It was July 2004, my longest ride yet, Rico led this ALC training ride from McLaren Lodge to San Jose. With a slight diversion from Woodside to Portola Valley and Bart’s home for lunch, it was 79 miles. The following weekend was my first century, the Marin. Those are rides you don’t forget.
And so, with all the riding I have done in the Peninsula and South Bay, I suggested doing the ride again to Rico, but with a change. Instead of going thru Cupertino to Los Gatos, why not continue on Foothill Expressway into Stevens Canyon and over Mt. Eden and Pierce Roads. He was game!
So it was quite unfortunate that Rico injured his back during the week and couldn’t ride. Friend of his, Tim, joined David G2 and I at Velo Rouge, and we headed thru Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach. At the base of Skyline, we picked up Patrick and the four of us began the climb together. We didn’t stay together long, Tim took the lead, followed by DG2 and Patrick had not warmed up, since he lives just a few blocks from where he joined us.
We followed the ALC route for Day 1 to Crystal Springs Reservoir, and it was clearing up. By the time we had followed Canada Road into Woodside, it was sunny and clear, nice day. We picked up some lunch from the deli at Robert’s Market and sat across the street, enjoying the shade and watching the many cyclists passing thru this main hub in the Peninsula.
After lunch we headed down Woodside Road-Hwy 84 to Alameda de las Pulgas, which led us to Junipera Sera which loops around Stanford University and becomes Foothill Expressway at Palo Alto. Tim was out in front and I found myself trying to keep up with him and I watched as the average speed for the ride to that point got closer to 16 mph. And then I kept hoping for red stop lights! At the point where Foothill Expressway (now Boulevard) becomes Stevens Canyon Road is a small strip mall and that was our next regroup point. It had warmed up significantly, and after our little mini-peleton, we took a break in the shade and replenishing our water.
Stevens Creek Park is located along Stevens Canyon Road and Mt. Eden Road in the foothills between Saratoga and Cupertino. The road into the park has a nice shoulder and the road circles the reservoir and we continued up Mt. Eden Road. You can continue on Stevens Canyon Road and then take Redwood Gulch, but that is a very steep stretch of road, I have yet to try. After descending Mt. Eden Road, we then took Pierce Road up to the top, past the Mountain Winery and down to Highway 9 (the sign called it Congress Springs Road) and on into Saratoga.
Following Highway 9 we headed to Los Gatos for our last regroup at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company (mmm, Chocolate gellato!) David saw an fellow ALC rider, who happened to be across the street for a cooking class, small world, and we all chatted about the Ride, and our ride so far that day.
Refreshed, we headed to the Diridon CalTrain station on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which runs from Lexington Reservoir to San Jose. We ran into another ALC rider (yet, another David) that Tim knew, he joined us and rode to the train station, showing me a slight change to my route that avoided a rough section of Willow Road. We pulled up at about 3:50, plenty of time to catch the 4pm train headed north. And with four of us on the train chatting, the ride to Millbrae went by quickly. David & Patrick got off here to take BART the rest of the way, while Tim rode on.