Fort Ross Loop

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Sometimes taking a long drive to get to a start of a shorter ride is worth the effort. Today is one of those days!

We all meet up at Duncans Mills on B St. There is plenty of parking; water and restrooms are available within the little country mart shopping square.

We exit the parking area and head north on Hwy 116/River Rd.

The flat 6+ mile stretch along Cazadero Hwy takes us along Austin Creek; it’s nice to take in the scenery and fresh morning air!

We take a left onto Fort Ross Rd at the Y intersection; get in your lower gear-there is an immediate steep climb ahead with 12-13% grades! Once you pass the Elementary School, the road narrows and becomes a single lane. No worries-there is minimal to no traffic up here.

The average gradient is at around 5% with pitches of 8-10%. Take the time to enjoy the surrounding scenery on this quiet road. The road levels off for a bit and then the climbing continues on up towards Black Mountain. At around mile 6, you’re at the top of the first false summit when you see the large white house on the left; do take the time to check out the mountain views-it’s fantastic!

There’s still a bit of climbing to come after the descent into the shaded wooded area-it’s absolutely beautiful back here!

The road eventually opens up along the ridge; from this point, it’s about another mile up to the summit.

The group gathers at the top to enjoy nature’s sweet offering of blackberries-free pickings!

From the top, we take a right and continue along the ridge on Seaview Rd for the next 3+ rolling miles. I get so many moments of peace and calm riding through here-you will too, it’s all amazing!

Seaview Rd brings us to the blasting smooth steep descent on Timber Cover Rd; the sight of the blue ocean beyond the trees welcomes you at the bottom-it’s quite stunning!

We head south on Hwy 1 to reach our lunch stop at the Fort Ross Market. Weekday riding is the best-there are less cars out here!

You can order deli sandwiches and other items from the Fort Ross Store. There is an outdoor patio set at the back of the store with a few picnic tables. There’s plenty of room for all of us! There is also a permanent porta-pottie located off the driveway-that’s great!

After lunch, we stay on Hwy 1 heading south for the next 14+ miles. This is one of the most spectacular sections of road along the Sonoma Coastline. There are a few moderate climbs but being at the top of the bluffs overlooking the ocean is pretty awesome!

Riding through the coastal fog is wonderful; it only adds more drama and creates that mystical feeling of truly being in a place of beauty. WE ARE SO LUCKY TO BE HERE-I love it! Deservingly so, the ocean always takes center stage!

There is a flock of pelicans flying high above us!

The grass is obviously greener and tastier on the other side-Bessie has crossed the road!

When you reach the top at Meyers Grade Rd, there is a fast sweeping descent-the fog makes it looks like you’re dropping into nowhere! You can still hear and see the waves crashing over the jagged rocks and shoreline below-it’s stunning!

The last few rolling miles up to Jenner comes quickly; we make a stop at the vista point to admire the view of where the mouth of the Russian River converges with the ocean.

The water is amazingly calm and very still behind the sandbar-almost glass like.

From Jenner, it’s a short 2 miles from Hwy 116 back Duncans Mills. The sun is a warm welcome to our return!

Thanks to Wyatt for the fast pull back to Duncans Mills-WOW!

Thanks to Phil for leading this beautiful ride up and over Fort Ross Rd and out to the coast. Quality miles with quality views!

18 people in attendance with 2 tandems
42 miles with 3894′ of elevation gain

Weather: GREAT! Overcast morning turning to brilliant sunshine on the climb up Fort Ross Rd. Coastal fog on the return on Hwy 1 to Jenner. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the low 70’s-PERFECT!


In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle

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Follow this route for today’s ride:


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