Daniel Nickel // Big Epic
I started out around 6am ready for round two. Having done the Grand Epic last weekend it was interesting to contrast the two. For what it is worth I think I prefer the first part of the Grand up to rolling into Los Gatos, to the Big. It’s a lot more interesting with a lot more interesting less known, to me at least, trails. I’d say that part is worth doing by itself even without doing the rest of the Grand.
The paved start was fine, though it would have been faster, and maybe more fun, on something thinner than 2.25” mountain bike tires. I stopped a Quicksilver to check the water, and as of today it is back on, though I’m sure others have noticed that by now. The climb up Mine Hill went well, and the rest of Quicksilver and Woods trail were like old friends at this point. I decided to hike-a-bike a little more on Woods and Kennedy trails today, but rode all the downhill sections, a first for me. There have always been a couple of downhills that were a little too steep and loose for me to feel comfortable riding down. Kennedy was pretty busy this morning with a lot of hikers on their way up.
I made it down Kennedy in good time and stopped at the Los Gatos Creek Trail entrance to refill water and have a quick snack. Then the quick trail section, again with many hikers, and one recumbent rider at the base of that steep gravel section. I think he was either considering pushing the recumbent up or thanking his lucky stars he made it down in one piece.
Black Road was fine today. Traffic was light, and I didn’t get buzzed by any sports cars. Sanborn, though, was very busy. There were cars parked off the side of the road a quarter of a mile away. And there were lots of e-MTBs today. They certainly made the climbs look easy. I had to pull off to the side several times to let them pass me. I guess my un-augmented speed wasn’t quite fast enough.
Skyline was a bit busy in the first half of the trail, but tapered off significantly after crossing Highway 9. And while there were lots of cars parked at the Skyline crossing before Turtle rock, there weren’t that many people out on the trail. I didn’t really see anyone out on the trails after that until Horseshoe Lake where the baby geese hang out.
Around this point another rider caught up with me while I was pushing up a steep section on Sunny Jim. We rode together for a while chatting about the trail. We yo-yo’d for a little while and he got ahead of me when I stopped at the parking lot before the Black Mountain climb to use the facilities. The climb up Black mountain seemed harder today, but the downhill was a nice relief. I even stopped to chat with another mountain biker at the stream crossing, and then down the rest of the paved decent to the Mt Eden climb. I stopped briefly at the picnic area in Stevens Creek Canyon just before the last climb to fill up water, since I was about out, and I didn’t want to stop on the way home.
Mt Eden was the quick easy climb I remembered, and then it was a quick ride back to the parking lot. (And then the ride home, as I rode to the start again. More bonus miles...)
All in all it was an enjoyable ride.