Monday, May 10, 2010

Tour of the Uknown Coast Century

Tour of the Uknown Coast Century at Garmin Connect - Details

Above is a link to the Garmin website for ride details. Here is a recap: The ride started in Ferndale, CA and after a few miles of riding through farmlands and a section on Highway 101 with barely any car traffic, we entered the redwoods at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The section through the Avenue of the Giants was really nice, although chilly and dark. The 25mi rest stop was at the Immortal Tree:

The next 15 miles were through more redwoods and some nice rolling terrain, untill a rest stop just before the Panther Gap climb:

From here, we climbed to about 2800 ft for about 7 miles. It was nice to get out of the woods and have some sun to warm up. It was only on the descent where I realized how bad the road surface really was. I was wishing for my full-suspension mountain bike and had to stop to get blood flowing in my hands. So the lunch stop at mile 60 came at about the right time:

There were few climbs and short descents between miles 60 and 73, with beautiful views back into the valley with deep forests and glacial water rivers.
We then descended to the coast and rode north along the beach. The yellow flowers along the sand dunes were beautiful, but there was a strong head wind, making this section a painful one. At the end of the beach, we arrived at the Sea House, which stood at the foot of "The Wall", a one mile climb of 18-20%. This picture taken from the Sea House does not really capture how scary steep this hill looked:

But it turned out this climb was not all that bad. The one which came at mile 83, the "Endless Hill", was a tough one, since it did not seem to have an end. But it did, with about 6 miles to go. It turned out these were some of the toughest miles of the whole ride for me, since it was all steep winding downhill with more potholes and gravel. Luckily, there were no cars untill Ferndale.
When I sprinted through the finish line at the fairgrounds, I was quite happy this ride was over but sad at the same time that the fun ended. If the Humboldt County ever decides to repave their roads, I may be back for another ride through this beautiful part of California. 

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