Saturday, September 22, 2012

Take to the Trail: on the front page!

No, I didn't make the front page of any magazine, but trail walking and running made it to the front page of our local Cupertino Courrier! I remember a conference I gave 6 years ago at a networking event about the treasures of our local park system and one attendee asking me "oh so, really, we can venture in these parks and hills?" Yes, everybody can, and mostly for free, a benefit that many overlooked so far. So much that it's great to see a newspaper covering the topic.
Now, it's not the best kept secret either, at least for our local Rancho San Antonio County Park in Cupertino. It has been months since I drove there and was astonished to see the parking lots full by 6:40 am this Saturday morning! And even more surprised to pass runners on Chamise on my way up to Black Mountain. We have this rotating Saturday morning trail runs which, every 4 weeks starts at Rhus Ridge, on the other side of the Park. This morning, the group was quite small and I met Penny, Lina and Chris near the top of the steep climb from the Rhus Ridge entrance and minuscule parking lot, while I started from the main lot.
Nice opportunity to catch up with them before I took off after the Black Mountain camp ground (yes, very few people know about the existence of this camping opportunity at 2,800 feet above the Valley). I went on for the long version of this monthly circuit, even adding the 0.9-mile Panorama Trail loop, thinking of Charles Stevens who was always keen to go a little further...
From the top of Black Mountain where my average pace topped 11:30 min/mile after the long climb, I got the pace down to 9:37 at the bottom of the Rhus Ridge "wall", at the 24-mile mark. Albeit slowly, in what Hal Koerner would call the diesel mode, I was able to run the entire climb and only lost 4 seconds of that average pace which I quickly regained in the last 6 miles, to finish a 31.1-mile and 5,100-feet cumulative elevation loop in 4:49:25 (9:22 pace).

See a few more pictures in my Picasa album.

Back to the Cupertino Courier article (and likely an article shared by sisters publications through the Mid-Peninsula), it highlights a few great running and hiking places indeed:
  1. Rancho San Antonio: amazing variety of trails. Nice authentic farm, 1 mile from the parking lots. The outside loop is 9.5 miles and includes Rogue and PG&E. You can reach the top of Black Mountain (2,800-feet) via either Chamise Trail (7.5 miles to the top) or a connector at the top of PG&E. As noted above, the parking lots tend to fill-up as soon as the park opens around 6:30 am on weekends!
  2. Fremont Older: limited parking but nice view point over Cupertino and the Bay. Connects to the Stevens Creek County Park.
  3. Stevens Creek County Park: this is the "headquarters" of our Stevens Creek Striders running club in Cupertino. You can join the group on Saturday mornings at 8:30, check the club website.
  4. Stevens Creek Trail. Starts in Sunnyvale and gets you all the way to the Palo Alto Baylands through Shoreline in Mountain View. Asphalt bike path from Sunnyvale to Palo Alto. Several drinking fountains on the course. The dream is to connect the Bay to the hills and the Stevens Creek reservoir in particular but it's going to take many more years to get through Cupertino and Los Altos where many properties extend to the creek itself (you can track the progress of the trail development on the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail website, and also consider joining us for the Trailblazer 5 and 10K races next week!)
  5. Saratoga Creek Trail. As the article says, this is a short 1-mile section of trails along the very busy Lawrence Express Way. I would have rather mentioned the newly opened trail sections along Highway 85 and the rail track from Stevens Creek in Cupertino to Winchester Boulevard in Los Gatos, through Saratoga and Campbell.
  6. John Christian Greenbelt. For those living in Sunnyvale, it connects to the Baylands Park and Bay Trail along Clabazas Creek Trail.
  7. Baylands Park. In the context of this article, it's the Sunnyvale Baylands Park, but Palo Alto has its own Baylands Park near the municipal golf and airport.
Overall, this is a great article to promote the outdoors opportunities in the area, although there are 10 times more throughout the Mid Peninsula, then even more all around the Bay. Included in the article is a mention of the 500-mile which the San Francisco Bay Trail will cover, along the Bay. And more than 500 other miles for the Bay Area Ridge Trail, at the top of the hills surrounding the Bay! And likely at least 1,000 more miles in other parks, that's a lot to explore!

I often said it in this blog, we are so blessed with so many accessible and perfectly maintained parks. See you on the trails then!
PS: on Friday evening, I had the privilege to represent IBM at the 2012 Legends & Leaders gala dinner of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and hear an amazing speech from Football legend, Terry Bradshaw (4 super bowls as the Steelers' quarterback, and still a very active figure of this sport). I'm not into football but what an interesting and vocal character, with so many life lessons to share!


Mikey Jimenez said...

I always love to read your blog Jean, very informative. I wasn't aware there are so many trails with many more to come in your area. How wonderful, always enjoy seeing new places and the textures and challenges that each of these bring. Thanks for illuminating these local locales!
It's also a source of pride for me when someone from out of state visits and remarks on the number of runners they see when traveling the area. We live among some very special people and places!
Cheers all the best, happy to see you are healing so well.

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks, Michael! Was the marathon today or is it tomorrow? How was it?

Adelyn said...

Great to see bay area trails so touted! Seeing your pictures brought back great memories of those trails. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Heureux que tu aies pu faire ce circuit et enchantés par les photos toutes plus intéressantes et plus belles les unes que les autres