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Saratoga Gap - September 21, 2008

Distance: 22.04 miles Ascent: 3,633 ft, Moving time: 3:02 hours,

Our last minute decision process resulted in choosing Saratoga Gap this week to make sure Ken could get to an appointment later. We decided to mix things up a bit this time, so we started from the bottom of Redwood Gulch. We agreed that warming up was overrated, so we started with some immediate hill climbing up the road, picking up 600 feet in 1.1 miles. We turned onto Highway 9 and picked up another 1200 feet in 3.2 miles. This was all road work but none of us are in a hurry to enter the Tour de France.

Once at the top, we hit the dirt through Saratoga Gap, Long Ridge and Skyline Ridge OSPs. In the interest of time, we rode exited at the Skyline Ridge parking lot and rode up Highway 35 to Page Mill and went to Montebello OSP to ride Ancient Oak, Skid Road, and Stevens Canyon trail to get back to our starting point. Highlights included:

  1. While taking a short break at the Charcoal Road intersection, another rider came down the trail. We were well out of the way but he must have been distracted by Anna as he ran directly into the short signpost (about 2 feet high) as he came into the open area. He managed to save it, but it looked like it had to hurt quite a bit. Better luck next time!
  2. We saw quite a few newts (or salamanders) from the bridge over Peters Creek. With just a bit of looking we saw 6-7 hidden in the water.
  3. We saw a huge bobcat at the bottom of the downhill section at the Christmas Tree Farm. It brownish-red in color with a fairly short tail, so we thought it must be a bobcat even though it was so big and oddly colored. It quickly disappeared into the brush, so we could not get a picture.
  4. Ken developed problems with his front brake that caused them to drag and even lockup. We suspect that he needs to clean the brake pistons to clear out some of the dust that has probably accumulated over the very dry summer.
  5. We noticed lots of downed trees (at least 4 had fallen across different trails). There has not been a major storm lately, so we suspect that it is so dry that the trees are suffering and are susceptible to problems that would not normally be an issue for them.

There were quite a few people on the trails today (Hi Anne!). It was a good ride for all of us. Everyone was satisfied that we got in enough hill climbing. Cold beer and Doritos hit the spot afterwards!

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