Saturday, July 31, 2010
Today Wyatt and I head out to Duncans Mills to join the club ride that goes out to King Ridge, Annapolis and Stewarts Point. Duncans Mills is a small town filled with little antique and specialty gift shops, a few restaurants/cafes and a bakery. There is ample parking on B St. Water and restrooms are available.
We head north on Hwy 116 and continue about 6 1/2 miles on Cazadero Hwy. It’s a pretty stretch of road surrounded by redwoods and vacation homes. We ride pass the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp and I catch a glimpse of kids playing their musical instruments along the dry creek bed. What a fabulous setting to be in! There is also restrooms and water available at the tennis court before you reach the General Store. It’s up on a little side road and is very easy to miss if you’re not in the know.
The sun is shining as we take the turn onto King Ridge Rd. The warmth of the sun sure does feel good! We then stop and take a moment to remove our jackets, vests, etc. We both have on our Camelbaks for extra water. King Ridge is a very remote stretch of road that is over 16 miles with minimal traffic. The first few miles starts off very unassuming and may even seem easy but then you hit a moderate climb for about a mile. The average gradient is about 9-10%. You get a nice downhill for about another mile; but don’t be fooled, there’s more climbing up ahead! The next mile or so gets much steeper. The gradient goes from 10% and maxes out at 15%. The saving grace is that for the most part, we’re climbing under a canopy of trees. There is a brief regroup at “the gate” which is the first visible summit.
The road continues on and for the next mile, it’s fairly easy with some uphill rollers. That in turn leads us to another steady hard climb. The gradient varied from 10-13%.
We finally reach the pay off part of King Ridge. Being able to ride on the ridgeline is wonderful and the panoramic views are fabulous on both sides of the road. Who would’ve known that there’s a working ranch with cows, horses and also a vineyard too! Once here, we get some fun descents along with rollers and a few short steep climbs in between. King Ridge ends at the junction with Hauser Bridge Rd and Tin Barn Rd. There is a regroup at this intersection.
We continue on Tin Barn Rd for the next 6 miles. This road is fairly easy compared to King Ridge. There are some flat sections, small rollers and a few climbs that max out at 10%. We pass the Odiyan Buddhist Retreat Center which is heavily gated and doesn’t even look very welcoming at all. I did notice a FedEx drop off box next to center.
We arrive at the intersection of Skaggs Spring Rd and Tin Barn Rd. Water is available at the Rancheria Elementary School. The spigots are located on the right side and the rear of the main building. Veronica pointed out a plum tree out in front and I had a few, not bad at all. We then make the steep descent down the “Rancheria Wall” on Skaggs Springs Rd.
We make a left turn to cross over the bridge onto Annapolis Rd. You immediately see the first climb ahead. This road is over 13 miles long and has a series of 3 climbs. The gradient on the initial climb ranges from 8-11%. There is no shade and the rays of the sun are just hitting you on the back. The road then levels out for a while as we pass a vineyard. The next climb is partially in the shade and maxes out at 15%. The next descent takes us through the small town of Annapolis. We pass by the Sonoma County Refuse Disposal Center. I guess small towns have to dump their garbage somewhere too. I notice more vineyards, the Post Office, the Horicon Elementary School, ranches and open pastures. We cross a bridge over the creek for the next climb. I did notice that the road here was very wide with nice pavement. The average gradient here was about 7%. It was nice and shady for most part. At the top, we reach the private community of Sea Ranch.
Annapolis Rd drops us down to Hwy 1. We head south for almost 4 miles to our lunch stop at Stewarts Point.
The lunch stop is at the Stewarts Point Store. As you enter the store, a strong whiff of cheeses and deli items hits your nose. There is a counter in the back; you can order sandwiches, soups and other ready-made foods. They even have cake, tarts and cookies. The key for the restrooms is available at the front counter. And yes, the gas pumps are operational.
With all the major climbing already behind us, we’re rewarded with a glorious tailwind for the remaining 27 miles heading south on Hwy 1. The ocean views are spectacular! This is certainly one of the many reasons we choose to live in California. Hwy 1 is nicely paved with plenty of flats, fun rollers and climbs. The climbs never exceed 7%. It’s easy to get distracted with all the scenery the coast has to offer. It’s absolutely stunning! We roll pass many coves and Salt Point State Park. Restrooms are available at one of the many staging areas. We
continue on through Timber Cove and Fort Ross. There is one super-duper descent after you reach the top and pass Meyers Grade Rd. Of course, the descent comes with a climb back up and again, it’s nothing too steep.
We’re getting close to reaching Jenner. We stop for a moment at the spot where the mouth of the Russian River ends and meets the ocean. Once we make the left turn onto Hwy 116, it’s only 4 miles back to Duncans Mills. There’s one very short climb and then it’s a flat run back to the start.
Much thanks to Jim & Lori for leading today’s very challenging ride.
11 people in attendance with one tandem
81 miles with 7223′ of elevation gain
Weather: Cloudy with temps in the low 60’s at the start. Sunny and clear once we reached King Ridge Rd with temps reaching into the mid 80’s on Annapolis Rd. Sunny skies along the coast with a fabulous tailwind heading south.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>GET OUT THERE & EXPLORE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>