Old La Honda to West Alpine Rd

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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Today’s group ride meets up at the parking lot near the Town Hall in Woodside. Water and restrooms are available at Robert’s Market.

Joan leads us out the parking lot to Mountain Home Rd and Portola Rd.

We continue on Old La Honda Rd for the next 3.3 miles. The climb is under a canopy of trees on a single lane road with narrow switchbacks. The average grade is at 7% with pitches that hit 9-11%. The middle of the climb takes you through a dense redwood forest; it’s amazingly beautiful! The top opens up to a wide clearing at Skyline Blvd/Hwy 84.

The descent on Old La Honda is on a very narrow road with blind corners. As a result from the previous days of high winds, the road is strewn with fallen leaves, redwood needles and other debris. There is also one section of road that narrows even more from a landslide and the lower sections have large potholes-proceed with caution! The views along the back side of the ridge are gorgeous!

We head south on Hwy 84 for the next few miles and regroup at the La Honda Country Market. You can order sandwiches and purchase other snack items. Water and restrooms are available.

The next mile along Hwy 84 takes us to the turn onto Pescadero Rd. Shift to a lower gear before the turn; there is a short climb up ahead! At the Y intersection, go straight to Alpine Rd.

The climb up west Alpine Rd is about 7.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1921 feet. It begins with a gentle climb of about 2-3% through the redwoods and increases substantially to an average grade of about 7%. As you wind your way up; there are sections that hit 10-12%!

This is a very quiet back road with minimal traffic. Take the time to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the surroundings. You will pass a huge horse ranch at Rancho De La Bana near Camp Pomponio Rd. The scenery is fantastic! The false flat at the vineyards leads you to more climbing! The false summit at Portola State Park Rd has wonderful views of the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.

You think you’re at the top-NOT! There are several false summits here; it’s another 3.5 miles to Skyline Blvd. The next short climb takes us along the ridge with magnificent views of the Open Space Preserve. The next sections have several steep 10-12% climbs! The twisting descent brings us to Skyline Blvd. There is a porta-pottie at the Russian Ridge Trailhead parking lot.

The descent on Page Mill Rd is over 8 miles with several blind corners and a couple of short rises in between. The lower section is fast with several tight left turns; watch for oncoming cars!

The left turn on Arastradero Rd takes us on 2 miles of rolling terrain through the Regional Preserve. We take Alpine Rd to the lunch stop at Robert’s Market in Portola Valley. Water and restrooms are available inside the store. There is an outdoor eating area with bike parking.

After lunch, we ride through Portola Valley on Portola Rd back to Mountain Home Rd and to Woodside.

Thanks to Joan for leading-it was another splendid autumn ride!

39.37 miles with 4160′ of elevation gain

12 people in attendance with 1 tandem

Weather: FABULOUS! Brilliant sunny day with temps ranging from the low 60’s to the mid-70’s

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