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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
Rained out in April, the TB Workers Ride will now take place on Saturday, September 4, with a different start location. We will be riding out of Watsonville from Pajaro Valley High School. Lunch will be at Gizdich Ranch (famous for their fresh berry pies that are HUGE and delicious!).
Directions: Take Highway 1 South towards Watsonville/Monterey. Exit onto CA-152 E/Main St toward Watsonville/Gilroy, turn right at S. Green Valley Road, continue onto Harkins Slough Road to the high school at 500 Harkins Slough Road.
There are seven routes to choose from:
Route 1 – 113 miles with Billy Goats: Aptos to Corralitos, Eureka Canyon, Hazel Dell
Route 2 – 102 miles with Billy Goats: Aptos to Corralitos, Eureka Canyon
Route 3 – 66 miles with Billy Goats: Hazel Dell
Route 4 – 55 miles with No Billy Goats/Grizzly Bear Credit for TB Worker’s Ride
Route 5 – 37 miles with Billy Goats: Aptos to Corralitos, Hazel Dell
Route 6 – 25 miles with Billy Goats: Hazel Dell
Route 7 – 19 miles with No Billy Goats/Grizzly Bear Credit for TB Worker’s Ride
For additional information contact Doug Gillison, 378-0224.
Hope to see you out there!
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