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Mt. Madonna ... or Ben's Cyclocross Tour

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Mt. Madonna ... or Ben's Cyclocross Tour

Old 09-12-09, 09:54 PM
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Mt. Madonna ... or Ben's Cyclocross Tour

I guess I'll be the first one to start a ride report thread.

This was a strong group, but missing from here was Ramon (Bostic), Marco (uspspro), and Ruthness (Ruth). Well, Marco and Ruth were doing the Everest Challenge, and Ramon? Well, let's say thunder and lightning played a factor. I'll let him explain.

We had chrisoco, mellum76, ygduf, silentben, dl33, and bam show up. Although Bam had to leave a little early, so he headed back before our water stop at Uvas.

It was nice to actually do Hicks without climbing Bohlman/On Orbit ... and we got Hicks out of the way the first thing in the morning. It was still kicking our butts, but our legs definitely felt fresher. At the bottom, when we normally make a left turn at Almaden, they were doing some construction, and we had to cross a short dirt path to get onto the regular road. Hmmm ... this is a sign of things to come. Off roading on road bikes ...



We then proceeded for a bunch of rollies, what Ben calls mostly flat! In Ben's defense, he didn't realizes the rollies we had to do, but I have to rib him on that. The group was pushing a really fast pace, and I was not able to keep up all the way. I couldn't narrow the gap, and I ended up time trialing a good 5 miles of it, going south on Uvas Rd.

After a quick water break at a park (I remember mellum76 saying where the heck are we?), we continued on to tackle Mt. Madonna. Half of Mt. Madonna is paved, but the second half, the higher elevation portion of the climb, is unpaved, dirt, but at least it is hard packed.

Here's the paved portion ...



and the unpaved, hardpack dirt portion



What made this unique was not just that it was about 9% grade, and that the climb from bottom to summit is 1200 feet, but that you have the combination of dirt and 9% grade. This was hard ... normally, when you get to a steep section you want to climb standing up, but if you put too much power, your rear wheel will slip, and loose traction. So I had to climb the last 700 feet of it in the saddle. I'd like to see them use this as a LKHC.

Here's Chris trying to take a group shot, by leaning two bikes against each other, and placing the camera on the saddle, and hitting the self timer. We'll have to wait for Chris to upload the results.



Off we go onto lunch, and the fast descent down Hecker Pass. I can only imagine how fast the tandem would have gone down this stretch, but I was being very cautious down this stretch. There were a few tight turns, and since I wasn't familiar with these switchbacks, caution was the order of this descent.

I think lunch was at Watsonville, but not sure. Anyways, it was in a remote area, and we stopped off at a general store, which had everything you'll need in a small little farm town. They had food, first aid, old trinkets like earplugs (not walkman headsets) ... they even had an old fashioned phone from the 1800's.



Next climb up ... Eureka Canyon. This climb was not a majorly advertised part of the route, but it was still pretty significant climb. It was 8 miles, and 1600 feet climbing. The grade itself wasn't too bad, ranging anywhere from 4-8%, but you gotta remember this is after doing 60 miles, and about 6000 feet of climbing already.

Oh, as if we didn't have enough off-roading for this ride, in order to get back to the cars, we had to go through Lexington Dam, and then traverse ... you guessed it ... unpaved, dirt roads, leading all the way back to downtown Los Gatos.

Note the sign ... Walk your bike ... we didn't walk our bikes.





This was a definitely a different type of ride than we have done in the past. Thanks Ben for that adventure. Now we gotta all wash down our bikes.



More pics at https://spingineer.smugmug.com/Cyclin...47585572_qXzVL
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Old 09-12-09, 11:27 PM
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Too freakin' awesome. I'm jealous, I really wanted to do this ride but on-call and prior commitments got in the way. Next time fo'sho.
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Old 09-12-09, 11:30 PM
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Great report, thanks for sharing, looks like a good ride.
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Old 09-13-09, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
Rad.

Did you guys start after the chance-of-storminess faded? I was going up Hamilton this morning, seeing lightning strikes at the higher elevations.

Imagine how fun those steep dirt roads would've been had they been muddy.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by x136 View Post
Rad.

Did you guys start after the chance-of-storminess faded? I was going up Hamilton this morning, seeing lightning strikes at the higher elevations.

Imagine how fun those steep dirt roads would've been had they been muddy.
I think so. We didn't hear or witness any lightning or thunder strikes. We did luck out, as it was not wet anywhere on the course, so we were spared of the muddiness.
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Old 09-13-09, 09:08 PM
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I'm just getting to this thread now. I spent Sunday morning thoroughly washing my bike, and shoes, after yesterday's adventure.

Ben has a twisted sense of humor.

First thing, out the gate, and we're climbing Hicks.

Next up was a long stretch of rollers where everyone decided that it was GO time. Pacelines were the order of the day here. (We missed you Ramon).

Climbing the dirt trail, on Mt. Madonna, was fun - my first semi-off-road excursion. I'm still not completely sold on it, but it did begin to grow on me.

We had an awesome descent, from Watsonville back towards Los Gatos (?), which was the best part of the ride for me.

Thanks Ben, and crew, for another great ride.
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Old 09-14-09, 10:43 AM
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Yes it was a great ride. Thanks for organizing Ben. I have a bunch of photos. I must deal with them and will post some later tonight.
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Old 09-14-09, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
Who's this giant dude??

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Old 09-14-09, 12:52 PM
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Some thoughts:

Climbing Hicks was nice in the morning when it was still pretty cool out.

The group got three bee stings all within a few miles of each other. Mine was on the ankle and still itches even two days later.

The "flat" section along McKean and Uvas roads still had 700+ feet of climbing

The dirt section of Mt. Madonna was harder than I remembered. The average grade may be 9% but there are plenty of steeper sections that must be powered through while at the same time being careful not to spin out the back tire. This ends up somehow working different muscles .. or maybe just working the same muscles differently. Either way it takes more effort than riding up the same grade with "unlimited" traction that a paved surface provides.

I really enjoyed stopping for lunch at the Casserly Store. I got a pastrami sandwich, large gatorade, and a big macadamia nut cookie for $6.35. Everything here cost half as much as the junction store from the previous week's Hamilton ride.

The guy who runs the place is pretty nice and was asking where we had ridden from and what route we were taking back. He looked to be Chinese but spoke English to us and Spanish to his Mexican customers. There's a really eclectic collection of goods for sale here. From memory: a pair of sidi cycling shoes, a bubble shaped plexiglass skylight maybe 2'x6' big, a faux stone fountain with water gurgling through it, giant rubber boots, an old bike with rusty spokes. It's kind of like a permanent garage sale.

Hazel Dell was even nicer than I remembered from the previous time I'd ridden it. It felt like a few of the roads we did during this ride were "secret" roads, this one included, and it was fun to share them with the group. Maybe it's cheesy but I had a nice warm fuzzy feeling here just being out on the bike on a beautiful day on a remote country road with good company.

At the end of Hazel Dell, Chris O's seat bag zipper failed and we stopped to pick up the spilled contents and to try and repair the bag. I guess the repairs held because nothing else fell out for the rest of the ride.

Upon hitting Eureka Canyon my energy was really low. I let the group open up a gap ahead of me and set a pace I was comfortable with and that didn't drive my heart rate up too high. Even though the road isn't too steep I knew it climbed for 1500' or so. About halfway up I realized that I could still see the group ahead of me when the road would straighten out and so I decided to give chase. Eventually I reeled them in only to be dropped by ChrisO and Donald a short while later

Once Eureka Canyon turned into Highland road I got a flat up front. There was nothing in my tire to cause a puncture and I still haven't inspected my old tube to find out the cause. I haven't even cleaned my bike yet!

We took a quick stop at the Summit Store and then after that Old Santa Cruz highway was as awesome a descent as ever. Michael I think this might be the one you're referring to. Then a brief excursion on Hwy 17 that I had neglected to mention in my original post. Then the dirt section along the Los Gatos Creek trail. It was slightly amusing to see mountain bikers walking their bikes up one of the hills

I wasn't sure what kind of turnout a ride like this would generate. We had 7 people at the start but then Bogdan had to cut out early to attend a wedding. Everyone handled the dirt like champs and I think a good time was had by all. Thanks to everyone who came and made yet another memorable BF ride
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Old 09-15-09, 11:06 AM
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Here are some photos from the ride. You can check this link - Ben's Mt. Madonna ride - for my full set of photos.

Group shot at the top of Mt. Madonna
L-R: (some of) dl33, mellum76, spingineer, chrisoco, silentben, ygduf


ygduf climbing Mt. Madonna


spingineer near the top of Mt. Madonna


Obligatory Cows in field shot (with dl33)




Look, ma


**it happens


Highway Hoppin' (just for a minute)


On some trails



Last edited by chrisoco; 09-16-09 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 09-15-09, 01:28 PM
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Your images are pwned
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Old 09-15-09, 01:59 PM
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Sounds like a nice, change-of-pace ride. Thanks for the report!
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Old 09-15-09, 04:16 PM
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I haven't replied to this yet because, I don't know why.

I enjoyed the ride. The dirt climb was OK. Hard as hell though, for me. My garmin kept showing 10-12%, and climbing that pitch seated in dirt (some dusty spots in the troughs) was difficult, but picking the line and watching for large rocks made it go by quickly. I guess I would say it was kind of fun.

The dirt descents/flats at the end sucked for me. Ben turned off the paved road so quickly a few of us missed it. I ended up putting a foot down in dirt/gravel while waiting for my turn and had tons of difficulty getting clipped back in. Speedplay cleats + little pebbles = really tiny platform pedals. It took me about 5 minutes at the 2nd descent to work some rocks out and get back on the bike. The flat was ok, I managed to pass a handful of MTB guys, but I felt silly doing it.

The back roads after lunch were amazing. Just long mild descents, perfect for me.

I ended the day feeling pretty good. That's a change as I've been feeling pretty toasted after every ride lately. I'm not riding this week, and trying to overload on sleep. The Knoxville garmin routes I can find show about 13k climbing over 201 miles. Long day ahead.
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Old 09-15-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 1jacktripper View Post
Who's this giant dude??

You wonder why I complain about climbing. Not a cycling body type I tell you.

I have to ride a bike as big as Donald up every hill too.
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Old 09-15-09, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
You wonder why I complain about climbing. Not a cycling body type I tell you.

I have to ride a bike as big as Donald up every hill too.
and you think we have a prototypical cycling body?
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Old 09-16-09, 12:02 AM
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I was able to view Chris's photos at the photobucket gallery

Thanks Chris and Ron for making the effort to document our shenanigans. A lot of times I'm too lazy or maybe too focused on just riding that I don't take pictures but it's always nice having something to look at afterward
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Old 09-16-09, 12:24 AM
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Thanks, Ben. I posted the photos on BikeForums, then just noticed tonight that were removed. That's because I subsequently moved them into a new photo album so the links were broken. So I did fix that.

There are some good photos there, especially for the guys on the ride that may be in them, but I wanted to post only 10 and my selection process may have been somewhat lacking.
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Old 09-16-09, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
You wonder why I complain about climbing. Not a cycling body type I tell you.

I have to ride a bike as big as Donald up every hill too.
You're certainly putting in more work climbing than the rest of us little guys. It's amazing you're a tireless mountain goat when you see hills.

BTW, like the no-hands riding picture.
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Old 09-16-09, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisoco View Post
Here are some photos from the ride. You can check this link - Ben's Mt. Madonna ride - for my full set of photos.

Group shot at the top of Mt. Madonna
L-R: (some of) dl33, mellum76, spingineer, chrisoco, silentben, ygduf


ygduf climbing Mt. Madonna


spingineer near the top of Mt. Madonna


Obligatory Cows in field shot (with dl33)




Look, ma


**it happens


Highway Hoppin' (just for a minute)


On some trails


Ron, you're looking positively svelte!
And that dirt trail looks FUN. Anyone up for one of ConstandRider's mixed terrain rides?
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Old 09-16-09, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
Ron, you're looking positively svelte!
+1
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Old 09-16-09, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
Ron, you're looking positively svelte!
Thanks ... I appreciate the complements. Positive reinforcements is always welcome
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