When the Merckx Wind Blows

Gazos Creek Road just before the narrows where creek and road are one.

Gazos Creek Road just before the narrows where creek and road are one.


They say Eddy Merckx could ride like the wind. With a 30 mph wind at my back on Cloverdale Road — going NORTH — I felt like Eddy. Imagine 34 mph on the flat.

Last night’s strong winds left tons of debris on Hwy 9 this morning, one more obstacle for the running relay teams doing their annual event from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.

And if things weren’t interesting enough, a fire in Stevens Canyon drew a dozen fire vehicles and a helicopter. I’m guessing it was a house fire.

When I hit Saratoga Gap the temperature registered 51 and it looked like rain on the Coast. I continued on Hwy 236 into Big Basin State Park and then Gazos Creek Road. I hadn’t ridden its full length since 2010.

I didn’t see much in the way of wind-blown branches, although a tree fell across the road. I suppose it was wind-related. Once again I forgot to bring my portable chainsaw.

Gazos Creek Road is in fabulous shape. No mud, no rock ballast. I haven’t seen it this good in a decade. The gate at the bottom where pavement begins is closed.

After blasting north on Cloverdale (remember storms typically blow from the south) I headed up Pescadero Road and then Alpine Road.

One of my fondest memories of riding with Jobst Brandt came in his later years when he and I rode alone up Alpine many a time. As we approached a wooded section he called the Tulgey Wood, about a mile from the summit, he fondly recited a poem called Jabberwocky, written by Lewis Carroll. It goes like this:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

A tree falls on Gazos Creek Road. Happily, I missed it falling.

A tree falls on Gazos Creek Road. Happily, I missed it falling.

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2 Responses to “When the Merckx Wind Blows”

  1. Steve Nash Says:

    Gazos creek is indeed beautiful. How is Jobst doing? I haven’t seen any updates since his crash in 2011…

  2. Chris Harland-Dunaway Says:

    My teammate, Keith Hillier, and I love climbing Gazos over to 236. It requires finesse and strength in equal parts. My dad used to recite that poem too.

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