Monday, September 5, 2011

My newest favorite ride...

I've been meaning to pedal to the top of Tam on the dirt on my road bike for some time. The problem is that the most road bike-able dirt road up Tam is Railroad grade, which starts in Mill Valley, a good almost 2 hour pedal just to get to the start. So I pulled out the map and, "oh, what's this?" I see that there's a fire road called Old Stagecoach Fire Road that begins at the intersection of Panoramic Highway and Pantoll Rd. that takes one over to Railroad Grade at West Point Inn.

The new favorite ride is to pedal south on Highway 1 to Stinson Beach and climb Panoramic Highway to the top where Pantoll Rd. intersects. Then jump on Old Stagecoach Fire Rd. to Railroad Grade up to the top of the East Peak of Mt. Tam. The climb up those two dirt roads on the road bike is perfect. There are sections of Old Stagecoach that are flat and one can simply big ring motor up the dirt. There's something really elevating about riding fast on a dirt road on your road bike.

Yesterday's ride consisted of the pedal up to East Peak via Old Stagecoach/Railroad Grade, then back down (which is a misnomer because there are plenty of "ups" on Ridgecrest coming off East Peak) Ridgecrest to Bo-Fax Rd. and over to Fairfax. In Fairfax, I take a little breather pedaling easy through the back streets, fueling up on some Clif Bloks, then on to Sir Francis Drake over White's Hill, through the San Geronimo Valley. I always take the Cross Marin Trail through Sam Taylor Park because part of it is dirt and, well, I loves me some dirt road riding. To get back to Point Reyes, I usually take Platform Bridge Rd. to Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd. All told, that loop is 60 miles and has plenty of climbing. My new favorite loop. Just need 4+ hours set aside to do it. There's a lot of climbing, but I like climbing because I like descending.

The south end of Bolinas Lagoon.
Bolinas Lagoon

Climbing Panoramic Hwy. just out of Stinson Beach. The fog pressed down all the way until I got to Stagecoach Fire Rd.
Panoramic Hwy

About half way up Panoramic. There are some really steep drop-offs off the side of the road up here.
Panoramic Hwy

Ah, the sun. A view of Mt. Tam and the observatory.

East Peak and the fog line.
East Peak

Climbing Old Stagecoach Fire Rd.
Stagecoach Fire Road

Stagecoach Fire Road

Three cyclists coming up Ridgecrest as I was descending. The fog was doing a pretty good job of hanging on and keeping the temps down.

I kinda like the b/w version too.

This won't let me plot the route on the dirt, but it's close.

(What's playing: R.E.M. Wolves, Lower)


Nate said...

That is a good one indeed.

Trailer Park Cyclist said...

That looks like a lot of miles on the map. I gotta get out there. Any good trailer parks in the neighborhood?

blackmountaincycles said...

Not may and one less within 5 years.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

awesome route! love the fog shots.

dbo said...

that is a great ride in deed, your blog makes me miss home (Sonoma County). so many great paved/dirt rides.

Bike Hermit said...

How come your tires are so dang skinny for a mixed terrain ride?

blackmountaincycles said...

They are 28's and they work very well for this ride. There are other routes where I would choose something more cyclocross sized, but for this ride, the dirt sections really are nothing more that a fairly smooth dirt road and one could ride it with just about any sized road tire down to 23.

Anonymous said...

Yo Mike
Another, less trafficked mod to that ride:
Continue past Stinson four or so miles to Coast View trail, up Coast View to Pantoll and continue as before. Doable on 28mm tires

blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks Cam. Will give that route a go next time.