My photos of the event are here: http://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Mixed-Bag-Cycling/photos/14050452/
Team All Mixed Up did an updated version of our horribly planned 2012 Mixed Terrain Ride and it was a completely different experience. It is amazing how much fun it can be eliminating 1000’ of climbing early in a ride. This year we had a little cushion arriving into all our controls except the 22hr and finish control (which we would have made except for a mechanical ((not Mine for a change)) in the last two miles). We rode down the Peninsula using the Sawyer Camp Trail then over to Saratoga using Alpine and Steven’s Canyon fire roads, over Lexington Reservoir to the top of the hill above Aptos to make the grand descent down Aptos Creek Fire Trail in perfect dusk conditions. Continued on to climb Mnt Madonna out of Watsonville coming back into San Jose through the Uvas Reservoir /Almaden Valley, continuing on to Newark to cross the Dumbarton Bridge for the final push to The City.
It was a great balanced team with Carlos, Heath, Megan and Metin. We had no major drama to speak of other than making the decision to not eat in Rio Del Mar because of the wait and heading to the little Mexican Restaurant at the corner of Freedom Blvd and Coralitas Rd only to find they were closing at 8:45. Fortunately Carlos speaks fluent Spanish and was able to get the story that they were open but closing early. The gentleman said it was only 10 minutes by bike into Watsonville and wished a good ride. We sailed into Watsonville on Heaths coattails and a good tail wind to find the California Grill with an open sign. They were nice enough to have us park our bikes inside as the hostess asked, “You’re not going to leave you nice bikes outside, are you?”. The food was organic fair grown in the Pajaro Valley. We were all satisfied with our entrees and thought it was a great find at the last minute. Great executive decision on Megan’s part. When we were getting ready to leave an hour later at 10:00 we realized the rain had started. Another 10 minutes and we were all out the door ready to climb another hill (Mnt Madonna) on a full stomach. It didn’t feel as steep in the evening but it was hard to keep from fogging up with all the rain gear on. The downhill gravel on the other side was nowhere near as fun as in the daytime but once we hit the pavement we made good time all the way into San Jose. We arrived at the Almaden Safeway to find the doors locked. WHAT? I was looking forward to a sports drink.
We proceeded to the Am/PM market across the street where we were informed by the attendant the Safeway closed at 1:00. We had arrived at 1:10. Carlos and I were enjoying the 70’s music that he was playing through the intercom while I think others in our group would have preferred something from another decade (or two). We left feeling mildly satiated and headed on our trip through SJ. While crossing the now closed bike path at the end of Autumn Avenue we met a gentleman that informed us he loved us as does Jesus. With that message in our back pockets we proceed on the now beautifully paved bike trail to the northern reaches of Santa Clara on our way to Newark. I never particularly like the roads leading to Newark through Fremont but they were much more tolerable while chatting with my team mates in the early morning hour.
We left the control on time which was a mistake as making time up the peninsula can be difficult with the lights on El Camino. We stuck to the paths and roads on the east side of Hwy 101. The sun was just coming up when we had to abandon the scenic tour to concentrate on getting to someplace with a 22 hr control opportunity. Maybe on some future Fleche I’ll get to see the San Mateo section of the Bay Trail at sunrise. We stopped at the Safeway in San Mateo just north of Hwy 92 with 10 minutes to spare and waited patiently for 7:00 to arrive. We were a few minutes late getting out of the control which is a problem with entering San Francisco from the Bay side. There are no easy ways to get to Cole Avenue without zig zagging through which takes time. Heath was going a great job guiding us and we were pretty confident we would make it in time before disaster struck. Heath picked up a flat and did the fasted tire change I have seen in some time and we were back on the road. A few blocks away his tire was going flat again. No time to patch it again, get a 24 hr receipt, put some air in and go. We arrived at the finish control 14 minutes past 9 and were glad to see everybody already there. After the laborious task of filling out the control cards we promptly filled ourselves again with a wonderful breakfast. Carlo’s wife Monica joined us. She like Carlos almost always wears a smile and is fun to be around. She offered rides back to the cars but we decided since to was mostly downhill to enjoy a relaxing spin back “home”. Thanks Carlos and Monica for the hospitality.
I would like to thank all the people that make the Fleche possible. Roland is a Saint and a great guy to work with as a Captain. Thanks for all the work. And finally, for such a great team. It is wonderful riding with people that actually enjoy riding long, hard and dirty. I can’t wait till next year.