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Sarah & I hit the road at a bit after 6am after getting some much-needed caffeine, arriving at Gavillan College in Gilroy just before 7:00. There was actually parking in the college lot this time (I had to park way down the road last year). We used the facilites, found Denise, geared up, and rolled out at 7:45 (we'd checked in the night before in San Jose to save time in the morning). As we were leaving two women recognized Sarah's Velo Girls armwarmers and came over and introduced themselves (they were also members of that team). The 5 of us left together, but the two other women fell back, being on knobby-tired mountain bikes.
I had originally planned on riding the 200km route, but since I was still recovering from an extended cold/flu/cough, my trainer told me to ride 100km instead, which was fine since I got to ride with Sarah and Denise. It was cool, in the low 40s, when we rolled out, and mostly cloudy, with just a few patches of sun. Fellow SunSpot Jerry joined us early on, and I also saw Rod and Lee from the SunSpots team, who I rode with on the CA AIDS ride. We cruised north on Santa Teresa for a little ways, then left civilization and we rode together on lovely rural Burchell, Watsonville, and Uvas roads. Jerry was riding very well - he's obviously been training hard for the upcoming AIDS/LifeCycle! There was a rest stop at Uvas Reservoir (12mi), but it wasn't listed on our route sheet, so I guess its a stop on one of the other routes. We briefly stopped here to fill our bellies and empty our bladders, then continued north on Uvas Rd. along the reservoir. A turn on Oak Glen Rd. led us past Chesbro Reservoir and along some pretty gently rolling hills to the first "real" rest stop at the Machado School (23.5mi).
They had lots of eats here, breads, PB&J, cookies, etc., and we stayed a few. I saw a fellow in a California Triple Crown jersey and asked him which double centuries he'd done. Turns out he'd done, among others, the Devil Mountain Double and the Terrible Two, both of which are in my plan for this year. I talked to him and his friends for a few (one of them lost 10 pounds over the course of a particularly hot Terrible Two!). We backtracked a block or so on Sycamore, then had a short climb, fairly steep towards the end. We zig-zagged through residental Gilroy on roads with entirely too many stop signs. Two riders hopped on Denise & my drafts and were there for a good long while. I don't mind folks drafting me, but these guys were surly and didn't talk at all, and after sucking our wheels for nearly half an hour, passed us without so much as a "thanks." Bah! Denise & I stopped after crossing Ferguson Rd. to regroup for the lovely climb up Gilroy Hot Springs. We had a nice view of the hills to the east as we waited. Sarah showed up shortly, but Jerry didn't, so the three of us headed for the hills. The climb up to the Gilroy Hot Springs rest stop is a tiered climb, with several distinct climbs and breaks in between. Denise & I stopped on one hill to admire some pretty horses in a field. They came over to us and turned out to be huge, enough so that I was actually scared to pet them! They were some clydesdale variant I'd not seen before. We continued climbing along the wildflower-banked road until we got to the second (and last) rest stop (45.3mi).
Happily, unlike last year, there was food a-plenty at this stop! They had delicious garlicy potatoes, nutbread, pre-baggied gorp, and other edibles. We stretched and rested for a bit, then pulled out. Jerry arrived as we were leaving and said he wanted to stay a while, so we parted ways. There was a beautiful gradual climb up Canada Rd. I was feeling especially good after eating a bunch, so I took off and rode a fairly brisk pace to the top of the climb, past lovely fields, hills, and wildflowers. Sarah, Denise & I regrouped at the summit, then dropped down towards Gilroy. The ACTC had a staffer in a skeleton suit warning riders to be careful on the descent, where a rider crashed last year. Its not really a scary descent, but does feature some blind corners and one must keep one's wits about them, especially if unused to twisty downhills. I had a great time plunging towards the valley, hitting 40mph in a few places, but the downhill is mostly too technical to get up great speeds. The route returned the way it came more-or-less, except that I missed a turn (taking a half dozen riders with me), so we got a little bonus climb up to Santa Teresa before getting back on-route and we soon arrived back at Gavillan College at 12:45. They had chicken, beans, salad, and bread for the taking, although I wasn't all that hungry myself. Jerry arrived while we were eating, but he didn't see me, and was out of sight before I could flag him down. After eating and changing, Sarah & I hit the Gilroy Outlet stores for a bit, then headed back home.
The ACTC was really on the ball this year, providing great food and support. The route was very pretty with no unnecessary junk miles, and, although cool, the weather was pleasant. I was a little disappointed to not do the 100mi or 200km routes because they climb Metcalf, a challenging hill that I've not yet tackled, but there's always next year!
|Total Time:||5h 1m|
|On-bike Time:||4h 9m|
|Difficulty:||2 - a solid climb up to Gilroy Hot Springs, but not difficult overall|
|Support:||4 - lots of SAG vehicles, intersection control, and rest stop staff|
|Food:||4 - MUCH better than last year!|
|Route:||3 - pretty, but largely familiar|
08 February, 2011 MST
Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul