Saturday, November 14, 2009

To but not through Crystal Springs

10 days ago, I took half a day off to go with the Cupertino cross-country teams at the League Finals at Crystal Springs. This is the course of many official cross-country high school and college meets. The course is just under 3 miles for high school competitions, and 5 miles for college ones. It is situated in the Hallmark Park in Belmont, just off 280 and 92. Great views of the Crystal Springs Reservoir on the other side of the highway (a place which I abundantly described in my 100th post, last January), and the City (San Francisco) and the Bay on the other side.

To Crystal Springs: a suburban marathon

It felt a bit like traveling the Silicon Valley on CalTrain this morning: Cupertino, Synnyvale, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, Redwood City, San Carlos, Belmont: terminus! Yes, I wanted to log some miles this morning and decided to go to Max' competition by foot. 25 miles of running through a large part of Silicon Valley, between 280 and El Camino Real. I designed the itinerary on Google Maps last night. Of course, the default route was 280 and I had to enter some specific points to force the routing algorithm to use Foothill Expressway instead. Little did I know that Foothill was actually forbidden to pedestrians...I left home at 7 am so traffic was very light in the early morning and, despite the interdiction, I still ran a few miles on the expressway, against the traffic. However, this is a section which is highly patrolled by the Police and, after seeing two police cars, I decided I had better try to find a parallel route before being arrested. I crossed Foothill at Loyola Corners and got on Fremont Avenue, then First Street and Los Altos Avenue for a little detour through Los Altos.I was really happy to find a bike path leading to Palo Alto. Unfortunately it was just a quarter mile long.
Not for long but nice to find this sign after the many "Forbidden to Pedestrians" signs on Foothill Expressway...

After passing Gunn High School and Veterans Affairs' Palo Alto Hospital (one of our largest ILOG clients), I went back on Foothill Expressway for a quarter mile before reaching Junipero Serra Boulevard. This is the impressive 2-mile section where you cross Stanford and realize how much land the University owns. Crossed Sand Hill Road, the venture capital epicentre, to get on Santa Cruz Avenue for a few hundreds yards before branching off on the Alameda De Las Pulgas (see Menlo Park's history). I ran the whole 7 miles of the Alameda, from Santa Cruz Avenue to San Carlos Avenue, feeling more intimate with this rural artery after spending an hour on it. Alameda means tree-bordered avenue and this is much what the avenue is indeed. The city has even replaced many of the concrete sections of side walks with syntethic/rubber pads to let the tree roots growing more freely. Impressive care for trees and nature!

On my way, I was surprised to discover that cabins of fire trucks could rotate this way!

From San Carlos Avenue I got on Beverly Drive then Club Drive for the last 2.5 very steep miles up to Crestview Drive. In Hallmark Park, I ran part of the cross-crountry course, making the run 25 miles, not quite a marathon. Between the sun in the South Bay and the one we could see in the distance over San Francisco, Belmont was actually under misty clouds and I got cold as we were waiting for the boys' race.

Through Crystal Springs? Quite not

Now that Tino's boys varsity cross-country team made it to Crystal Springs for the CCS (Central Coast Section, one of the 9 sections of the California Interscholastic Federation) finals, it was time to race for a qualification to the next round: States (the challenging California State finals).

Max was not ready to really kill himself today. Between the fast pace of AP courses, the heavy homework, the applications to colleges and related interviews and the Fall play of his drama course (the premiere of For the Love of Three Oranges was last night!), cross-country is not Max's current focus but he trained diligently and fought hard though the season with a great team spirit and his team captain responsibility. His main goals for today were first to enjoy this potential last race with his Tino teammates and, second, to clock 16:40, 6 seconds better than his PR on this course.
Here off they are, amongst a competitive field!
Max, second of the team in the hill of the first loop:
Max finished 3rd of his team, behind the amazing Anthony twin brothers, Peter and Thomas (sophomore). He was happy to improve his PR by 3 seconds (16:43) and with the proof that the team is left with great elements for next year. And even more happy to conclude the season this way after putting 3 hours in daily training since August. So much free time to do other things now!

Here you are with our report from Crystal Springs, almost live... With Alex not running cross-country anymore, it is going to be several years before I come back on this course. To see Greg running hopefully!

1 comment:

Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Great route! Hope to try it some time.

16 min something. Looks like a fast 5K time. No wonder Max can pace you at Cal Street.