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Pogonip - August 29, 2010

Distance: 14.4 miles Ascent: 1,891 feet Moving time: 2:06 hours

We changed plans at the last minute to accommodate someone's very active social calendar and ended up going to Pogonip and UCSC for a ride. While the original ride will have to wait for a future installment, the Pogonip ride today turned out to be a lot of fun. Our theme seemed to be doing something familiar in a different way. To start with, we knew that Highway 9 was closed, so we detoured through Felton and Henry Cowell State Park to the usual parking place, which is now the end of the road. Perhaps not too surprisingly, the parking lot was almost empty rather than almost full like usual.

After gearing up, we hit the trail, doing the usual ascent up Rincon and UCon. I found that I was feeling pretty strong...I guess the Friday night ride at Canada del Oro helped. We continued on the singletrack until we got back to the fireroad, where we started exploring lots of the narrow unnamed singletrack trails through the redwoods and manzanita. This was a lot of fun and we went on a few trails I don't think we had been on before and on some familiar trails in different direction or order. Eventually, we popped out on West Road and headed up to the water tanks at Chinquapin. To continue with our theme, we headed up the fireroad at pretty high speed to the end at Empire Grade.

After a snack break and a few goofy pictures, we headed out the the playground where the exploration bug hit me again. We headed up a singletrack to the top of the hill and then went down the far side. We regrouped at a turn to reconsider our course and Ken suggested that we go down a bit further and we all confirmed that he wanted to do that, and then I led the group down a very steep and very loose trail that went down and down and down. We finally got to a 'T' intersection where one choice was to continue down and another seemed to head toward a house. Since we had a time constraint (the early bird special??), we decided it would be wiser to head back up. We started riding but very quickly found ourselves pushing our bikes up the hill. Even pushing was very hard work and I think everyone was feeling it in their calves. Once we got to the top, it was quickly back down to the playground and out on the familiar trails (with one small additional exploration by Ken and me).

We stopped for lunch at Taqueria Vallarta in Felton. What is a bike ride without tacos?? The tacos were good size and the service was very fast, but we all agreed that our usual taquerias in Santa Cruz were a bit better.

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