Challanging but Enjoyable ride this weekend.
This was 70 miles and 6800 ft. of climbing, going out from Foothill College, down Foothill expressway, and then up past Stevens Creek reservoir. At that point the first climb starts – up Redwood Gulch (short, but very steep – some 19% sections) and then on to hwy. 9, and on up to Skyline – I’d ridden this a while back (April?) and felt
a lot stronger this time.
Turned north on Skyline, stopped after a half mile or so at the first rest stop – next to the skyline fire station,
then continued on north to Alpine. This was by far the nicest stretch of the ride. We hadn’t reached the cruddy chip seal repaving that Caltrans did last summer yet, the air was clear, no wind to speak of, and it was a perfect temperature out. Then it was onto the chip seal section, and all thoughts of the beautiful day were driven from my mind as I
operated my jack hammer rode through this section.
We arrived at Alpine road sooner than I expected (I think this is always the case for me – the first time on a route always seems to take longer than later times). and turned toward the coast. I was expecting a descent, but there were a few miles of winding/rolling road before we started the descent. Then down we went. The Alpine descent is somewhat tricky. The upper part is still out on open hillsides and the road was very newly repaired, to the point where I wasn’t sure about traction. Then, further down and just about the time you pass the turn off for Portola Redwoods state park, you enter the redwoods. This is a beautiful stretch of road (I don’t know of any stretch of road running through redwoods that I don’t think is beautiful), and descends on down to hwy. 84.
Upon reaching hwy. 84, we turned right (uphill) and rode a short way to La Honda and the next rest stop. After a short break, it was back down 84 toward the coast. This was a fast ride, heading into the wind. While we were on this stretch, we saw several divisions of the Pescadero road race heading the opposite direction. Without knowing who was who, or what division, it was fun to see a few people obviously off the front and trying to sustain a breakaway, and then various sized peletons, and then a few stragglers obviously off the back. While I realize that this wouldn’t really work, riding the opposite direction to a circuit race provides an interesting viewpoint when watching it that sitting in a single spot can not.
Our fast run towards the sea ended in San Gregorio, with a turn onto Stage road and a short and easy climb. Then it was onto Hwy 1 and a downhill along the coast to Tunitas Creek road. On this stretch, and in stark contrast to the Pescadero road race, we saw elements (several 100?) of the SF to LA aids fund raiser ride. Clearly a wide spectrum of abilities and approaches to this ride, including several people riding in tutus and other costumes.
Then it was onto Tunitas, and a long climb back up to Skyline blvd. Tunitas is one of the signature climbs of the area, and the first time for me. I was slow and not especially brave on this climb, but we made it to the top, and then headed down toward home on Kings Mt. road. After that, it was just a short 15 miles or so from Woodside back to Foothill College to finish the day.