Any responsible owner of an automobile knows that their vehicle needs to be regularly maintained in order to perform optimally. I am not particularly responsible, but I don’t want my 4Runner to die, so I took care of a few things. On Tuesday, I got the tires replaced, and on Thursday (yesterday) I had the fluids replaced and the brakes checked.
I dropped the truck off at the mechanic early. I pulled my bike out of the back and dropped the keys in the slot with notes on what needed to be done. Pretty cut and dry. I then mounted my Bronson and headed towards the Los Gatos hills about 3 miles away. I had the morning to myself and I was determined to get a ride in before the day inevitably spiraled out of control.
A storm front is coming in and a MASSIVE wind storm has been pummeling the area just ahead of the front. I had not anticipated this, and I found myself riding against a 20mph headwind towards the trailhead. It was ugly. I was pretty winded by the time my tires touched dirt.
I climbed up the mountain on St. Joe’s, past the housewives and the dog walkers, and decided not to summit the small hill. I instead opted to continue over the hump to the other side where Lexington Reservoir was showing off its whitecaps in the violent, high winds.
I rode Alma Bridge Road to the second trailhead and moved up the mountain. I have been riding Overgrown (also known as Limekiln) pretty much since high school; I am familiar with its twists, turns, ascents, and downhills, and very little of it surprises me anymore. But it is a beautiful ride on a sheltered trail, and that turned out to be my savior. The climb was virtually still, as the trees protected me from the gusts that were buffeting the treetops above.
The summit was windy, but welcome. The gusts cooled (and dried) me off quickly and prepared me for the downhill. Priest Rock Trail is not a particularly challenging descent for an experienced rider, but it does have its gnar. The fire road features some loose rock, hard turns after steep sections, off camber turns, and ruts that will swallow you whole. If you ride it slow, it’s fairly easy to see them in time. If you bomb down, they might catch you off guard and send you into the manzanita.
The path home was easy and fast. With the wind at my back, my tired body didn’t need to work so hard and I was able to maintain speeds around 15-20mph on pavement. It was easy to get almost to 20 miles on the ride without much effort.
The climb was rough, but the ride home was fast. Now I just need to go get my truck; it was held for an additional day to replace the front brake pads and rotors. I’m glad I’m doing this because it doesn’t just give me an excuse to get a ride in, it also makes my truck safer for my long drive to Ashland, Oregon next week. The trails await!