Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to come up with a South Bay route for a very fast century ride. I sometimes go on 50+ mile 3'ish hour training rides, and I was thinking it would not take that much more effort to push out to 100 miles on occasion. One objective would be to complete in 5 hours (total time) for a 20mph average, probably a solo ride using aero bars on an otherwise regular road bike set-up. This means avoiding hills and roads with excessive intersections. The route has to be interesting enough to make me want to ride it, and possibly more than once. 400 times around the track would not be an acceptable route!

This was what I came up with on bikely. It is biassed towards my starting point in Santa Clara and road preferences but I think it meets the bill. In brief it uses Central Expressway and Alma for a fast start, heads via Page Mill over to Portola Valley/Woodside where it does the typical Noon Ride route out to Canada Road and turn-around, and back again through Portola Valley. It then picks up Junipero Serra and Foothills Expressway before heading out through Stevens Creek County Park, Mt Eden, Piece Road, Highway 9 to Saratoga and then down to Los Gatos. From there I add on Kennedy, Shannon and the flat part of Hicks before doubling back towards Winchester and San Tomas Expressway to home.

I think this does a reasonable job of avoiding lights and hills while still picking up some nice roads so that it is a worthwhile ride in itself and not a complete chore. There's a bunch of Expressway miles in there which is necessary to link it together without an excessive number of intersections. I would not be riding this at rush hour during the week, and I think traffic could be fine if the time is well chosen. I'm a little concerned about getting killed by the winds on Canada.

Any alternate routes or suggestions on route improvements would be appreciated!
 

·
sometimereader
Joined
·
1,202 Posts
Man, that doesn't sound very flat to me. Sure, it doesn't have any monster climbs, but those smaller ones are going to slow you down a lot. But, yes, they do make it more interesting.

I'm no south bay expert, but perhaps going a little further south to McKean/Uvas (ok, not totally flat either) and/or the Coyote Creek Trail (if you can ride it at a less used time). The latter is just about completely flat.

Our group did 70 miles yesterday from Santa Cruz to Pescadero and back - mostly on Hwy 1. The highest elevation we hit was about 300 ft, but it still averaged about 45 feet of climbing per mile. Yet we were able to take advantage of the afternoon "Santa Cruz Express" - the NW wind that boosted our southbound speed by 4 or 5 mph (it sometimes has considerably more effect). So, if you really want to "cheat" to get a fast time, factor in the prevalent winds.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sometimerider said:
Man, that doesn't sound very flat to me. Sure, it doesn't have any monster climbs, but those smaller ones are going to slow you down a lot. But, yes, they do make it more interesting.
Understood - I think it adds to the challenge and definitely to the interest level. At least these are rollers and bumps that I know. I'd rather do that than waste time at intersections.

I'm no south bay expert, but perhaps going a little further south to McKean/Uvas (ok, not totally flat either) and/or the Coyote Creek Trail (if you can ride it at a less used time). The latter is just about completely flat.
Maybe, that's starting to get toward the Tierra Bella route which is very flat other than the climb up to Henry Coe. There's also the Livestrong route, if you drop Metcalf, though that route seems very stop/start. I'm going to rule out trails completely as they seem more likely to end in trouble than the roads. There's also the heat down at that end of the South Bay. I really suck in the heat. I'd say that my performance drops by 1% for every degree above 70!

So, if you really want to "cheat" to get a fast time, factor in the prevalent winds.
Yes, winds are a big factor but it is hard to time them to get a net advantage. I generally find that tail-winds do not make up for the head-wind in the other direction. Also, the Bay Area itself seems to be a 360 degrees of gentle wind situation all through the summer - wherever you go (other than in the hills), there's the wind blowing in your face or across you. Sometimes I can do a big loop on a mildly breezy day and never find that elusive tail-wind section! You are right that taking advantage of the winds are also somewhat cheating. This would be a personal challenge and one that I might repeat, and it wouldn't seem right if the only differentiating factor for a fast ride was just the wind direction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
I dont know all the roads by name, but I think iff you do some of yours and head out Santa Teresa all the way to Gilroy out 152 to Uvas and back it will be pretty close to 100 and flatter then the route you described. Of course there are some climbs you could add if you choose. I have a route I do out that way that is about 62 miles that I do in about 3:10
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,914 Posts
This was what I came up with on bikely.
Demolition of the Crystal Springs Dam bridge is set to begin in August, so you'll have to modify the route, perhaps taking Bunker Hill.

The winds from the North on Canada aren't too bad, and I'm usually on that at least once a week in the afternoon, when it's the worst.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Man, I almost got blown off the bike on Canada a few days ago. I wish I had video of me leaning my body into the wind while trying to keep the bike vertical and this was in the "down wind" direction (south)

Like UK said it seems like the wind is always in your face.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dr_John said:
Demolition of the Crystal Springs Dam bridge is set to begin in August, so you'll have to modify the route, perhaps taking Bunker Hill.
Ahh, so that's where the dam is. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
Fast? Start out at Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton. It's 18 miles you'll do in about 30 minutes. Head south to the Pinnacles where the prevailing winds will push you along with a tailwind. The only hard part is getting from Alum Rock to Mckean/Uvas - 25 south and getting someone to drop you off at Lick and pick you up at the Pinnacles. :)
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I knew I missed some important constraints out of the original post. :)
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hmm, well unsurprisingly that was much harder to do on the road than it was to put it into bikely! sometimerider was right about it being too hilly for the stated objective. The whole southern section including Mt Eden, Pierce Road, Kennedy and Shannon has very nice roads but is way too bumpy. Also Los Gatos Boulevard was a complete zoo. I enjoyed the first half especially, but I'll need to re-route the rest.

I ended up close to bonking and needed to stop for an emergency coke to revive me. It is interesting as to how different a "non-stop" solo 100 miler is to an organized century route with rest stops and a long lunch. It seems much harder in terms of physical and mental endurance to just keep riding through with minimal stopping, and not having significant rests to delineate the activity into manageable chunks. I didn't use the aero-bars and they would have helped enormously. I've learned some lessons for the next attempt (if I can find the motivation/time to repeat).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
You didn't say what your avg was! How long were you in the running for a 20mph? Does alma have a shoulder? I did it southbound for awhile from University and had to hold 400 watts plus a tailwind to justify to myself taking the lane. Hit a manhole cover there and be promptly under someone's bumper.
 

·
Back from the dead
Joined
·
20,626 Posts
We used to do a reasonably flat century by starting in Los Gatos, riding out Blossom Hill to Camden, Camden to Almaden (via Trinidad), then Almaden to McKean, and down past Calero and Uvas to Watsonville Road. Then ride towards 152. Stop at the park to pee and water up, then continue on Burchell to Hwy 152. Then 152 into town, turn right at Santa Theresa, and take it to the end, past Gavilan College. Ride over to 101, and ride 101 about 1/4 mile to the next exit, which is Hwy 25. From 25, go left on Bloomfield, then left on Frazier Lake, which takes you back to 152. We then rode 152 to Canada Road (scary), and did the Gilroy Hot Springs Loop. As great as that loop is to ride, it has a good climb, so you'll probably want to eliminate it if you are looking for flat. Anyway, get yourself on New Ave, and ride it to the end, where it hits San Martin. Take San Martin to Santa Theresa, Santa Theresa to Sycamore, and Sycamore to Oak Glen. This puts you back on the classic Uvas loop, past Chesbro Reservoir. Take Willow Springs to Santa Theresa, then Santa Theresa to Bailey, climb over and get back to Calero Reservoir. Ride back to the end of McKean, turn right, and go to Camden. Ride Camden to Redmond, Redmond to Almaden, Almaden to Coleman. Get back to Blossom Hill and you're home. I'm probably leaving something out, but that comes to about 100 miles (with the Gilroy Hot Springs loop) on some very fast roads. Figure out how to get another 10-15 miles to cover the loop and you are good.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
mohair_chair said:
We used to do a reasonably flat century by starting in Los Gatos, ...
Thanks for the route. It sounds a lot like the current Tierra Bella minus the climb to Henry Coe and joined up to Los Gatos. The only issues I have with that are the warmer temperatures in the south county in the summer, and that it is not so convenient from my starting point, but I might give it a try.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
dwgranda said:
You didn't say what your avg was! How long were you in the running for a 20mph? Does alma have a shoulder? I did it southbound for awhile from University and had to hold 400 watts plus a tailwind to justify to myself taking the lane. Hit a manhole cover there and be promptly under someone's bumper.
Yeah, I know, I did leave out some details like that. In fact, I was a bit bummed at the end of the ride and even now haven't been bothered to download the stats. It was something like 17.1 mph and 5:50 of ride time. I wanted to be honest and use the elapsed time and was disappointed when that crept over 6 hours.

I put in a pretty good show all the way through to Stevens Creek and was maintaining an average speed of around 18.5mph but that southern section did me in. It is so hard to move the average speed up by just 0.1mph on the flats and downhills, and then to see it dropping away precipitiously on the climbs kills the morale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
I never took these underpasses on the street until - as I was slowing to walking pace for the sidewalk - I saw an Asian lady in heels and dress clothes on a folding bike fly by me. Talk about things you cannot let stand! Since then I decided to HTFU and take the street, but I've since bypassed the routes since my accident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
South to Gilroy

We did a century yesterday from Los Altos to Gilroy that is pretty flat most of the way. Just the one bump in the beginning of the ride. Wind will be a problem, but not so much if you start early (normally). We got lucky with heat yesterday, and it was only 65F in Gilroy when we started back.

Turns from Kennedy:

R Shannon
L Hicks
R Camden
L Coleman
R Santa Theresa to Morgan Hill
L Llagas
R Monterey
R Watsonville
L Santa Theresa to Gilroy (speed section - best surface ever)
L Welburn (becomes Leavesley)
L New (no shoulder, light, but fast traffic)
L E San Martin
R Foothill
L Tennant
R Hill
R E Main
L Coyote into park
L Cochrane
Straight Malaguerra
Onto Coyote Creek Trail (pretty sweet until velodrome - then look out for roots/bumps)
L Tully becomes Curtner (traffic for a couple miles)
R Union
L E Campbell
Veer R Civic Center
Veer R W Campbell
L Hamilton
Straight on Prospect
...fill in the rest to get home. :)

My friend created the route, and it worked out to be mostly low stress, very flat after Shannon, and not too much traffic or lights. Definitely a few, but can't get around it too much for a ride of this length.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another vote for south county roads - I'll have to give that a try! Thanks for posting the route.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top