Mountain Charlie

| September 30, 2008 1:01 pm

by Jerry Schonewille

The ACTC riding academy held a bicycling touring class September 20-21, 2008 that included a self contained overnight ride from Los Gatos to New Brighton State Park in Capitola. I know the leader, Tony Le, and sort of invited myself along.

First, I have to say I am very impressed with they way Tony conducts his class and the skills of the 8 riders that joined in. I was honored to be among them.

New Brighton State Park has a very nice Hiker/Biker site that is popular and used by tourist riding down the Pacific Coast. I think there must have been 15-20 people in the site overnight. My biggest impression was that I saw four Surly touring bikes. They are becoming popular (and hard to get, I’m told).

I had assumed that the return route would be on Eureka Canyon, one of my favorites, but was pleased that it would be Mountain Charlie instead. I love Mountain Charlie and had often wondered what it would be like on a loaded touring bike. Now I would find out.

Tony’s route from Capitola to the base of Mnt Charlie was different from various routes I’ve ridden before. I have to say, this one is probably the nicest and I will use again in future rides.

I know Mnt Charlie well and I know where the elephants are buried. There are three nasty sections. The first, leading to the purple submarine house is the worse. I didn’t even try riding that section. I was able to ride the second steep section but it really pushed my heart rate to the limit. I could have ridden the third steep section except I hadn’t recovered yet from the second section yet so I got off and walked. Not bad overall. As always, it is not my legs that limit me – it’s my cardiovascular system.

Thanks Tony for a great weekend!

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