To Santa Cruz

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August 8 – 66 miles, 2,860 feet

Lots of urban riding followed by some very rural routes. Flat to 15%. Smooth pavement to a gravel path. But no Highway 17 despite going through Los Gatos and that was a huge plus.

(Out Of Los Gatos)

The ride went through Watsonville and past a number of strawberry fields. I have included a photo of some of the foreigners who are taking jobs from Americans by picking strawberries.  Of course, I am not sure how many Americans would be willing to do that work. But their jobs are being stolen nonetheless. Right?

I have of course driven Highway 17 and knew that I didn’t want to ride a bicycle on that twisty, highly trafficked road that has no shoulders and an abundance of reckless drivers. In driving on that road I hadn’t realized that there is a path and another road that parallels much of 17. Some of the path is gravel and one of the paved sections involves a painful climb that tops out at 15%.

(This hit 15%)

The bike route also involved roads that were no where near Hwy. 17. For some reason, I enjoyed those climbs of up to 8%. Perhaps it was because the surfaces were good and definitely it was because I wasn’t having to deal with traffic. It also helped that I was feeling strong which in turn was due in part to the just mentioned 2 factors.

I realized how much I had climbed when it came time to go back down. The descent was interesting because there were some sections that had signs posted saying that bikes could use the entire lane. That made for some fast descents because I was much less inclined to ride my brakes – yea for disc brakes! – when I wasn’t worried about a car or truck trying to pass me where there was barely room to do so. I didn’t feel too badly about taking the entire lane when going downhill because I wasn’t holding up traffic too much and I would pull over when I could to let the vehicles that had accumulated behind me pass. However, I was less confident when going up hill because I knew I was going so slowly that impatient drivers would go ahead and pass me even though they weren’t supposed to. That happened more than once.

We had a room right near Santa Cruz’s famous Boardwalk. The people watching, and walk on the beach, were fun. We each had a chicken salad sandwich and ice cream for dinner.


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