Review – Santa Teresa County Park

As I mentioned in my last post, I have once again slung a leg over a mountain bike, in the quest to get back in shape, and to reduce my stress. One of the impetuses of this is living really close to Santa Teresa park, a place with some amazing riding.

While the bike is new, and fun, I am not quite ready to write a full review of the bike, but I can write about Santa Teresa park.

The main entrance is off of Bernal Road. It is a tough climb that is paved into the park. However once you get to the top, there are picnic areas and parking lots. You can rest a bit if you need to before taking to the trails. There is also a parking area, and a pen for the equestrian crowd. Although I have never seen a horse and rider in the park, I am sure they do use the park (you can see the road apples.)

Last week I rode the north side of the park. Mines trail, from the top of the road (near the IBM entrance). over Joice trail, and finally down Norred trail and out. That was a pretty easy ride, some moderate climbs, and smooth downhill and single track.

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Odd exercise observations

I have been getting back into regular cycling to get back into some semblance of shape (other than pear). I have become pretty comfortable riding 25+ miles on Saturday and Sunday, and to and from work a couple times a week (~ 21 miles round trip).

Yesterday, I wanted to try a new route. I knew it would be longer than my 25+ miles, but not how much. Turns out that the canals to Elliot Road, then east on Elliot to Mountain, then back down to Pecos and back home was about 34.3 miles total. About 8 miles (or 1/3) more than my “usual” ride. Not a problem right?

Ugh, I was wiped out. I literally spent the day in a coma and rehydrating (I consumed about a gallon and a half of liquids during the ride – 2 hours 8 minutes, and as much through the afternoon.) Today, my legs are jelly, and the thought of riding in tomorrow is not appealing at all.

In my youth, I would often double my distance with little or no ill effects. As I approach 50, that is no longer true, and I am suffering mightily for it.

Ah well.

What I learned to ride on.

Probably in 1977 or so, I began my experience with motorcycles. I was too young to have my permit for the street, so naturally, we did the off road thing. Recently I have been reliving my youth, and sharing some experiences, so I thought I would go back even further to the first bikes I rode.

Hard to imagine a better learning point.
Hard to imagine a better learning point.

We had a pair of Honda XL125’s, 1976. Red tank, black plastic, mild steel rims, and the street legal trials tires. The lights were removed, and we did replace the rear tire with a true knobby, but otherwise, the bikes were stock. ¬†Probably had 3″ of suspension travel, and since they were “road/trail” bikes, they had soft-ish suspension for that good in showroom feel.

They were both bought used. These were pretty common, if you recall the gas crises of the ’70s, that drove a lot of people to riding motorcycles, this class of mild, beginner friendly bike was a good learning platform. But you quickly outgrew the bike, so you bought something bigger, and sold your “starter bike”.

I do remember my first trip. We went to Metcalf, a riding place south of San Jose, and learned the basics in the big, open parking area. Clutch, shifting, braking, how to steer/turn/stop. Later in the day we tried some of the easier trails in the park, and I was hooked.

Yes, I fell a lot, got a bunch of scrapes, but there was a thrill factor that was impossible to ignore.

We rode the hell out of those bikes. I learned all the trails at Metcalf, then we moved on to Hollister Hills (another ORV park), and spent pretty much every weekend riding. During the week I fixed broken levers, did maintenance, lubed chains, checked the valves, etc.

I wonder whatever happened to those bikes. We rode them hard for probably 7-8 years, most weekends, and with just a modicum of maintenance, they all ran perfectly.

Next, I will talk about the first bike I actually bought myself.