Now that I know where to go, I’m not as early to the start. On the roll over, am I imagining some sort of flashes? From fishing boats? Or the Lighthouse? Does any of that make sense. Wait. Lightning?! Whoa! See a few spectacular fingers, fortunately in the distance. Hopefully it will stay there. And, I know we could use the rain, but I (bad rando) am not really prepared for it. There’s a slightly smaller crowd than yesterday, but quite a few repeat offenders.
Today we are going left, and north on Highway 1. Still nice and quiet on the road, and the group forms a solid double paceline behind Jeanine and Jennie. The fade to day, some dramatical clouds, but no more lightning, and no rain. When the shoulder narrows we single up, but the two Js still do the bulk of the pulling all the way to the turn onto Gazos Creek Road. Their pace and the climbs have trimmed the group a bit. Well, that or stopping at the Pie Ranch, but it’s too early and they aren’t open.
There’s a bit of climbing, which further splits the group, I have some solo time, then end up reconnecting with Metin and Roy on Cloverdale Road. We roll through Pescadero, and then on to Stage Road – which had been on yesterday’s route, but going the other direction. Folks who I’d thought had been ahead come past – they had stopped in Pescadero. I’d been thinking the store in San Gregorio looked pretty cool and would be a good place to stop, but we’re too early for them to be open. Alrighty then. Well I guess it’ll be a little roadside stop, and while I’m here may as well adjust some layers. I’m fine with rolling solo, but Metin is waiting at the junction with Highway 1.
Short stretch on 1, then turn inland onto Tunitas Creek Road. Oh! There’s the Bike Hut – which I’ve heard about/seen pictures of but never seen before in person! And there’s Bill for a control – it will be an info control on the way back. We joke about why doesn’t he put the sign up right now.
This is a usual-ish ride, at least this road, for Metin, and he describes the impending climb. It kinda goes in one ear and out the other, as I’m not sure I’ll recognize the landmarks he has for knowing he’s near the top. Just keep going up until you get to Skyline. Fairly quickly he’s a dot in the distance, and I settle in to my own pace. It’s beautiful, climbing through the redwoods, with bonus lovely morning light.
Eventually top out at Skyline, and the trickle of cyclists I’d seen on the other side of the ridge is now well not quite a torrent but when I see Metin again I have to ask if there’s some event going on there’s so many. Nope, that’s just how popular this road is.
He had warned me that the Kings Mountain Road was narrow and sometimes with cars passing cyclists things can get dicey, so my mantra was to get down the hill without becoming a hood ornament. That mission was accomplished. Yay!
Wend through some neighborhoods, through Woodside, past a big equestrian center, over 280, down Sand Hill Road with views of the Stanford Tower in the distance, and there’s the turnaround control – the Sharon Heights Shopping Center! I head to Safeway – Metin, Roy and Bill are still there. I get some food and fluids and we end up rolling out together.
From here it’s a reversal of how we got there to get back to the start. We can see some clouds in the distance, looking sorta like they are where we’re headed, we debate about whether we’ll get rained on or not. (Turns out we don’t.)
Always interesting to reverse a descent and see how it goes as a climb. There’s some nice views over the South Bay, which I have much more time to enjoy, going this direction. The descent through the redwoods on Tunitas Creek is super fun. Highway 1, Stage Road – which I’d never ridden before, and now am on for the third time in two days. I get a picture of the Frankenstein heart this time.
Eventually back to Highway 1 again for the duration back to Santa Cruz. Not quite as strong a headwind as yesterday, but not seeming like the promised super sweet tailwinds. Oh well. At least on the flats and downhills I can keep up with Bill, Roy and Metin. Bill (at the front) doesn’t seem to slow down at all on the ups, but I definitely am. I’m fine with rolling on my own, but they keep waiting for me, then Roy takes over at the front and brings the pace down a notch.
I’ve already decided I’m not going to ride by the Pie Ranch without stopping another time, so I announce that fact. Everyone else ends up stopping too. No a la mode, but was still a nice tasty stop. Then a pleasant roll the rest of the way back to Santa Cruz. A good solid weekend of riding!
Ride date: July 19, 2015