Monday, June 25, 2012

Riding everything

I have seen a recent article (Road Bike Action magazine) on gravel bikes. Riding on mostly gravel surface roads for long distances seems to be a discipline with growing popularity. Looking around a few blogs, it seems that people use all kinds of bikes, from 26"wheel fat tire mountain bikes to cyclocross bikes.

Although I am not aware of any long stretches of gravel roads around here, the possibility to connect jeep roads, old logging roads, singletrack and paved roads for a whole day, long distance rides, always seemed to me like the best type of riding. It sure is lots of fun to hammer on a super lightweight road bike, or to bomb down technical singletrack (like on this ride a few weeks ago), and no single bicycle can possibly fit the range of applications. But my titanium 29er hardtail is a super capable bike, it can be a race bike (I rode it for an 8-hour endurance race), a commuter bike (I logged about 1200 miles commuting on it to work in 2011), and everything in between bike.

Last Saturday turned to be a perfect day for such an "everything" ride. Sunny, little breezy, fantastic visibility. I have quickly planned the route in my head using many places I have ridden previously, just not in this particular order. So here are just a few snapshots of what may one see on a ride like this:

Started out of Russian Ridge parking lot, pavement on Alpine Rd through Portola Redwoods SP onto Old Haul road, an old redwoods logging road towards Memorial Park and Pescadero.

Claude Monet would be envious of this poppy field on Cloverdale Road near Pescadero.
 Off Cloverdale onto a dirt doubletrack, Butano Ridge trail, towards Big Basin Redwoods SP.
And Howard Hughes would probably like these puffy clouds when filming his WWI air battle movie.
 Green darkness of redwoods alternates with exposed, warm and sandy areas on the Butano ridge trail.

Looking over my shoulder while climbing up to Big Basin confirms the big pond is still there, no fog whatsoever.

Out of Big Basin redwoods, one has to ride on a little used broken pavement road (China Grade), then park access road (CA 236) and finally 6 miles of climbing on state highway 9. Reaching Saratoga gap, as usual with no food and water, relying on the hot dog cart. It has saved me from bonking on several occasions, although ordering a hot dog here in late afternoon always makes me think about E. coli doubling rates at certain temperatures....

Finishing the ride on familiar mix of sweet singletrack and doubletracks along the Skyline ridge.

And a late afternoon long distance view of Mt. Umunhum from the White Oaks trail in Montebello.

Six hours, sixty miles, sixty eight hundred feet of vertical, twelve different nature parks. Priceless. Garmin track here.

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