Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pigeon Point 2010 Edition

Pigeon Point 2010

This year's Tour of the German Speaking Alps qualifier turned into a much larger group gathering with 13 people participating, including a sag wagon!

The day before the tour, it rained horribly and temperatures dropped to a low of 36 degrees. The morning of the ride, it was cold, but it was clear and beautiful. Mike Samuel, Lea Kissner, Kekoa Proudfoot, Phil Sung, Cynthia Wong, Scotty Allen, Katelyn Mann, Heather Whitney, Chris, Kyle Stickle, and Li Moore all showed up to ride. In addition, Catherine Rondeau and Tiffany Lau showed up with a SAG wagon to carry the gear. This being a qualifier, Cynthia and Kekoa had to do without the SAG and ride it with gear. Lisa and I put panniers on and carried our gear as well out of sympathy.

The route took us up Montebello, which can be a bear when it's hot, but this year was pleasantly cool, which meant we could work as hard as we like and sweat only a little bit. Li elected to do the bonus climb up to Peacock Court, and did it so quickly that he had enough time to catch us before the regroup at the Montebello school. Once we got up to the end of the pavement, the fire road turned out to be well-packed due to the recent rains, making it ideal for riding: our retire tire only spun out once and I had never had such an easy time on the fire road.

On the Black Mountain summit we had a glorious panorama of the area: it was so clear that we could see all the way to San Francisco, a first for the year! Descending the fire road we saw lots of deer, and got to Page Mill Road with no incident.

Coming down West Alpine, we spotted over the local mountains Big Sur looming behind it. That makes for about 120 miles of visibility. The redwoods were cool, but not as cold as I feared, though Lisa's toes went numb. The stream down West Alpine road was as broad as I had ever seen it, and together with the Redwoods in the area was a sight to behold.

Climbing Haskins Hill was nice and cool, and the descent down the other side was as smooth and pretty as always. Pescadero Creek looked like a miniature version of the Russian River, swollen with recent rains, and brown with sediment. We rode into Pescadero and made a turn onto North road to visit the baby goats newly born at the farm. Lunch immediately followed at the Pescadero grocery, where 3 loafs of the artichoke garlic bread was quickly consumed in short order. Catherine and Tiffany showed up to help cart the partially baked bread we bought for the hostel, and reported that the hostel staff was cranky that so many of us were showing up as a group.

Li had hurt his knee and so opted to ride to the hostel in the SAG with Catherine while the rest of us went back over to Cloverdale road and went down it to Gazos Creek road. On Gazos Creek road, I had front flat, but Scotty and Katelyn kept us company while I fixed it.

Upon reaching Highway 1, we faced a painful headwind but fortunately it was only 2 miles to the hostel. Once we were checked in and hot tub spots were reserved, we commenced eating. This was the first time we had ever had this much food at the hostel, and as far as I could tell, the eating started at 5pm and did not stop until 9pm. The hot tub was as good as ever, with the cold wind outside serving as a lovely contrast for the warmth of the tub.

The next morning, I woke up a full hour later than I had wanted to. This meant that with all the cooking and eating (yes, more eating, though for the first time I did a pigeon point trip without waking up the second morning hungry), and then we made our way up the coast towards Bean Hollow Road. I cheated by leaving my CPAP machine with the car, saving us 1.5 pounds (or the weight of a full water bottle). Kyle wanted to try China grade, so opted to ride South. Heather and Chris wanted to do more mileage, so chose to ride North to Half-Moon Bay. Li's knee still wasn't any better, so he opted to ride the SAG. That left only 9 riders riding to Pescadero from Pigeon Point. The descent from Bean Hollow Road into Pescadero Road was glorious, causing Scotty to say, "Piaw knows all the pretty little roads."

Stage road was pretty as well, and we got to it after a quick stop in San Gregorio where we ran into Western Wheelers Bob & Betty on a tandem. Tunitas Creek was amazingly beautiful as well, with little waterfalls flowing at a high, and the Redwoods providing ample shade for our climb. Once at the top, we quickly decided that the fastest route home was appreciated, so I jettisoned original plans to add more climbing to the ride and we headed home on Sand Hill Road and Foothill Expressway, getting home around 3:00pm with 99 miles on the odometer.

Congratulations to Phil for finishing his first ride to the coast and back, and special thanks to Catherine and Tiffany for the amazing SAG service. What an amazing ride.
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