Friday, October 19, 2012

Away from it all

It's impossible to look away from the fall leaves in Stevens Creek. The light is hitting them from every direction. They radiate sunlight.

Getting on the bike can be an irrational act.

Two days ago an email reminder came for a yearly ride, an informal ride, an excuse to see friends. But I'll skip this year. Better to create something new, not recreate the past.

This morning I liberated the Seven from the garage. Lubed her chain and pumped her tires. Gathered a change of clothes, toothbrush, not much else. Headed into Stevens Canyon, up Redwood Gulch and Highway 9 to the ridge. Then south.

After a month off the bike, what the heck am I thinking?

Get me out of here.

It takes a day to ride to Monterey. And it takes at least a day on the bike to become obedient, patient. Those impulses to escape, rebel, destroy need calming. Calming. Mundane thoughts provide diversion.

    A friend calls out to me from the side of Summit Road. Dogs in the back of the car. Says "you're on the way to Kim's ride, aren't you". Yes, yes I am!

    Summit Store. On solo tours I never pass without stopping. Twice baked potato and limonata. Mmmm. No Summit Store, no trips to Monterey.

    The surface on Highland Way/Eureka Canyon is as bad as it's ever been. And that's saying a lot. Both hands firmly on the drops, photos impossible. With no one taking photos, how will Jerry Brown ever know it needs fixing?

    Watsonville, horrendous traffic. When will this poor town leave its car culture behind? Will they ever figure out how to ride a bike?


    Elkhorn Slough. More people living out here than I remember. The smell of decaying algae is somehow...calming. At least it's natural.

    The Elkhorn Superette upgraded its sign. On the Seven, the 5 little hills are behind me before I notice. They're over with. Onward.

    In Castroville, fields of bold green artichokes in the fog. The bike path. Dusk coming early.

    At the Monterey Hostel Tom checks me in. He's worked here at least 5 years. One time, he held a bed  as I biked in the dark through Seaside, past the seedy motels. Held it past 10pm when the front desk closes. On the phone he said "you don't want to stay there".

    He gives restaurant recommendations, three new ones!


    1. The Superette! We went past there on DBD! (Ok, I was a roadie, but the route went there!)
      Redwood Gulch is awful. I have done it twice and it got easier - but mostly because I knew to stop and not attempt to slug it out in one go.

      1. 1.35 miles (2k). Average grade 9.7%. Maximum grade (on the outside of a switchback) 18%.

        I do it by telling myself there are 3 steep sections, and the last one is not as long/steep as the others. But the Seven just wants to go straight on without counting the sections....