Friday, August 16, 2013
This route follows the 2013 Holstein Hundred in the reverse direction with a start/finish location in Nicasio. We take the beautiful country back roads from Marin County out to Sonoma County with three bakery stops. The extra miles out on CA-1 S to Olema Hill and Platform Bridge completes this century.
We start off with light morning mist and lingering fog in the valley. Nicasio Valley Rd from Nicasio out to the reservoir has been totally repaved and it’s just fabulous! It also feels like a much gentler grade.
The climb up Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd is 7/10th of a mile with about a 7% average grade. We descend into the valley with the warmth of the sun shining upon us. A quick stop at the Cheese Factory allows us to shed some layers before hitting the climb up Wilson Hill.
Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd takes us through the gorgeous Hicks Valley with open pastoral meadows and farmlands. The 8/10th of a mile climb up Wilson Hill is steep with gradients ranges of 9-11%. The valley views are spectacular! The steep descent on the back side takes us onto Chileno Valley Rd.
The flat to rolling terrain on Chileno Valley Rd is 9.6 miles long; this is a remote stretch of country road that runs through the beautiful valley floor with its scattering of ranches, farm houses and grazing cattle.
We take Tomales Rd to Valley Ford Rd and head west on Fallon Rd/Fallon Two-Rock Rd. The bumpy pot-holed Fallon Rd goes on for about 1.5 miles and the road conditions greatly improve as it changes to Fallon-Two Rock Rd up to CA-1.
We cross CA-1 onto Whitaker Bluff Rd; this short section of road takes us through the open pastoral farmlands around Estero San Antonio. The road quickly jogs right and left to Middle Rd. Middle Rd is a bit of a climb with gradient ranges of 6-8%, the drop on the other side takes us onto Valley Ford Rd/CA-1 N.
From Valley Ford, we continue on Freestone Valley Ford Rd to Bodega Hwy. The 5.7 miles on Bodega Hwy takes us pass Freestone for a short 5-7% climb up to the top at Barnett Valley Rd. The descending rolling terrain brings us a very short climb up Spring Hill to the turn on Ragle Rd into Sebastopol.
Ragle Rd runs along the edge of a residential neighborhood and Ragle Ranch Park to Mill Station Rd and onto CA-116/Gravenstein Hwy N. This road goes through the many vineyards and apple orchards around Sebastopol.
The turn on Graton Rd heads west through the small town of Graton and continues pass the acres and acres of vineyards with fruitful plump grapes and apple orchards with lots of hanging fruit. The surrounding blackberry bushes are busting with sweet ripe plump berries just ready for the picking-yummy!
The wooded climb up Graton Rd starts off with gentle grades of 2-4% and increases to 7-9% as you near the top. The lower section of this road roughly follows along Purrington Creek. The road levels out for a short section through the open fields and drops into the woods onto Bohemian Hwy into the small town of Occidental.
Bohemian Hwy takes us through Occidental and descends through a canopy of trees along Salmon Creek towards the vineyards in Freestone to our lunch stop at Wild Flour Bread. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I want to eat everything! The huge sticky bun is enough to feed 6 people! I have budget my stomach space for two more bakery stops on this ride so no bread or sticky bun for us! We do get a chocolate berry scone and a Meyer lemon peach scone-both are equally delicious!
We exit Freestone and return to Valley Ford on Freestone Valley Ford Rd. The turn on Valley Ford Estero Rd takes us over the stream to the gorgeous and remote Valley Ford Franklin School Rd. The 7-11% climbs on this road takes us through the open grasslands and ranches, it brings us up and over the ridge onto Dillon Beach Rd.
Dillon Beach Rd continues east along the ridge and drops into the center of Tomales onto CA-1 for our second bakery stop at Tomales Bakery. I got a savory pesto parmesan twist and a sweet chocolate pecan shortbread to balance it out. Both baked goods hit the spot after riding along cool foggy section coming into town!
I always check the weather forecast before any ride to see which way the winds are blowing. The reason we’re doing the route in reverse is to take advantage of the forecasted north winds, which means a tailwind for us along CA-1!
We had some crosswinds along the flats through the lagoon.
The north winds kicked in on all the rolling climbs to Hamlet, Nicks Cove and into Marshall. It was a fabulous fun roller coaster of a run along Tomales Bay up to the steep climb at Pt Reyes Vineyards to Pt Reyes Station.
We continue on CA-1 to Olema for the mile climb up Olema Hill to Platform Bridge Rd. The rolling terrain on Platform Bridge leads us onto Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd. The climb up the spillway takes us to the flats along the Nicasio Reservoir.
The flat three miles along Nicasio Valley Rd brings us back our start/finish in Nicasio.
If you like bakery stops, this route certainly fits the bill. You have quiet country roads with minimal to no traffic, idyllic pastoral landscapes and gorgeous views of Tomales Bay. There are enough stops to fuel you through the 100 miles!
This is my 46th century ride towards my goal of 52 for the year. I’m getting closer…..
101.25 Miles with 6978′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 735′
Max grade: 15%
Weather: Early morning mist with dense fog in Nicasio. Sunny blue skies in Sebastopol, Graton, Occidental & Freestone. The return of dense fog along the coast on CA-1 back to Nicasio. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the high 80’s. NW winds with 88% humidity
Every day is a perfect day to start living your dreams.
Follow this route for today’s ride: