2018 Summertime Ride

Here’s a video of today’s ride, my favorite regular route. I added some captions to highlight some unique areas of the trails I’m grateful to call home. It’s about 20 miles and takes about 2 hours, starting at Highway 9 and Pipeline Road through Henry Cowell State Park, and continuing up 17 Turns to Mailboxes for the first downhill. Then, it’s a fireroad climb back up the mountain via Long Meadow in Wilder Ranch to Twin Gates; on to Sweetness, the second downhill. The warm-up and cool-down through Henry Cowell are perfect for this ride, and I’m super appreciative I can ride these trails with just a short drive from my house in Ben Lomond!

The birds and wildlife are always a huge motivator to do anything outside around here; I’ve seen a mountain lion on Mailboxes trail before. Today I saw several baby lizards, only about an inch long, which was a reminder to watch out for hatching reptiles on these hot, late-Summer days.  Having access to this stunning outdoor escape is one of the main reasons I moved to Santa Cruz in the first place, almost twenty years ago. These mountains feel like home, and though I’ve ridden these trails hundreds of times, they never get old – endless fun!

Summertime rides like these set the stage for content, happy evenings; under balmy conditions, a symphony of insects and a full moon fill the sky and the senses. I savor the Summer! I am beyond thankful for this time off, and for the freedom, flow, and grace it brings. Time is the biggest gift of all, and I don’t take it for granted. As a teacher, I know exactly when my time off is, and take advantage of it while I can. August 20 will be here before I know it.

Enjoy your Summer, too; go ride your bike! It doesn’t matter what you’re riding, it’s that you’re riding – and with a smile on your face.



Today’s Long Ride

I went for a long training ride today to get ready for the Old Cabin Classic on May 19. It’s a cross-country ride throughout Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. I used to ride here all the time when I lived in Santa Cruz, and still ride Mailboxes often. But it’d been a long time, if not a couple of years, since I rode the Old Cabin Classic route: Old Cabin Trail to Enchanted Loop, to Zane Gray. I started up 17 Turns, my usual climb near Felton, and finished with Deer Antler. This year’s course is yet to be released, and is said to be a surprise. I am excited to race on homedirt again!

My new Santa Cruz Hightower LT has been phenomenal, and I rode about twenty miles and 3,000′ of climbing on it today (my AllTrails app cut out a few miles in the middle). It was fun for the first couple of hours or so, but that last hour and a half dragged on. That’s the longest I’ve been on my bike in awhile, and I am definitely going to feel it tomorrow! But it’s good training, and I saw a ton of wildlife: snakes in the trail, Wild Turkeys, deer, lizards, and birds galore. Wilder Ranch is gorgeous, with its sweeping ocean views and rolling marine terraces. With all the Spring wildflowers, the hillsides are dotted with color. The beautiful scenery was a welcome distraction to my cramping legs by the end of the ride.

Enjoy these wonderful Spring days!