Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Another week, another century! We’re adding miles to today’s birthday club ride by starting out in Petaluma and touring the quiet back roads of Sonoma on Spring Hill Rd and Tomales Rd to Fallon Two Rock and Middle Rd. The post birthday ride miles include a beautiful out and back to Jenner and Goat Rock Beach followed by a climb up Coleman Valley to Joy Rd and Bodega Hwy.
We begin at Walnut Park in Petaluma and exit town on Western Ave to Spring Hill Rd. Spring Hill Rd is a quiet country back road with very poor road conditions; it stretches 7.1 miles on rolling terrain through the many cattle and horse ranches, dairy farms and farm houses along Chileno Valley. The surrounding valley views and expansive pastoral lands are spectacular!
The next 3.2 flat miles on Tomales Rd and Tomales Petaluma Rd is quite the opposite of Spring Hill with fantastic smooth pavement from the turn off at Bodega Ave all the way to Alexander Rd and beyond! The surrounding vibrant green meadows are a sharp contrast to the overcast skies above us. The dairy cows are already out grazing the fields and catching the early morning dew.
The short climb up to Alexander Rd offers fabulous views of the beautiful valley; it’s about 9 AM and we can already hear the sounds of guns shooting off at the firing range. The rolling short climbs on Alexander cuts over to Fallon Two Rock Rd.
The flats and rolling climbs on Fallon Two Rock Rd runs through the many ranches and farms across the immense valley.
We cross CA-1 and continue on Whitaker Bluff Rd to Middle Rd; this is another quiet back road with non-existent traffic and idyllic scene of the soft green hills encompassing the valley floor-WOW!
The short climb up Middle Rd drops us down Valley Ford where we meet up with the group at the parking lot of Dinucci’s Restaurant.
The birthday ride begins from Valley Ford and continues on Freestone Valley Ford Rd to Bodega Hwy and Bohemian Hwy to the quaint town of Freestone followed by a short climb through the woods up to Occidental.
The fun sweeping descent on Bohemian Hwy from Occidental takes us across the Monte Bridge into Monte Rio. We continue through the redwoods on CA-116 W along the Russian River to view the Osprey and its huge nest on top of a dead tree.
The out and back section on Austin Creek Rd heads north through the woods and redwood forest for 3.6 gentle miles along Austin Creek to the bridge and returns south on Cazadero Hwy to CA-116 W.
The short scenic mile on CA-116 leads us to the Gold Coast Bakery off Moscow Rd in Duncans Mills. The birthday celebration takes place at the rear patio of the bakery with plenty of picnic tables and outdoor seating areas. Thanks to Margie & Deb for the birthday treats-oatmeal raisin cookies!
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to all the June babies of the group!
The ride continues on CA-116 along the Russian River out to CA-1; this is where Michael and I split from the group and head north for the 2 miles out and back to Jenner for the “must-see” view of the convergence of the Russian River and the Pacific Ocean. It’s absolutely breathtaking; the harbor seals can be seen bathing along the edge of the sand bar and you can see the waves rolling in at Goat Rock Beach-WOW!
We return on CA-1 south for the moderate climb up to Goat Rock; the 1.6 mile stretch on Goat Rock Rd towards the beach area is drop-dead gorgeous! The coastal bluffs and sandy rocky shorelines together with the lingering fog create a perfect picture of the natural beauty that lies along Sonoma’s Pacific Coast! I love it here! I even got a pic of a flock of pelicans flying over the coastal area-WOW!
We exit Goat Rock Rd and return on CA-1 south for the fun rolling scenic climbs along the coast to Coleman Valley Rd-the ocean views are awesome!
Coleman Valley Rd to Joy Rd is 8.4 miles on a narrow single lane road; the first 1.5 mile from CA-1 up Irish Hill to Sheep Ridge is steep with gradient ranges of 12-16%! At the top, take a moment to enjoy the spectacular ocean and valley views!
The rolling terrain along the ridge for the next few miles drops down into the valley through some farm houses, old weathered barns and ranches. The road continues through a wooded area for the climb up to Joy Rd.
Joy Rd takes us south for 4.6 miles through a small residential neighborhood tucked along the redwoods forest. The rolling climbs are followed by a very fast bumpy descent on a single narrow lane road down to Bodega Hwy. As we’re riding along Joy Rd, Michael spots a tree with falling fruit so we stop and take a look; it’s a cherry plum tree with lots of ripe fruit. I tasted one and it was pretty sweet so I filled my paper lunch bag with a couple of pounds of plums and Michael graciously carried it in his bike bag for me!
Bodega Hwy takes us through the small town of Bodega pass the country store, a few boutiques, the volunteer fire station, church and the Calvary Cemetery to CA-1 S/Valley Ford Cutoff.
The rolling climbs on CA-1/Valley Ford Cutoff take us up to the tree-lined ridge for the fast descent back to Valley Ford.
We continue on Valley Ford Rd for the flat 8.2 miles to Bodega Ave and jog around the city streets of Petaluma back to Walnut Park.
This is one of the most beautiful century routes that tours the many back roads of Sonoma; from the green open valleys to the redwood forests out to the Russian River and Pacific Coast! The climb up Irish Hill on Coleman Valley Rd is both challenging and rewarding! Come on out to do all or part of this route-you’ll love it as much as I do!
Thanks to Margie and Deb for leading the birthday ride and for the yummy birthday treats!
~35+ people in attendance with 1 tandem
101.30 Miles with 6493′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1110′
Max grade: 16%
Weather: GREAT! Mostly cloudy, overcast and breezy with some afternoon sun. SW winds with temps ranging from the high 40’s to the high 60’s
Wherever you are, be all there.
For the shorter birthday version-start & finish the ride in Valley Ford
Follow this route for today’s ride: