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Canada del Oro Night Ride - May 15, 2009

Distance: 9.2 miles Ascent: 2047 ft. Moving time: 1:24 hours

I went to the night ride at Rancho Canada del Oro last night and had a great ride. About 28 people turned out for the ride sponsored by the Santa Clara Open Space Authority. The weather was just about perfect and the trails were in good shape. It was fun participating in an officially encouraged night ride!

Since this was an officially sanctioned night ride, we had to check-in, sign a waiver, get a glow stick for the bike and get a map (if needed) before starting the ride. The rangers were well organized and glad to talk to people and answer questions about the open space. After checking-in at the ranger table, a group of four started up Mayfair at about 7:40 PM. This was a bit early and it was still light out, but we couldn't hang around the parking lot any longer.

We made pretty good time up Mayfair. Just after going through the first gate, we discovered a herd of cattle across the trail. This was not too big a deal, but the last steer I passed decided that I needed to be chased. It was fun for a moment or two before he tired out. We continued up and over Mayfair and re-grouped at the Longwall junction. We decided that singletrack is always better, and turned left up Longwall. We made pretty good time on this trail too, regrouping at the picnic table just before the final climb to the summit.

We had a nice city light view of San Jose from the summit. Another rider was at the summit with his camera and a tripod taking pictures. After taking a few ourselves, it was time to turn on all of the lights for the descent. Rather than ride the fire road, we decided to retrace our tracks on the singletrack all the way down. This was a lot more fun as our field of vision was limited to what we could see in the beams of our lights. Surprisingly, we did not run into too many people still coming up. One surprise was the herd of cattle. I had forgotten about them. They were lying next to the trail, looking like boulders except for their eyes which glowed with the reflection of our headlights.

We had a good time and the rangers were very pleased with the turnout. This was the last scheduled night ride, but they indicated that they may schedule some more in June or July based on the robust turnout. They also indicated that they may start the sign-ins later and stay in the parking lot later so people can start and end in the dark. If you might be interested in this type of a ride, check the RCDO web site periodically to see if they have scheduled another night ride.

This was fun without having to bend any rules. I thank the RCDO staff and the volunteers that helped put on this event. They were encouraging, friendly and organized. Nice job!

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