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Canada del Oro Night Ride - September 26, 2008

Distance: 10.51 miles Ascent: 2,284 ft, Moving time: 1:50 hours

This was a night ride that the public was invited to participate in, so we did. The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority hosted a night ride at Canada del Oro. This team wants people to come to their park and they were eager to put their best foot forward. There are very few places available for night riding (well, only Coe), so this was kind of a treat. The weather was perfect.

We were the second car there at about 6:15. After signing in, unpacking, prepping and mingling with the other riders (about 40-50 people showed up), we headed up the trail as the sun was setting. We caught up to a larger group on the way up on Mayfair and decided to ride with them. After a brief "star check" with everyone's lights turned off, we continued up the hill to the bottom of Longwall Canyon. Last time I was there, we turned right at this junction and did the steep climb. This time we went up Longwall and Bald Peaks trails. The large group stopped just short of the summit. After a brief pause there, our "gang of four" continued up to the top.

The top was a treat. We again turned off our lights. The first thing we noticed was huge number of stars. The Milkyway was clearly visible as a white band across the sky. We could also see across the valley to where other riders were making their way back. Their lights were clearly visible as a oddly out-of-place beacon on the dark hillside.

We decided to complete the loop by descending on the steep Catamount fire road. The long spell of dry weather and the higher speeds due to descending made this section very dusty. I was riding last and it was hard to see the trail details much of the time. We stopped and chatted with one of the rangers on the trail. He said that the open space authority has approach Calero County Park management about open their trails to bikes, but Calero brushed them off. What bad attitude! We got to the bottom of Catamount and began our climb up Mayfair and then down to the parking lot to complete our ride.

I thought that the entire staff that we met was great. They did a good job of checking people in and out, they had marked the trail in appropriate places including a small wooden bridge that has no railings, and had one guy out on the trail. The biggest thing was their attitude. They were excited to have people there. When we returned, they came over to see if we had a good time. I couldn't help but be impressed. I am not talking about a single person...the whole team shared this enthusiasm. The MidPen staff could learn a lot about good attitude from this team.

The SCC OSA team seemed very happy with the turnout and the comments from all of the riders. I think everyone asked them to do this again (we certainly did...several times) and I think there is a good chance they will. If you were there and had a good time or if you would like to go to a future night ride, send them an e-mail through their web site.

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