Thursday, October 31, 2013

Flattie metric century- riding from San Jose to Gilroy and back

Sunflower field in the Coyote Valley
On Sunday, I had the great pleasure of riding my first metric century since my crash a few years ago. 

nice views up in Santa Teresa park in San Jose
I've been hankering for a flat long ride, and I jumped at the chance to join an informal century/metric ride last Saturday. 

Descending out of Santa Teresa park in San Jose
The ride started in Santa Teresa park in San Jose. Perched atop a big hill, the park has wonderful views in all directions. I rolled out at about 9:30 am, about an hour after the century riders departed. My route heavily overlapped the last 65 miles of the century and I wondered if any of the faster century riders would catch me.

Connecting to the Coyote Creek Trail in San Jose. The creek is quite wide at this point!
After a short ride on suburban boulevards, the route continued onto the Coyote Creek trail. The route wound past suburban houses, through some sort of electric power facility, then turned more rural. It was enjoyable, or would have been if I didn't have a blinding headache. The headache eased when I kept my eyes unfocused, so I rode most of the route this way, which was an interesting experience to say the least. Fortunately, there was hardly anyone else on the trail (and I was going very slowly).

Rolling by farms in the Gilroy region
I started to feel better at the southern trailhead (where there is water and facilities). I picked up the pace, and headed onward on suburban streets. Soon, the area turned rural and I was pedaling past farming operations, including a garlic field at one point.
Farm stand near Gilroy
The miles flew by, and soon I was in Gilroy at around mile 30 of the route. As an aside, this was my first longer ride using Dan's Garmen 800 in route sheet mode, in which the unit displayed my next turn, counted down the miles, and beeped if I missed the turn. This turned out to be a really nice way to do a new ride-- I could kind of immerse myself in the riding and the views, and the unit would beep if I missed my turn. I really didn't need to pay much attention to the directions, a plus on this route which had a lot of turns.

Hill top grape field on Oak Glen Ave
After a lunch-break in Gilroy (mexican bakery yummies), I rolled out through Gilroy and on into Morgan Hill on flat farm roads. The route headed up into the hills at Sycamore Ave and continued onto Oak Glen Avenue which is really a gem of a road: winding, rolling, great views through a canyon, grape fields, and scenic reservoirs. What's not to like?

Chesbro reservoir
Ok, there was some serious headwind starting in this part of the route, but I'd been forewarned and it really wasn't that bad. Soon after the reservoir, there was a ripping descent back down into the valley, and a return to flat, windy Santa Teresa boulevard, which I took all the way back to the start.

View climbing back up into Santa Teresa park. Nothing like a 500 foot climb at the end of a long ride. SLOW
I ended up riding the entire thing alone: the century riders stopped for a long lunch in Gilroy and I ended up finishing about two hours before any century rider, including Dan who flatted several times (there was a ton of glass on the shoulder, especially near Gilroy and on Santa Teresa).

What a great ride! I felt really good riding and the miles largely flew by. This is a great route for bay area riders who want to try a longer ride with limited climbing. Definitely the flattest 60 miles route I've ridden in the area.

Ride stats:
62 miles
About 1500 feet of climbing (500 from the final climb back into the park-- start at Santa Teresa Blvd to eliminate this climb)
Route map here:
Thanks to Dan for route planning and to Lane for organizing the ride and bar-b-cue!

Sunset and the hills of the Almaden Quicksilver park


Christine said...

I'm so proud of you. I hope to see you T-Day. Stuff going on and I'm missing out....

Lane Parker said...

Sorry for not arranging some folks to ride with you. I asked around but most wanted to go north with the 100 milers then turn back after the Coyote Creek Trail. I'm glad you came out and finish the ride.

NadiaMac said...

hi Lane, I had a great time and no need to apologize! I'm super slow right now and I don't mind riding alone. thanks for providing the motivation for me to get out and ride!

NadiaMac said...

Thanks Christine! I'm not sure whether I will be at t-giving lowkey but hope to see you soon