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Windy Mauler, 12/30/14
This is a ride report for the Melcalf Mauler ride of December 30, 2014. It was so windy that day that the ride leaders who met us at Metcalf Park, Joan Freed, Art Cruz, and Donny Axtell decided not to ride. Don asked Lisa Curran to be the leader, but after starting-up Metcalf Road, Lisa also gave-it-up. I became the default leader and created this report as an email message to the riders.
Thanks for co-leading the afternoon Mauler again today, Donny. It’s probably a good thing that Joan & you didn’t try to ride today. The windstorm was too much for everyone. Minh and Paul did the backside but didn’t do Hassler. I’m the only one who did the whole thing, including Hassler. But it was a struggle.
I ask you and I ask Lisa, “Should we cancel this ride?” No one says, “No.”
Art joins us on the bikepath and we start chugging to the 101 overpass. We could feel that it was a whippersnappin northeasterly. As we approach the viaduct, Lisa decides to scratch. She turns-around right there. A good idea. It’s galeforce sidewind on the viaduct. Minh & Paul are “Woeing” on the tandem. Jimbo Williams slices-across there. He’s shaped like a bladed spoke from the side.
Art has had enough at the trail to Basking Ridge. “I’m not going up there”, he shouts to me. So it’s just Jim, the tandem & Muy. I thought that the hill would provide a windbreak but ‘tisn’t so. Wind is pouring right-down the ramps, steady 20 mph, gusting to 35. It’s almost as tough as a Summer Mauler when it’s 90+ degrees. I hang-back with Minh & Paul to see if they’ll bail. Minh stands-up to stoke. “Man you crank this thing really hard and nothing happens. It just won’t go like my single bike. So you’re here to coach us, Guy?” “No, Minh, I’m not trying to push you guys. I just want you to know that it’s OK to cancel this ride at any moment.” “How long does it take you to do this climb?” asks Minh. “Twenty minutes.” “No, Guy. What is a REASONABLE time?”, asks Paul. “You guys should be able to do it in 24 minutes on a normal day.” Minh comments, “I’ve got to ride home after this ride. I didn’t bring lights. So we may just turn-around at the summit.”
We drift apart. Jim continues to the summit, turns-around and passes me as he returns to Morgan Hill.
I’m at the summit by 3:10 PM. That’s 30 minutes for my Mauler time today. Twenty minutes of hill and ten minutes of wind.
I realize that no one’s going to continue this ride unless I do so. I recall a conversation I had with Alison Chaiken yesterday. We were doing Jerome’s east hills goatgetter ride. Alison did San Felipe and Metcalf. She’s been living/travelling in Germany and Holland for most of the year. She’s rented/ridden bikes across a lot of country. She’s been blogging her adventuresome & scenic rides. “It’s wonderful to return to this area and do these hills. It’s just so beautiful right here. Just going out on the Metcalf loop brings you to some of the prettiest places on the Planet. I’m happy to be back and am looking forward to showing-up on Club rides. It’s a joy to ride around right here.”
OK, here’s Muy,feeling the joy right here, ready to plunge down the backside of Metcalf. This ride is not completely canceled. There are small tree branches slithering in the road. Watch for trees down. Two PG&E trucks are flashing along a curve of the road past the rocket factory. The trucks have a stake-out near a blue oak tree that’s leaning toward the power lines. Branches of laurel trees are bobbing, swaying, and switching with the wicked gusts. The bay leaves switch-about in unison, like a swarm of minnows, all turning at once. There is some shelter from the wind as you go up to the eucalyptus grove at the summit of San Felipe.
The scene at the grove is frightening. The branches of the giant eucalyptus trees are waving like pom-poms and making the sound of crashing waves. No large limbs are down but the road is littered with small branches, eucalyptus corns and scrolls of bark. “It could be worse”, Muy tells himself. He was caught in a hailstorm at this spot once. It was a Tierra Bella Workers’ ride several years ago. Supercooled hailstones stuck to his long-sleeve black jersey. Muy was pokadotted with white pea-sized stones. No windbreaker, no gloves. He had to race down the arroyo to minimize the exposure to lightening and freezing rain.
Chuting the arroyo is a challenge. You have to slalom around the small branches and litter. Sure enough, a small branch whaps into the front crown of the helmet and a twig scratches the chin. Dropping-down this canyon is scary-enough without having the feeling that there’s a crazy third hand on the handlebars, trying to hornswoggle the bike. Good thing this ride is cancelled.
I’m able to continue on the regular route through the hills and up Hassler hill. As you near the summit of Hassler you get a magical feeling of ease. You’re enjoying the force of the surging easterly tailwind. Maybe you could coast-up this hill. Major forces whip the bike as it careens down Hassler toward highway 101. Hassler turns and rolls-out onto a section where you are fairly close to the highway. The sun’s so low on December 30 that you ride into the shadows of semi trucks headed North on 101. More rage and wonder.
Returning on Hellyer Ave. is very wind-aided. Thanks to your careful planning, Donny, we don’t have to go north, into this wind. If we did, I would have dropped-out of this ride too. Home by 4:30. I won’t have to dust-off the bike for a while. See you on the Hicks ride on New Years’ Day.
***ANNOUNCING THE RIDE LEADERS APPRECIATION LUNCHEON***
Date: Sunday, January 26th
Location: Sonoma Chicken Coop Almaden – at the corner of Almaden Expy & McAbee Rd
Fare: Pizza, Salads, Sodas/Water
Last year’s location was fun, but the big turnout (80+ versus prior turnouts of 55-60) was bit crowded. This year’s venue is in the very ride friendly location at Almaden Expy & McAbee Rd.
The restaurant will comfortably seat over 100 ride leaders. Bike parking will be in the fenced off patio with easy visibility/access from the tables inside.
Thank you to all ride leaders and sweeps in 2013, and have a great 2014!
The 2013 Amgen Tour of California is bringing the Individual Time Trial back to San Jose!!!
On Friday, May 17th, Stage 6 will find these professional riders racing the clock while climbing two local Billy Goats – Bailey/Buffalo Hill and Metcalf Rd!
ACTC club members are very familiar with the Bailey/Buffalo Hill goat, having climbed it over 700 times last year alone! But the big test for the pros will be the climbing finish at the top of Metcalf Rd, nearly 1,000 ft in less than 2 miles, with gradients of 15-20% throughout the climb!
Looking for a club ride to test your climbing capabilities on either of these goats? We have a couple regularly scheduled rides for each goat:
Metcalf Mauler – Kim Carr and Don Axtell have been leadng club riders at an MB pace up this intrepid climb every Thursday evening for years!
Wednesday Metcalf Mauler – Tom Green leads this 33 mile M paced ride to Metcalf Rd on the first Wednesday morning of each month.
Giro d’ Bici Ride – Now organized by Ahmed Masood, this LM-M paced “pick your own distance” ride over Bailey/Buffalo Hill to Morgan Hill and back is a monthly favorite! .
TGIF Reservoirs – Leo Hartung leads this popular M paced 48 miler over Bailey/Buffalo Hill, around Uvas Reservoir to Morgan Hill and back.
Check out all our rides on the monthly schedule at http://www.actc.org/rides/schedule.php?cm
The TB Worker’s Ride, held for all the Tierra Bella volunteers as both a final check of the route’s street markings and as a thank you BBQ, will be held on Sunday, April 7th. Volunteer now, so you can join in on the fun! Details will be published soon!
From : Brian Birkeland <email@example.com>
The Argonaut ride did find some signs indicating road closures and possible delays for July 23 – August 3 on Kennedy (east slope), Shannon (east slope) and Hicks (from Shannon to Reynolds)
Lots of patching has been done, lots of spray paint markings on roads with word CHIP, and center line reflectors removed and replaced with the temporary yellow tape ones.
I have not called the county but thought you might want to be aware of this, maybe have a retired member sit on hold with county roads or look on line? Since this is one of our clubs most ridden goats might want to check it out and put an temporary advisory on the home page.
Upon arrival at the Belmont Park N Ride by 7:30 am in temperatures in the high thirties, I wondered who’d show up for the 8am ride when Vince Cummings, Alison Chaiken, Tom Mac, Christine Nguyen, Stuart Wallace, John Blaine and guest Brice Wu showed up to conquer a day of climbing, which turned out to be pretty nice…
62 miles, 5600 ft of climbing and a 39-57 degree F temperature range…pretty nice.
Initially I was shooting for an 85-105 mile route, but the shorter days, questionable weather and big climbs suggested a good December route of 65 miles. Unfortunately, I had expected rain so I neglected to carry my camera. Since the elevation profile above nicely depicts the goats, I’ll summarize:
Sneath Lane Sweeney Ridge
This was my first time on this 5-rated, three mile goat. It’s a nicely paved trail up to an ‘abandoned military base’, but has placards depicting some sort of Nike Anti-ballistic missile action from the Cold War.
Sweeny Ridge in particular can be found here: http://acme.com/jef/nike/sf51c.html
This may have been the last time to get credit for climbing the safe and (in)sane Manor Drive in Pacifica. Although I’ve never seen traffic on it and it’s now nicely paved, it has been removed to make room for impressive goats like Stevens Canyon (560ft in 5.5 mi), as opposed to the wimpy 570 ft. in 1.2 miles (per RideWithGPS) . To quote newbie Brice, “I never need to do that again.”
This is always a fun goat due to its steady grade and views from the top of Radio Road:
Brice Wu, Stuart Wallace and Alison Chaiken at Radio RdSummit:
After descending San BrunoMountain, most of the crew opted to stop for lunch. Appreciating the early day, Tom and I continued to the trail back to the Belmont Park N Ride.
Millie’s Wild Ride: December 1, 2011 by Bryan Shaner (with help from Millie Kitchin and Ray Persico)Sheila| December 9, 2011 8:35 am
As we pulled into the parking lot on Summit Road, Millie and Angel didn’t look like they were planning on actually getting on their bicycles and riding. You couldn’t blame them: it was cold and although the worst of the wind had blown through the night before, it was still gusting pretty strongly. We knew there were power outages probably from trees falling across power lines, but the sun was out and my body really needed those endorphins. So with some reluctance Millie donned her garb and led us down Soquel San Jose Road.
It was cold, but the wind wasn’t too bad and there was only an occasional branch to dodge. We stopped at Casalegno’s Market to get warm. The locals told us we shouldn’t be out riding in the mountains today, but they were heading out to pick wild mushrooms. Heck, if they were headed out into the mountains, so could we, so we headed down Laurel Glen. Maybe the locals were right. There was a lot more debris on the road, and then Ray got a flat. As we stood around watching Ray, we looked up and saw the trees whipping around in the wind and started to get a little spooked. Then as we got started a fellow in a car told us that the road ahead (Branciforte) was closed. We weren’t ready to turn back and call it a day, so we decided to venture on and see how closed it was. Sure enough, there was a tree at a 45 degree angle resting against a power line, and even though the tree seemed to be pretty well supported, it wasn’t until two PG&E workers sauntered up the road directly under the tree and told us we could go through (at our own risk) that we threw caution to the wind (which was still pretty strong) and ventured on. The tree had only fallen half an hour ago, so there had been enough car traffic earlier to knock the worst of the fallen branches out of the way along Branciforte.
The road was more cluttered as we turned up Granite Creek, and the sound of cracking tree limbs got us up that goat in record time. As we pulled into Scotts Valley, once again luck was on our side. Starbucks had been closed due to an power outage, but opened up just as we were trying to figure out somewhere else to go to get warm. After a nice long time warming up inside and out, I was very tempted to call my wife and see if she wanted to drive over to Scotts Valley for a little shopping, and by the way, would you bring the bike rack. But by this time our small band had formed that type of bond that comes with facing adversity together, and desertion was not an option. I wasn’t looking forward to Mt. Charlie but had no idea how hard it was going to be to get there.
The wind decided to stop gusting and start blowing steadily – right in our faces. We took turns drafting on Glenwood, but I was still so tired by the time we got to the turn off that I just shifted down into my 32 and hoped my legs would keep moving. Things seemed to be going pretty well up Mt. Charlie until we heard the unmistakable sound of a chainsaw. And sure enough, around the next turn we saw a huge tree blocking the road. But the fellow with the chainsaw was making pretty quick work of the tree, and in not too many minutes we had an opening large enough to carry our bikes through. The trip back on Summit was uneventful except for some pretty strong cross winds here and there. But we lingered a bit after getting back to our cars maybe just to celebrate the fact that we had all survived Millie’s Wild Ride.
by Bryan Shaner and Ray Persico
Ray and I had been trying to find a Bicycle Adventure Club (BAC) ride for some time. First the Southern Utah Tour was full then the Sicily trip fell apart, so I was pretty excited when he told me about the California Wine Country and Northern Coast Tour. And the ride leaders were our own Bill and Joyce Keckler. BAC is an all volunteer organization that is not for profit. So not only was the price reasonable, but we’re going to get a refund of several hundred dollars since Bill and Joyce kept us under budget. Not only did they keep us under budget, but they provided an excellent riding experience. We had very complete route information (including a few alternates for additional climbing and miles), wonderful accommodations, and a great happy hour every afternoon. They did a good job of arranging the weather also. Our one rainy day was spent at the Lodge in Olema which had a pool table in the game room!
Our first two nights were in Windsor, and the first days ride was a 40-70 mile loop to get all the kinks worked out. Fortunately for me, it was also the day of the Wine Country Century, because I had a very important kink that needed to be worked out. My rear derailleur cable broke at about mile 20. Ray suggested we try the Century rest stop, and sure enough, $10 and 10 minutes later, I was back on the road. That first day of 71 miles turned out to be our longest, and I have to admit, after a generous wine tasting and a hand full of chocolates, we enjoyed passing dozens if not hundreds of weary Century riders that last 20 miles.
Day three was from Windsor to Calistoga. Ray and I were feeling pretty cocky having gone exploring off the route quite successfully the previous day. But our alternative route to see new country had lots of traffic, and we were glad when we finally rejoined the suggested route. We arrived in Calistoga pretty early so decided to do some extra riding. Our original plan was to get up into the hills and do some more climbing, but after a few miles on the El Dorado Trail, we decided to restrict our miles and keep them level. We saw a great photo exhibit at Mums and then had lunch in St. Helena. The shared $20 wine tasting at Clos Pegase was good, but then some of our free happy hour wines were also.
The next day we headed off to Cloverdale, and the route included “The Geysers” which is one of the prettiest routes you’ll ever ride. The climb was moderately difficult and the wide open views were spectacular. Ray and I missed a turn and got to see where Geysers got its name. There’s a plant tucked back in the mountains that converts the heat and steam from geysers into electricity. They didn’t seem too interested in inviting us in for a tour, so we retraced ours steps and bumped down a road almost as bad as Eureka Canyon. We felt a few drops of rain as we arrived in Cloverdale, and some of our fellow travelers got some hail.
We rode to Mendocino the next day and realized how beautiful our weather had been. We were greeted by clouds and wind on the coast. So the next day on our way to Ft. Bragg, I purchased some tights – well really leg warmers. But they were wonderful. My left knee had been complaining the last few days about not having any rest days but seemed very happy to be wrapped in its snug leg warmer. So now we were two men in tights. The section of highway 1 between Ft. Bragg and Mendocino is not fun. It’s bumpy and there’s lots of traffic. But along the way there was a wonderful botanic garden that was worth the $14 admission charge.
The next day I was prepared for more poor road, but miraculously, it got smooth just south of Mendocino and stayed that way down to Gualala. I had dinner with some old college friends that night and was amazed I was able to get back on my bike the next morning for our trip to Bodega Bay. As usual, we took one of the alternates for more miles and climbing. The alternate was King Ridge Road. It was one of our most scenic, traffic free rides on the trip. When we got to Bodega Bay, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw our accommodations. They were spectacular with a beautiful view of the ocean. I wanted to stay. We’d been cycling for a week without a day off. This seemed like a good place to settle in and enjoy the hot tub, the view and the great food at the restaurant across the street. And that is where Ray and I had our first real “couple” experience. It’s true that all the folks on the tour (except Richard and us) were married couples. The tour was set up to be at a moderate pace with 50ish mile days which appealed to married couples (three of whom were on tandems). So our waiter that evening decided we were a couple too, and asked “And what would the lovebirds like this evening?” Our fellow diners already knew we both had long suffering spouses at home wondering why their husbands were off on this crazy bike trip (I had that same thought a few times myself). So they had a good laugh. We did too.
Alas, we had to leave our great digs at Bodega Bay and head down to Olema. After being together for nine days, Ray and I were really in sync. We had been riding together all this time with him leading and me keeping track of our route usually quite successfully. So right after I had my first (and only) flat of the trip, Ray decided he would have his first (but not only) flat of the trip. Only his had ripped a pretty big hole in the tire. Just as we were thinking of booting the tire and hoping we had something smaller than a twenty to do it with, Joyce showed up in the van, and Ray was able to get his spare tire out of his luggage. That’s how on top of things Bill and Joyce were during this entire trip. We had our second “couple” experience when we arrived in Olema. The receptionist showed us to our room and made sure we knew that we could rearrange the single beds if we wished (wink wink). She was having so much fun being politically correct that we didn’t disabuse her of this incorrect assumption.
The next day was really really tough for me. We were just doing an out and back to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse which was a mere 20 miles away, so we threw in an extra eight mile climb up Mt. Vision. The climb went well, but then we hit the winds, which were strong and shifted often. I think it took as much energy to fight the cross winds as the head winds. The lighthouse was nice but for some reason I thought I needed to climb down (and back) the 300+ steps to see it. On the way back to Olema my legs felt like lead and I slipped well behind Ray. He stopped to see what had happened to me. Ray gave me half his last energy bar (I was out) and after drafting behind him for a few miles, I began to think I might be able to complete the trip. We made it back just fine. However, I wasn’t overly distressed when rain kept us from riding up Mt. Tam the next day (been there – done that). In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed playing 3 sets of 7 games of nine-ball with Richard even though he beat me 4-3 all three times.
Our last day back to Windsor was delightful with beautiful views and little traffic (until we got close to town). Ray had a flat but for some reason I didn’t, and we were back at the start by 1pm. The two men in tights had completed almost 600 miles during 11 days of cycling with over 40,000 feet of climbing three flat tires and one broken derailleur cable. We’d survived 12 happy hours and made some friends I hope we’ll see again on subsequent BAC rides.