The Scotts Valley Education Foundation Mountain Charlie Challenge took place today. Cyclists rode one of three routes through the Santa Cruz Mountains — 100 mile, 100 km, or 50 km — to raise money for Scotts Valley schools.
The Mountain Charlie Challenge is the annual charity ride benefiting the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation, which in turn gives the money to Scotts Valley California public schools to support things like the library and music programs.
The ride is named for Mountain Charlie Road, an insanely steep seven mile road featuring grades from 18% to 22% from just north of Scotts Valley to the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This pot-holed single lane road is a favorite of our local mountain goats on wheels. A designer at Specialized Bikes recently told me that they specifically used Mountain Charlie Road as their stand-in for the famous cobblestone sections of Paris-Roubaix, Flanders and Gent–Wevelgem when they tested their popular Roubaix road bike.
The road is not named for a mountain, but for a local historical character named “Mountain Charlie” (think “Grizzly Adams”). Charles Henry ‘Mountain Charlie’ McKiernan hacked out a wagon trail through the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1858. McKiernan’s Toll Road because a public road when Santa Cruz County paid McKiernan $600 for the right of way in 1878. The cabin he built in 1850 still stands at what is now the Mountain Charlie Christmas Tree Farm.
I biked down Glen Canyon Road a ways to shoot some of the cyclists as they rode towards the finish today. You can view the complete set of photos here. You’re free to use the photos however you wish but please credit Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious. Thanks for looking!