Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The starting point of today’s ride is at the parking lot off Center St in Fairfax. It’s located across from the Post Office. Water and restrooms are available at the Town Hall/Police Station on Bolinas Rd.
We all head out on Center St to Broadway and follow the green Bike Route signs thru town to get onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
The climb up White’s Hill is a bit over 1 mile with an average gradient of 5.6% along with pitches of 7-9%. The descent on the other side of Sir Francis Drake is fast; the flat run has us passing Spirit Rock, Woodacre and San Geronimo.
We continue on Sir Francis Drake Blvd and pass thru the small towns of Forest Knolls and Lagunitas. The road condition heading towards the park is horrendous! The bike path that takes you off Sir Francis Drake is closed for construction. We have no option but to stay on the main road; the summer season brings in a lot more traffic through this area. Other than the bad pavement along this stretch of road, the scenery is gorgeous; we’re riding through a redwood forest.
We take a left to enter Samuel P Taylor State Park. Riding through the park is absolutely wonderful; it’s beautiful back in here! It brings back memories of when I use to take my boys camping; that was many moons ago. I now get to enjoy it in a totally new way; on the bike. Water and restrooms are located through out the park. The bike path we continue on is closed to traffic so it’s a nice jaunt through the park without having to worry about any passing vehicles. Beware-there is one section of the road that has been washed out; proceed with caution!
The end of the bike path takes us back on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. We go under and over the main road for the climb up Olema Hill. It’s less than a mile with an average grade of 5.2%; as you near the top, the gradient is a steady 7-8%. There is a very short section of road that has been washed out and becomes a single lane with stop signs on both ends; proceed with caution! Impatient drivers will still try to pass you here. The descent brings us into the town of Olema.
We continue on Hwy 1 heading south for the next 8.8 miles on rolling terrain. The climbs along the way are not too steep. Take the time to look around; we pass the Olema Cemetary, several horse ranches and stables, the small town of Five Brooks and the trailhead that is part of the Pt Reyes National Seashore. Wyatt tells me that there is a “swimming hole” up in the hills; Hagmaier Pond. It’s actually a nude beach.
The turn on Horseshoe Rd is easy to miss; it’s after you pass Dogtown on the descent. Look for the yellow intersection sign. Watch out for the potholes that are concealed within the shade and shadows of the eucalyptus trees.
Horseshoe Rd brings us to Olema Bolinas Rd and into the town of Bolinas. The sunny blue skies are gone and you can feel the dramatic cool temps as we near the Bolinas Lagoon. The lunch stop is at the wharf/pier; before reaching the beach area. Sandwiches, drinks and other food snacks can be purchased at the Bolinas Market. Water and restrooms are available at the Community Center.
We leave Bolinas and head back on Olema Bolinas Rd. The ride out is fairly flat with lots of little sights to see. You also get fantastic views of the Bolinas Lagoon and its surrounding areas.
We turn on Bolinas Fairfax Rd and cross Hwy 1 to continue on. Watch out for the cattle guard! The sun is back up on this side and it’s warm again-yeah! The 4.4 miles climb starts off gently and increases after the first left hairpin turn. The gradient here maxes out at 12%. The remainder of the climb has gradient ranges of 7-9% all the way up to Ridgecrest Blvd.
We reach the top at Ridgecrest and it’s absolutely amazing to come up beneath the towering redwoods! The descent down Bolinas Fairfax Rd takes us to Alpine Lake/Dam. The road has been recently patched so it’s a much nicer descent than before. It’s gorgeous at the lake too; the color of the water is a brilliant shade of blue!
The climbing continues on Bolinas Fairfax Rd as we make our way up to top at Pine Mountain. There are gentle sections of road with a few downhills in between. The last right hand turn will bring you to the final climb of the day.This section of road can get very hot during the summer; it’s fully exposed to the sun.
We reach the top and from this point, it’s a fast fun down hill all the way back to Fairfax.
Thanks to Phil for leading today’s ride. What a great way to spend the day!
~35+ people in attendance with 2 tandems
44.2 miles with 3836′ of elevation gain
Weather: WONDERFUL! Warm & sunny in the morning turning to overcast skies with cooler temps in Bolinas. Return of the sun after leaving the coast. Temps ranged from the high 60’s to the mid 70’s