Mountain Charlie Challenge
I went to Scotts Valley today to pick up my bike, and headed over to a local bike shop for some ride recommendations, since it’s rumored to be fine biking territory.
I was thinking about maybe heading toward the coast and riding 25 miles or so. For the month or so before the Danskin triathlon I’d been focusing on shorter, somewhat flatter rides followed by runs, so I hadn’t been doing lots of hills.
I asked the friendly bike store guy what he recommended. He got out a map, and drew a magic marker route from central Scotts Valley up Mountain Charlie Road. He said it was about 20 miles. Now, he looked at me, and looked at my bike, and made the recommendation. I figured that if he thought I could do it, I ought to be able to do it.
So I had some lunch at Scotts Valley Falafel, changed, and headed uphill. The ride was absolutely gorgeous through redwood forest, with spectacular views on both sides of the road. When I got home I mapped it. The hill had about 1500 feet of elevation gain over 4 miles. The steepest parts had a grade of 17, most of the ride was about 5.
When I got to the Bay Area, I was pretty out of shape. Wherever I went, I would look up at the hills and wonder if I’d be able to ever climb them on a bike. Being able to reach a miscellaneous Santa Cruz range summit is a pretty big thrill.