Saturday, April 16, 2011
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Today’s ride meets up across the street from the Marinwood Community Center on Miller Creek Rd in San Rafael. There is ample street parking; water and restrooms are available at the park.
We head west on Lucas Valley Rd for the climb up to Big Rock. It’s less than one mile long with an average gradient of 8-9%.
It’s a fabulous descent on Lucas Valley through the enchanted redwood forest before we reach Nicasio. The route continues on Nicasio Valley Rd along the reservoir to Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd.
The climb up the Cheese Factory Hill is about 1.4 miles with an average gradient of 7%. It’s a fun sweeping descent on the backside with great views of all the lush green fields and hillsides. There is a brief regroup at the Cheese Factory. Water and restrooms are available.
We take Hicks Valley Rd to the climb up Wilson Hill Rd. It’s less than one mile with an average grade of about 7% with several sections ranging from 9-11%. The views from the top of the ridge are gorgeous! The descent on the back side down to Chileno Valley Rd is fast!
We continue west on Chileno Valley Rd for the next 9.5 miles. The flat rolling terrain takes us pass Laguna Lake, multiple ranches and farm houses. Spring is definitely here; everything is green!
The next turn on Tomales-Petaluma Rd has us riding on very smooth pavement for the next 2.4 miles.
We get off the main drag and continue on Twin Bridge Rd to Fallon-Two Rock Rd and Gericke Rd. The climb up Gericke is a bit steep; once you see the sheep ranch you’re at the top.The pavement also changes as you cross over to Sonoma county; it goes from smooth to rough! The descent drops us onto Hwy 1.
We head west on Hwy 1/Valley Ford Rd for 3+ miles to our next regroup at the Valley Ford Market. Water and porta-potties are available.
The next turn takes us on Valley Ford Freestone Rd to Bodega Hwy and Bohemian Hwy. We ride through the small towns of Freestone and Occidental.
The descent on Bohemian Hwy takes us to the town of Monte Rio. We continue on Hwy 116 to Duncans Mills. I always feel like I’m on vacation just riding through this area. It’s beautiful back here!
Our lunch stop is at the Gold Coast Coffee & Bakery. They serve your standard bakery items and pizza along with hot/cold beverages. There is a nice rear patio area with ample seating and tables. Water and restrooms are available.
After lunch, we continue west on Hwy 116 and ride along the Russian River to Hwy 1.
From a distance, you can see the thin layer of fog rolling in from the coast. The moderate climb up to Goat Rock starts after you cross the bridge over the Russian River. The gradient ranges from 6-8%.
The fun begins as you reach the top of the climb; the Sonoma roller coaster ride is ON! Even with the coastal fog, the ocean views are spectacular!
All the bright colors of the storefronts in Bodega Bay always bring a smile to my face.
We stay on Hwy 1 and head inland back to Valley Ford. The sun is back and it feels great! Unfortunately there was also a lot of smoke in the air; a local rancher had a permit to do a control burn and the winds didn’t help it at all. We rode through a thick cloud of smoke!
From Valley Ford, we stay on Hwy 1 towards Tomales. There are several climbs along this stretch of road before we reach our next regroup at the Tomales Bakery. All the advertising I see for the PIG roast made me hungry for tomorrow; too bad I can’t come back!
We continue south on Hwy 1 and ride along the lagoon aka “wind tunnel”. The remaining rolling terrain and short climbs on Hwy 1 takes us through Nicks Cove and Blakes Landing. The run along Tomales Bay takes us through Marshall.
From Hwy 1, we take a left on Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd. I notice the large art display in the distance; they’ve added 2 more large plastic filled bottles.
We turn on Nicasio Valley Rd and ride along the reservoir back to Nicasio for a quick pit stop before continuing on.
We take Lucas Valley back to Miller Creek. The sun is back out to welcome our return to the start.
Thanks to everyone for joining Mark, Michael and I on this jaunt out to the Russian River and back! This is one beautiful ride; you get the hills, the flats, the descents and rollers, the redwoods, the green fields, all the bovine you can take, the wildflowers and of course the awesome ocean views! This has got to be one of my favorite routes!
Another “Thanks!” goes out to Bob for picking up Lisa & Jason out at Pt
Reyes Station and to Eric for picking up Jesse at Nicasio. It’s great to have
you guys help out when needed!
21 people in attendance with 2 tandems
129 miles with 6981′ of elevation gain
Weather: Overcast skies with some sun, decent winds and coastal fog. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to mid 60’s.
One of the best blogs I have come across. Great writing and such beautiful photos. Look forward to reading about your next cycling tour.