Our favorite century is the Sequoia, put on by our local club, the Western Wheelers. I’ve got long history with the club, going back to the day when a subset of the membership was essentially a farm club for the local racing teams (Pedali Alpini, Belmont Bicycle Club and San Jose Bicycle Club, all arch-rivals).
For the past many years, we’ve sponsored a special, “secret” soda stop at the top of the final climb (lately, Tunitas Creek), as well as supplying a mechanic for that rest stop. And for the past many years, it’s always worked out where we had a mechanic from the shop who could take care of the bike end of things, and a willing club volunteer, Sal, who took care of the soda part. Until this year! Sal couldn’t spare the time away from his business this year, and Patrick, our Service Manager in Redwood City, messed up his leg (yes, doing something silly on a bicycle) and wouldn’t be able to stay on his feet that long.
So this year I got to experience the Sequoia from the other side of the counter, as it were, taking care of both the sodas (note to self: it’s not possible to have too much Diet Coke!) and mechanical stuff. Of the two , there was a whole lot more activity on the soda side!
Hope everyone who rode it had a fantastic time. You sure couldn’t complain about the weather, which was great, not even fog at the coast, and, since it’s the Sequoia, the support is first-rate too!
On our way to the Sequoia Century. Looked like, and was, a very nice day!
I went to bed last night not knowing what I’d be waking up to; the weather report said it was going to rain during the night, let up for a while, and then showers throughout the day. Not the weather report you want to hear for the day of the Sequoia Century, one of my favorite rides, and an essential part of getting Kevin in shape for France. I had a “Plan B” in place, getting my rain bike ready and opting for the 100k instead of 100 miles if I woke up to rain. Even that wouldn’t be much fun; two hours of rain is about as much as I can take and still consider it “fun”; anything past that is pretty miserable.
Coyotes along Skyline
But when the alarm went off at 6:30am (yuck!), I looked out the window and saw dry roads and broken skies. I got Kevin up about 15 minutes later, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and by 7:20am we were out the door and riding towards the start, at the Palo Alto VA hospital, a half hour away. Back in the day we would have driven, but why? For the Sequoia Century, it makes more sense to start from home and end at home, since it comes within 3 or 4 miles on the return. When we got to the start things were pretty quiet for a sold-out ride; I suspect quite a few people assumed the worst and didn’t even set their alarm clocks. They missed a great day to ride!
Kevin at the Boulder Creek rest stop
Oh sure, it wasn’t great by historical standards, but in my revisionist weather world, any day that it’s not actually raining is a good, even great day to ride. We’ve suffered through so much these past five months, so much rain to be specific, and sure it’s great to not have to worry about a water shortage, but from a purely selfish standpoint, droughts are great for the bicycle business and it’s not such a bad thing to get people into water conservation because California’s future is going to have even more people, and thus more demand on resources, than we have today.
Saw quite a few of our customers on the ride, including Sam (and fan of Amy in our Los Altos store), and everyone was having a good time… with the exception of the guy we came across on the Bear Creek Road descent who’d had a run-in with a car and had likely broken his hip or pelvis, an injury that takes quite a while to heal. Bear Creek (which runs between Boulder Creek and Skyline) is infamous for careless and callous drivers, and today was unfortunately no exception. But the high points included seeing three coyotes (a pair up on Skyline and another walking across the road on the Alpine descent) and watching Kevin kick into high gear twice, first on the upper stretches of Highway 9 climbing up from Boulder Creek, and then again on the upper parts of Tunitas Creek. This was notable because he was pretty spent before finding his legs again, and it’s now becoming clear to him that his performance climbing is a function not just of his legs but his mind as well. And, of course, thanks go to the Western Wheelers Bicycle Club for an exceptionally well-run event!
Chain Reaction's traditional "Secret Soda Stop" at the top of Tunitas Creek, manned by Sal (his 5th or 6th year at this!) and Patrick, who provided mechanical services.
It wasn’t our fastest century; 14.5mph average speed, compared to 15.7 on last-Sunday’s Santa Cruz loop, but at 102 miles & 9264ft of climbing, it was quite a bit tougher (and yes, I’ll admit that our 15.7mph average the prior week was aided a bit by some strong tail winds on the coast). But we did make it back within 30 seconds of our planned time of 3:45pm, allowing us to take showers and get dressed before Kevin’s 4pm graduation open house. –Mike–