Monday, September 21, 2009
Back Side of Beyond
Over the weekend, Chad and I were actually able to go for a bike ride together, as my mom was in town and was willing to watch Nimue for us. Stephan had proposed doing Mt. Hamilton (he was free as Susanne and the kids were still in Europe), so we joined up with that crew for the assualt up the front (west) side of the hill. It's interesting to note that the collection or riders in Stephan's group of friends all seem to have babies and toddlers at this point and have slowed down a bit as a result; I am a couple of years ahead of them down the process and am on the upswing of being back in pre-kid condition after escaping toddler purgatory. Riding so much with Nim on the back of the tandem does a lot to increase strength! Chad and I had a nice relaxed ride up to the observatory and enjoyed the view while waiting for everyone to regroup.
After making it to the top, everyone else rolled back down toward their cars while Chad and I rolled down the back side so we could climb that side of the hill too. I hadn't been back there in years; the shorter but steeper climb on that side proved to be quite enjoyable in the September sunshine. It's amazing how empty and rural it seems back there, a mere 20 miles from San Jose.
Wildlife spotted in the road included a taratula, vultures, turkeys, and assorted rodents. It's easy to imagine that the circling vultures are just waiting for a dehydrated cyclist to topple over and provide sustenance; we took plenty of water and avoided that fate.
Just shy of 50 miles and 7000 feet of climbing.