“Rad” ride into the land of slides

Radonich Ranch is known for its marsh at the start of Highland Way.


One of the funny things about cycling is that no matter how old you are, you can feel young — while descending.

Climbing, that’s a different story.

I headed out on a brilliant, warm day into the Santa Cruz Mountains to relive the days of my youth when a ride to Santa Cruz and Corralitos was a lark.

Now it’s an activity where I reduce the miles and hope I can finish in one piece without leg cramps.

The ride up Lexington Reservoir’s 14 percent grade had my heart redlining, but after that things went more smoothly.

There has been a lot of misery associated with the Los Gatos Creek Trail, like when it was closed for years so a large pipe could be added next to the trail. And that short 20 percent grade hasn’t been kind to aging legs.

On Summit Road I ran the car gauntlet, traffic hardly any less with the coronavirus19 shelter in place.

Once past Summit Store life improves. Radonich Ranch marks the beginning of Highland Way and some bumpy, but not so steep riding.

Every time I see the sign I’m reminded of the silver-tongued radio and TV sports commentator Gary Radnich. I figured out soon enough that his name is missing the “O” and that this could not be his property.

Last time I heard Gary’s voice, I was driving home from Mendocino last June, tuned into his final show on KNBR. Always the professional, Gary didn’t let it turn into an emotional tribute. It was business as usual.

But I digress. About two miles down Highland is a mile stretch of “Landslide Alley.” There have been too many slides here to count. The worst happened in 2000 when we had to walk our bikes over a perilous section where one slip meant a fall into the abyss.

This year the road is intact, just bumpier than hell.

Ten cars lined the road at the entrance to Demonstration Forest where mountain bikers gather to enjoy the trails.

I soldiered on and began a 9-mile descent starting from Buzzard Lagoon Road, which would be a blast if not so bumpy.

At Corralitos Store I put on my mask so I could buy a Bavarian sausage sandwich ($6.99), a treat not to be missed. That IS why we ride to Corralitos.

2 Responses to ““Rad” ride into the land of slides”

  1. bob landry Says:

    That’s my stompin’ ground Ray. I’m glad you got back to the rough roads and I hope the drop bar bike wasn’t to hard on you. I’m working my way through the “Columns” book. It’s a fun read and I’m sorry to have not know about it when it was happening. Last night I read about the Kirk Precision. The creativity brought to bare on bicycle design is a constant source of amazement to me. Cheers and good health, BL.

  2. Ray Hosler Says:

    Kirk Precision seemed like a great idea. Injection molded. What’s not to like? I rode my Ritchey.

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