September 22, 2018

Puzzle Pieces

Not too hot, not too cold, not too steep, but ... not flat at all.

Red flowers and dry grass in front of canyons carpeted with trees, view from Highland Way, Santa Cruz County, California
It seemed like a good time to tackle the climb up Loma Prieta, via Mt. Bache. I felt defeated last time, and walked up the toughest section. Today I merely paused, and was surprised at how quickly my heart rate recovered. I've done quite a bit of cycling this week, and have not felt the tiredness I expected after donating blood last Saturday.

Slides have shrunken the roadway to a single lane in places, with no evidence that permanent repairs are planned, much less imminent. It won't take much to wash more of it away—other sections are nothing more than irregular chunks fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Bicycling over them is enough to make them rattle in place; driving over them must only accelerate the deterioration.

View of the Doppler radar antenna and cube atop Mt. Umumhum from the summit of Loma Prieta Way, Santa Cruz County, California
We had a clear view of nearby Mt. Umunhum, but Monterey Bay was lost in the haze.

Having tackled the hard climb, we moseyed through the redwoods along Highland Way. Some stretches have fresh pavement (!), some are cracked and crumbling, and two “natural” speed humps have formed and been marked with bright pink paint and “slow!” warnings—likely by fellow cyclists.

We enjoyed 3,485 feet of climbing over 37 miles on what was likely the last hot Saturday of 2018.

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