Mount Tamalpais via Fairfax

Saturday, June 26, 2010

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Today’s ride starts at the Coffee Roastery at the corner of Broadway and Bolinas Rd in Fairfax. We get a flat half a mile to warm up before the climbing begins on Bolinas Rd. It’s about a 2 mile climb with a steady gradient of 6-7% up to the Meadow Country Club. The road then becomes Bolinas Fairfax Rd. This section of road is mostly exposed with little shade. The climbing continues with a average gradient of 7% for about the next 1.3 miles to the top of Pine Mountain.

You then get a fast descent with rollers for about 4 miles to Alpine Dam. Half of that is underneath the redwoods. This back road is absolutely beautiful.

Once you ride across the dam, you’re treated to more climbing under the canopy of redwoods, oaks and evergreens. The average gradient is 6% and maxes out at 10% for the next 2 miles to the ridge.

We take a left turn at the top to continue on West Ridgecrest; it’s absolutely stunning on this road. You get sweeping views of the ocean, mountains and golden hillsides. There’s one area that is very popular for hand gliding. All the climbs range from 9-13% with the road easing back down to about 6% in between. You climb and descend, climb and descend for over 3.5 miles. Many car commercials are filmed on this rolling terrain with the Pacific ocean used as the backdrop. There was also a lot of flies buzzing around the ridge.

The rollers eventually turn into East Ridgecrest at the parking lot. We continue on for another 3 miles, pass the natural stone amphitheater to the East Peak and to the summit. Mt Tamalpais stands 2574′ tall. The overall gradient averages about 6% with one section of road increasing to 9% and maxing out at 15%. The road eases up and you do get a little descent and roller in between before reaching the top. You can take the steep climb up through the nicely paved parking lot or take the rough hiker/bike path on the right hand side of the road. If you descend too fast, you’ll miss the easier way up and grind up the parking lot. Unless of course, you planned it that way.

There are restrooms and water available at the top. The concession stand is open on weekends only. There is also a vending machine for soda. Bring some coins; it sometimes eats up your dollar bills. The descent is deceptive, you think it’s all downhill but it’s not. There are 3 short climbs before the actual descent back down to the east parking lot. I also cross paths with Jack J and we chit chat a bit before the descent.

From the parking lot, we turn left and head south on Pan Toll Rd. You get stunning views of the ocean with a thick blanket of fog overhead. We then head south west on Panoramic Hwy. It’s about a 3.5 mile descent down to Hwy 1. The temps immediately drop 25 degrees as we head towards Stinson Beach. Weekend traffic is very heavy and at the same time, the Dipsea Run was taking place. Traffic was stopped for the runners to cross the road. We ride along Hwy 1 for 5 flat miles along the Bolinas Lagoon. It’s a bit breezy and chilly.

It’s then another 11.5 miles to the lunch stop at Point Reyes Station. The first climb is under a grove of Eucalyptus trees and is a steady 10-11% grade for a little over 1 mile to Dogtown, population 30. The road eases up with the next climb coming up at 7%. The last long climb is about a 9-10% grade for another mile. Thereafter, it’s a series of rolling terrain all the way to Olema and another 2 flat miles to Point Reyes Station.

There is a short climb on Hwy 1 heading towards Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd. It’s then a fun descent on rollers all the way to the intersection of Platform Bridge Rd. We turn left to continue on Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd and Nicasio Valley Rd. We ride along the reservoir, pass Lucas Valley Rd and continue on Nicasio Valley Rd. It’s a 2% grade on this road before the short 7-8% grade climb that will then drop us down to San Geronimo.

We then head east on Sir Francis Drake Blvd and ride pass several golf courses. It’s flat and dry with lots of traffic on this road. The last climb of the day is on the west side of White Hill. The gradient is a steady 7% all the way to the top. We then get a fast descent back to Fairfax. Michael and I make a stop at the Fairfax Scoop for organic ice cream. Yummy!!

Thanks to Ivan for leading this ride!

30 people in attendance

62 miles with 5571′ of elevation gain

Weather: Sunny skies, starting temp of 69 reaching a high of 93 on the climb up Tam. Temps dropped to 65 along Hwy 1 with coastal fog through Stinson. Nicasio temp in the 80’s. Sunny & warm on the return to Fairfax.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ENJOY THE RIDE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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