Saturday, July 28 in Redwood City, California:
The Tour du Jour is the second of three rides put on by the Northern California Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Catherine & I hit the road at just before 6 and arrived at the start at the Port of Redwood City at 6:30. We biked to the start area (which you can’t park at), checked in, and met up with fellow SunSpots Guy and Jeffrey. We hung around for a few and a couple of other SunSpots arrived. Catherine, Jeffrey, and I were the only ones doing the 100 mile route, and we rode out just after 7:00. This was to be Jeffrey’s first century, so I figured it would be nice for us all to ride together.
The route went west to Alameda de las Pulgas (“Highway of the Fleas” – gotta love that name for a road!), then (unimaginatively) went straight down to Los Altos and the first real rest stop (there was a water stop somewhere in Menlo Park that we passed up). We got some grub and liquids, I stretched a few, and we headed back out.
We continued south on Foothill Expwy. all the way to Stevens Canyon, past the reservoir, and on to Mt. Eden Road. This was the first climb of the day, but its not difficult or long at all. In short order, we were at the top of Mt. Eden and descended to Pierce Rd. Pierce is fairly steep, but short, so I hammered up it and waited for Catherine and Jeffrey at the top. We descended to Hwy. 9, then descended 9 to Saratoga. 9 is always a really great descent (when there aren’t too many cars getting in the way :), and this time was no exception.
After meandering through Saratoga, we arrived at the next rest stop at a church in Los Gatos (I think). We spent a bit more time at this stop eating, drinking, and stretching. The gatorade at this stop was mixed strong – yuk! My legs were a tad tight from charging up Pierce Rd., so I gave ’em a good stretch. We continued through Saratoga and Cupertino back to Foothill, and headed north back to Los Altos, where the first rest stop served double-duty as the lunch stop. Along the way, my route sheet flew out of my jersey pocket. No problem, as the route was very well marked with pink arrows taped on poles at eye-level, and Catherine had the sheet clipped to her shift cable. It is making it difficult to recall the route and mileage while writing this report, though! 🙂 It would be really nice if the ride didn’t spend so much time on Foothill Expressway, especially since there are a lot of really nice back roads that can take one the same places. Ah well.
Lunch was pretty good, with pasta salads, DIY sandwiches, and other edibles. We sat on the grass and ate and stretched for a little while, then rolled on out again. The ride took a different route than it had in 2000, presumably due to construction work being done on Elena Rd. in Los Altos Hills. We took a really pretty road (whose name escapes me) up through Los Altos Hills to Purissima Rd. then went to Arastradero, Page Mill, continued on Arastradero, up Alpine, and north on Portola to the next rest stop in Portola Valley in the parking lot of a law firm.
From Portola Valley we continued on Portola Rd. This is a great road to cruise on, and we pacelined along at a pretty decent clip. We turned up Whisky Hill, went out to Woodside Rd., then headed north on Canada Rd. Canada Rd. is very popular with cyclists, and for good reason – its wide, lightly trafficed, and once it crosses Hwy 280, has lovely views of Crystal Springs Reservoir. There was a bit of a headwind (as usual when heading north), but it wasn’t too bad. We jogged east briefly on Hwy 92, then continued north on Skyline to the next rest stop in a park ‘n ride lot.
We didn’t spend a lot of time at this stop – just stopped long enough to drink and eat a bit before heading out for the last loop of the ride through Hillsborough. This is the prettiest part of the ride (although some of that is undoubtedly because I don’t usually ride in that area), with nice rolling hills, and a lot of very nice (and expensive!) houses. Before too long we were at the last rest stop, in Hillsborough. We didn’t stay very long at this stop either, as the end was now firmly in sight. Jeffrey was holding up very well for this being his first century!
We wound our way through Hillsborough to San Mateo and rode west on Crystal Springs Rd. This is another really nice road that I don’t ride on very often. In fact, the ’00 Tour Du Jour, the ’01 California AIDS Ride, the ’01 Giro di San Mateo, and this ride are the only times I’ve ever been on it. After a pretty gentle climb, we were back at Skyline, and headed back south on Skyline, then back south on Canada. Again I had to wonder if there isn’t a better way to do this route, as there is an awful lot of out-and-back, which, as anyone who has ridden with me knows, I really don’t like.
After recap’ing the nice part of Canada Rd., we turned east on Jefferson Rd. towards Redwood City. Jefferson is a fun and fast downhill (after the initial climbing :), and at the bottom, it was a few short miles to the finish. Through Redwood City, they were repaving one of the streets we were supposed to ride on, and we were directed to ride on the sidewalk for a few blocks. Before we knew it, we were at the end! Way to go Jeffrey! At the finish, we checked in, got our certificates (I’m not sure why they give these out), and chowed down on the yummy hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ chicken, and pasta salad.
This was a fun ride, although I must admit, if it hadn’t been for the excellent company of Catherine & Jeffrey, it would have been a tad boring, since I did this ride last year (it was my first century ever, so it does have a fond place in my heart!), and I do a lot of riding on the same roads as part of my weekday training rides.
|Total Time:||8h 29m|
|On-bike Time:||6h 43m|
|Total Climbing:||~5300 ft|
Ride Rating (1=bad, 5=great):
|Difficulty:||2 – not too much climbing, no killer hills|
|Support:||4 – excellent road markings, as usual for a MS ride|
|Food:||3.5 – V8 would have been nice, and some of the gatorade was WAAAY to strong|
|Route:||3 – too much time on Foothill and Canada. Very pretty through Los Altos Hills and Hillsborough, though|