Friday, May 2, 2014
Today’s ride is all about climbing; hills, hills and more hills with some dazzling steep descents along the remote back roads of Sonoma County. This counter-clockwise loop heads north along CA-1 to Duncans Mills and Cazadero for the challenging climbs up Kings Ridge Rd, Hauser Bridge Rd, Sea View Rd and Meyers Grade. The cruise along CA-1 S to Jenner and the Sonoma Coast State Beaches completes this gorgeous lollipop ride.
We exit Porto Bodega RV Park for the short pitch on Eastshore Rd up to CA-1.
The rolling terrain on CA-1 takes us pass the small serene ocean front residential community along the coastline.
The road continues out to Goat Rock Rd and drops down to the bridge crossing over the Russian River.
We head east on CA-116; this road take us pass the open green pastoral lands and cattle ranches along the beautiful Russian River.
The road tilts up for a short section and follows the curvature of the river into the small town of Duncans Mills.
We make a brief stop at the Gold Coast Bakery to top off our water bottles and for some baked goods to fuel us for what lies ahead.
CA-116 E continues along the river with views of the forested Sonoma Mountains to Cazadero Hwy.
We head north on Cazadero Hwy; the flat terrain on this road take us through the towering redwoods that run alongside Austin Creek.
The road continues through the small wooded residential community to the first bridge crossing over Austin Creek.
Cazadero Hwy winds its way along the creek to the center of Cazadero. The Cazadero Store is the last place to pick up food, snacks and water before the start up Kings Ridge Rd. There are two water stops after Kings Ridge and no other services between the 37 miles from here to Jenner-plan accordingly!
Kings Ridge begins on flat terrain for the first 2.6 miles and heads north through a small pocket of homes to the dense woods along Austin Creek to Holmes Canyon.
At mile 23.4, the road kicks up for a 0.6 mile climb up the canyon with an average grade of 8.5% followed by a mile long descent to the bridge crossing over Austin Creek.
At this point, the road kicks up for the next 1.3 miles as it weaves its way to the first sharp switchback; the average grade is 10.4 % with steep pitches of 12-14%! The road exits the woods out to the back ridge and levels out to the iron gate at mile marker 10-the first summit. Enjoy the surrounding mountain views!
From the gate, the road drops down for half a mile back into the woods and onto uphill rollers for the next mile-average grade 4.5%.
The road descends for a very short bit followed by a 0.7 mile steep climb with 13-16% pitches at the switchback and an average grade of 11%! You’re near the top of the ridge when the trees lead out to the open skies ahead.
This is the part everyone loves about this road-it’s a grind to get up here but it’s well worth the effort! It’s a whole new world of riding as you roll along the top ridge line with expansive views of the surrounding dense variegated forests, open hilltop meadows, vast mountains and ridges!
This is also cattle country with free roaming grazing cattle and ranches.
The road continues with short rolling climbs along the ridge for 7.4 miles.
The gentle rollers take us across a few cattle guards through the open ranch lands with weathered old barns, wooden cattle pens and old ranch homes.
The views are phenomenal! You must slow down and ride in silence to let your mind and body absorb the natural beauty of the surroundings!
Kings Ridge Rd ends with a climb out to the junction at Hauser Bridge Rd; it’s 0.7 mile with an average grade of 4.8%.
Huaser Bridge Rd plummets from the top of the ridge on a steep, bumpy and twisty road through the shaded canyon down to the narrow iron grate bridge crossing over the Gualala River.
Of course, you should have guessed it-the drop into the canyon is followed by a climb! It’s a quiet and beautiful 1.7 miles through the towering redwoods with an average grade of 8.2%.
You’re near the summit when you see the white fence line; it leads up to the Ratna Ling Retreat Center. At the top, there is a bike rest stop area provided by the Ratna Ling Retreat Center complete with a water fountain, bike racks and a natural stone seating area-WOW!
Hauser Bridge Rd continues on gentle terrain pass the main entrance to Ratna Ling Retreat Center to Sea View Rd.
Sea View Rd begins with a rolling downhill through a small ranching community followed by a one mile 5.4% climb through the woods and another descent to the intersection at Timber Cove Rd.
Sea View Rd continues through the redwoods to the Ft Ross School and a small residential community. It’s a 1.5 mile climb with an average grade 6% out to the open clearing.
The road exits the woods onto the upper ridge at the junction with Fort Ross Rd.
We continue straight on Fort Ross Rd for the short half mile run along the open ridge with fabulous view of the ocean and hilltop meadows!
From Fort Ross Rd, we merge onto Meyers Grade Rd; this two lane road begins on gentle rolling terrain for 1.2 miles along the ridge.
Meyers Grade tilts up for a 0.7 mile climb up to the Fort Ross Vineyards with an average grade of 4.7%.
The road drops for about half a mile and levels out for a short distance before the steep plunge from the ridge down to the open valley meadows below. Did you take note of the previous road signs leading up to this descent? The county gives everyone fair warning of the impending 18% bomb down the other side of the hill to CA-1.
We continue on CA-1 S for the riveting sweeping, fast and smooth descent to the bridge crossing over Russian Gulch.
The climb up from the gulch to the coastal bluff is 0.4 mile with an average grade of 7.9%. Look around and enjoy the stunning views of the sandy coves, rocky headlands and crashing waves!
CA-1 S continues to wind along the gorgeous coastline towards Jenner.
Whenever I’m out this way on CA-1, I always like to stop at the vista point over “The River’s Mouth”; where the Russian River meets the Ocean. The views are spectacular!
We stay on CA-1 S into Jenner for a quick stop at the Jenner Store and continue along the splendid Russian River towards CA-116.
The bridge crossing over the Russian River leads us to the climb up to Goat Rock; it’s 0.8 miles with an average grade of 6%.
The road hugs the craggy coastline on a roller coaster scenic run with dramatic views of the rocky bluffs, beaches and headlands.
CA-1 S takes us back through the ocean front homes with its colorful coastal landscape and beach side views.
We cross Salmon Creek back into Bodega Bay and drop down on Eastshore Rd to Porto Bodega Marina.
This challenging epic ride through the remote quiet country back roads is definitely one to put on the books! Get some friends together to share the pain and enjoy the gorgeous ocean vistas, ridge line views, forested woodlands, open hilltop meadows and wild descents. This is definitely a ride you’ll always remember with a smile or a grin! Hills and thrills-happy climbing!
68.3 Miles with 6526′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1698′
Max grade: 16%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs and descents
Weather: Coastal morning fog-sunny and warm inland with temps ranging from the mid 40’s to the high 80’s. NW winds with 60% humidity.
Follow this route for today’s ride: