I decided since they were going to give me a half-day yesterday, I was going to take the LONG way home. And not like I did last time:
(Stanford)-Serra-Foothill Exp-Stevens Canyon-Mt. Eden-Pierce-Saratoga/Sunnyvale-De Anza-Sunnyvale/Saratoga-Sunnyvale-Borregas-(Home)
I decided to go all crazy-like and head further up Stevens Canyon and go on Redwood Gulch to 9 and down into Saratoga that way instead of Mt. Eden and Pierce. It can't be all that bad, I thought. My mistake became obvious rather quickly.
Once starting up Redwood Gulch, I realized that I'd never been this way before on a bike... I'd only gone the other way (downhill) before in a car, many years ago. Oops. I began to question my sanity. A little later on, I realized that the 36x26 on my 35+-lb. 8-speed commuter bike might be an inadequate climbing gear. I kept looking for the top. I stopped to catch my breath and eat. I screamed out "what have I done?!" I considered turning around. As I continued to heat up it occurred to me that it was a little warm to be grinding my knees out on my all-steel beast up this ungodly grade, and I stopped for like the 5th time to catch my breath and cool off. My legs expressed some displeasure, my knees wanted me to go home. I wondered where the end was... then remembered that my shiny new Droid 2 has a GPS. Turns out I was only about a half-mile from 9 and a left turn towards Sunnyvale.
Oh yeah, 32 miles from Stanford to my house with one cat 3 climb... on my commuter. Definitely the wrong tool for the job.
Someday, I'll have to try that on my CX bike with the 34x28. I've done Hamilton three times and not been quite so despondent as I was on Redwood Gulch yesterday. Yay for front derailleurs.