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Sierra Azul - November 15, 2009

Distance: 15.30 miles Ascent: 3403 feet Moving time: 2:13 hours

We wanted to keep the ride time short today, so we went to Sierra Azul. We started in downtown Los Gatos and warmed up on Jones before starting our ascent of Limekiln. Although we made pretty good time, the lower part was steeper than I remembered. Perhaps it was the loose rock covering some of the steeper parts that really made the trail more difficult because the trick was staying on the narrow "path" that had fewer rocks if you wanted to maintain traction while slowly climbing.

After regrouping at the Priest Rock junction, we continued our ascent of Limekiln. After a brief downhill teaser and a bit of flat, we started climbing to the top. Climb and climb and climb and climb. It seemed to keep going up. I suppose it was made worse by our ride up the lower section of the trail, but I felt I was going slower than the grade suggested on several sections near the top. I made it, but it wasn't fun.

We regrouped again at Kennedy Trail junction before riding the three hills. They were plenty steep, but it seemed better going in this direction rather than the other. After regrouping at the top of Priest Rock, we started our descent. Ken and I made good time heading down. We turned onto Limekiln and we continued with good speed until Ken flatted. After he got his tire off, he discovered that his spare tube had a Schrader valve that would not fit his Presta rim. Fortunately, I had the right type of tube and we were soon back on the trail to the bottom. We finished off the ride on Los Gatos Creek Trail.

It turned out to be a great fall day for riding. The weather was cool but not too cold (as I predicted at the start of the jackets or leggings required). We did wear jackets for the descent. The air was clear and the views were great. We all noticed that this ride seemed to be much harder (and less fun) than last week's Coe ride, which surprised us.

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