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Distance: 16.9 miles Ascent: 2,617 ft. Moving time: 2:00 hours

It is the rainy season, so I am trying to be a good citizen and ride trails that hold up well in the wet. It was raining this morning, so I went to El Sereno this afternoon after the rain stopped. I wanted something different, so this time I rode up to the summit via Bohlman Road in Saratoga. The route up is completely paved, but it is pretty steep. Looking at the GPS data, it does the same amount of climbing as the Los Gatos side in 4 miles rather than 5 miles. It was a nice steady ride. Even though the temperatures were around 50 degrees, I was wearing tights and a short sleeve jersey on the way up and was plenty warm. I added a long sleeve jersey and a windbreaker at the top for the descent and the cooling evening temperature. Other than the climb up Bohlman, this was like a lot of El Sereno rides. I saw 4 other bikers on the trail and no one else.

The real story this week was poison oak. I have been riding tame places like El Sereno in the middle of winter, yet I still found a way to get a raging case of poison oak. All over both lower legs, above my right knee and a little on my right arm. I am not talking about a few itchy bumps, but something that looks like a bright red, oozing chemical burn. I tried to take a few pictures, but they didn't capture the intensity of the color or the nasty look. This was definitely a case that warranted a trip to the doctor. A shot of something, some prednisone and a prescription cream seem to have things on the way to recovery, but what a pain (literally and figuratively). I wonder if I am getting more sensitive to poison oak because my contact does not seem like it could have been that much but it was such a large and severe reaction.

How did I do this? Who knows. It is the middle of winter, I have been riding fireroads and I have been wearing tights fairly frequently ...they all should make it hard to get such a bad case. I suppose it is bound to happen sooner or later, but...

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