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Canada del Oro Night Ride - July 24, 2009

Distance: 11.6 miles Ascent: 2510 feet Moving time: 1:43 hours

The Santa Clara Open Space Authority held another authorized night ride at Canada del Oro, so we had to go. These ride are always fun and it is a chance to ride at night. The OSA does a great job.

We started at sunset and did the usual route: up Mayfair and Longwall to the summit for a view of the lights in San Jose. I did an out and back to the boundary of Calero County Park on Bald Peak and then we descended Longwall and rode back on Mayfair. With the later start, most of the climb was in the dark which was pretty nice. Since most if it was climbing, I only used my small LED light until we got to the summit where I turned on the big light.

We were surprised by the number of ants we say, especially along the top. There were a many ant holes that were swarming with ants. I don't know if it was the cooler night weather, abundance of food (there were some beetles near some of the holes) or mating season, but some of the holes were had a 6 to 12 inch diameter solid black mass of ants at the openings. Some other riders also mentioned that they were surprised by the number of ants. We also saw several bats (it was neat to see and hear them fly right by us) and a small fox.

I suppose the most notable aspect of the ride was Don broke his Gravity Dropper seatpost. On the way down Longwall he said it bent backwards and then broke. There were no jumps, obstacles or other issues that might have over-stressed the seatpost and Don generally doesn't ride too aggressively, so we couldn't explain why it broke. Don had to take the saddle off and put it in his pack and then strapped the remaining post to his water bottle holder (it was still cabled to the handlebar) and had to ride standing up the entire way back. He got quite a workout!

Once we were done, we ate sandwiches, chips, brownies and had a beer. The rangers were supportive of this, so they got some brownies too. It was a great way to end the ride.

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