you approach Foothill Park; the gradient increases to 12-14% and eases up to 6% with a slight downhill thereafter. You do get to ride under a canopy of trees while the climbing continues. On the approach to the Gate 3 sign, the gradient increases significantly to 10-13% and maxes out at 16% near the top! You get another little break of a downhill followed by a short 13% climb and another 7-8% climb. The road levels off after you pass Montibello Preserve all the way to Skyline Blvd.
We continue on Skyline Blvd/CA 35 for the next 7.4 miles. There is a 4% gradual uphill to the summit followed by rolling down hills to Skywoods Skylonda and CA 84. You get some great views of Silicon Valley!
The next 6.8 mile sweeping descent along CA 84 is fabulous! The traffic is a bit heavier on weekends, be careful!
We take a left turn on Pescadero Rd and make our way up to the Sam McDonald County Park. It’s a 2% grade all the way to the right hand turn onto Pescadero Creek Rd. The gradient increases to 7-8% followed by pitches of 9-13% as you approach the next switchback. The park entrance is on right hand side of the road. Water and restrooms are available.
We exit the park and return back down the hill to Alpine Rd. The climb up Alpine Rd west is 7.5 miles long. It begins with a gentle rolling uphill through the redwoods and increases to a steady 7-8% grade with several pitches hitting 10-12%. You reach the false summit at the Portola State Park access road; surprise-there’s more climbing to be had!
The next 3.5 miles is along the ridge with full exposure to the sun. The views are pretty spectacular back here! You get some flats, rollers and several steep 10-12% climbs. I even see a coyote walking along the side of the road. My camera lens jams up and I miss the shot! The climb to the summit is followed by a fun twisting descent to Skyline Blvd/CA 35.
We continue to head east on Skyline Blvd for the next 5.8 miles. The terrain is rolling with gradients that range from 5-6%. We reach our lunch stop at the Saratoga Gap Fire Station. Water and restroom are available along with a picnic table.
There is one short climb that takes us up and over to CA 9.
I make the mistake of heading west on CA 9 and everyone follows; we descend for 6 miles to the intersection at Big Basin Way.
We have to turn around and climb the 6 miles back up to Skyline Blvd. My bad! It’s a gentle climb with an average gradient of 4.5% and 1400′ of elevation gain. Everyone got their money’s worth today. The temps are now in the mid 90’s. It’s HOT! We stop at the hot dog stand and guzzle down a cold can of Coke and Squirt.
Now that we’re back on course, we head east on CA 9 for the long 5.5 mile descent. What a nice payback for the previous climb! We make the turn on Pierce Rd to Teerlink Way and Damon Way.
We continue on Mt Eden Rd for the next 2.1 miles. The road starts off relatively flat and gradually increases to sections with a 10-13% grade! It does ease up a bit to 3-5% followed by a curvy descent to Stevens Canyon Rd.
We stay on Stevens Canyon Rd for the next 10+ miles; the road eventually becomes Foothill Blvd and Foothill Expressway. It’s a flat run to our next turn on Arastradero Rd which leads us back to the Regional Preserve.
Thanks to Carole and Jackie for inviting us on this ride!
4 people in attendance
74.5 miles with 7680′ of elevation gain
Weather: SUNNY and HOT! Starting temp of 73F and reaching the high 90’s! The occasional breeze was a big welcome on the ride.