Kings Mountain and Alpine Rd

Saturday, August 28, 2010
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Michael and I arrive at the Arastradero Regional Preserve to start a club ride that will take us on Kings Mtn to Pescadero and Alpine Rd. Very nice restrooms and water are available. This is a popular starting point for mountain biking, hikers and road cyclists. Charlie is pointing out a Kite (bird of prey) that is perched on a oak tree in the distance. We were informed by the ranger that the Kite was nesting there. It's a warm and sunny 68 degrees.
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**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image.
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We head out on Arastradero to Alpine and Portola Rds. There is a lot of traffic as we ride through town. Portola ends and becomes Woodside Rd. From there we take Tripp Rd to Kings Mtn. There is water available at the Woodside Store Park.
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We make the turn onto Kings Mtn Rd. We're usually descending this road after the climb on Tunitas Creek, so this is a nice change. The last time I climbed this was several years ago on the Sequoia Century. Kings Mtn is a narrow two lane road that is 4.2 miles long. The overall gradient is around 6-7%. Once you hit the switchbacks, it increases to 8-9% for a bit. The road widens up in the middle of the climb and eventually narrows once again. All the little potholes and cracks in the road have been filled in, making it a much smoother surface to be on. There is a regroup at the top. Michael and I take the opportunity to put on our jackets. The temp has dropped down to a very cool 52 degrees.
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We head west on Skyline Blvd/35 for 5.5 miles. It's foggy and the road is damp on certain sections. We all get passed by a dozen or so people driving their souped up racing sports cars. The gradient on the climb is around 6-7% before the descent down to Hwy 84.
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There is another quick regroup in front of Alice's Restaurant. It looks like a popular hangout for motorcyclists. We head west on La Honda Rd/84. The upcoming descent has sweeping turns with good visibility on smooth pavement. I tuck in behind Michael and we're off! It's a fast run all the way to San Gregorio. Michael does a great job of blocking the headwinds. Baby, thanks!! Temp 65.
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We make the left turn onto Stage Rd heading south. The climb up this way on Stage is around 5-6% and levels out to about 2-3% in between. The second climb up reaches 7-8%. It's very quiet back here with barely any cars. There are plenty of cyclists descending from the opposite direction. I stop at the Cemetary to take a few pictures of the blooming pink flowers. Lunch is at Arcangeli's Market. Picnic tables, water and porta-potties are in the back of the store. It's a sunny 74 here.
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After lunch, we head east on Pescadero Creek Rd for the next 11 miles. It starts off flat and slowly increases to 3-5%. Once you pass Camp Loma Mar, you hit gradients of 8-9% for a few sections. There's a nice decrease to 4-5% here and there. We pass the Memorial County Park and I see all the campers, their tents and can smell the campfires on site. Temp 67. The road does get steeper after you pass the YMCA on Jones Gulch Rd. As you near the top, there are sections that increase to 10-11%. After that, it's a glorious downhill underneath the redwoods to Alpine Rd.
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There is a brief regroup before we start the 7.6 mile climb on the west side of Alpine Rd. It's absolutely beautiful on this secluded back road! The gradient ranges from 6-8%. There are a few short sections that hit 10-12%. It's pretty cool and shaded for the most part. Once we reach the ranch near the false summit, the sun is out. The next climb is along the ridge and you're fully exposed, it was wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun on my back. The views are spectacular! On this section, there are a few longer climbs that are in the 10-12% range but after you're done, it's a fun descent all the way to Skyline. There is a brief regroup in front of the Russian Ridge staging area. Porta-potties are available here. I don't recall a single car passing us on Alpine Rd. How great is that?
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Now we're at the home stretch, it's a 8.6 miles back to the Preserve. The descent on Page Mill is fast and fun, providing there's no traffic. There is a water fountain located about 1.3 miles from the top of Page Mill. There are 2 little 3% climbs to the ridge and then it's all downhill! Slow down for the two back to back hairpin turns and try to avoid the uneven utility cover in the middle of the road. Michael and I get back to the van a little before 4PM. Temp 73.
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Thanks to Jim and Lori for leading this ride! What a fantastic day to be out riding. It's always great to be with people who just want to get the climbing in, enjoy the ride and most importantly, have fun while doing it. Thanks everyone!
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11 people in attendance.
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69 miles with 6600' of elevation gain.
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Weather: Sunny skies with starting temp of 68 at the Preserve. Foggy, damp and a cool 52 on Skyline. Headwinds along Hwy 84 to San Gregorio. Overcast skies on Stage Rd to a warm and sunny 74 at Pescadero. 73 back at Palo Alto.

1 comment:

  1. Always a pleasure to have you on a ride. You can always count on my rides for plenty of climbing. Flat riding bores me to tears!

    Jim

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