Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tunitas Creek

On Monday I took a field trip up the peninsula to ride some less-familiar roads. I normally ride from home, so as a change of pace I drove up to Palo Alto to experience some of the roads up thataway.

View Tunitas Creek in a larger map

The west side of Old La Honda
I drove up to Sand Hill Road, and was riding the bike by about 10:30. I rode up Old La Honda Road. On this hot day, I appreciated the shade on Old La Honda, and didn't regret the lack of a view. I must admit that, on this well-known climb, I found myself trying to maintain a faster pace than I normally would (I was happy with my time, but it was quite slow compared to others).

When I got to Skyline, I crossed over to the other side of Old La Honda, and thought that this must be one of the prettiest roads around. I continued down 84 to San Gregorio, with the temperature falling from the 90s to the 70s.

Tunitas Creek Road
I stopped at the San Gregorio store for a sandwich. I had forgotten that they only had pre-made egg salad, but it was fine. From there I headed up north on Stage Road, and when it met up with Route 1 I continued north on that road, too. Shortly after Route 1 dips down and crosses Tunitas Creek, I turned on Tunitas Creek Road and headed inland.

Tunitas Creek Road
Tunitas Creek Road runs relatively flat among farms and vineyards for a few miles. Just before it intersects with Lobitos Creek Road it begins climbing quite steeply. At the same time, it becomes increasingly wooded, starting with live oak and eventually running among towering redwoods. This part of the road is very steep, averaging about 8%. The most difficult kilometer of this ride was in this section, averaging over 10%. At 1500 feet of elevation the grade eases quite a bit.

I rode up to Skyline at 2000 feet, then turned south and continued climbing up to about 2300 feet. After that it was mostly an easy descent to 84 at about 1500 feet, then back down the way I came.

Elevation profile
This ride was a surprisingly short 46 miles, with 4400 feet of climbing. I was pleased that Old La Honda felt easier than it had on my first attempt, and Tunitas Creek Road was truly lovely.

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