Sunday, August 12, 2007
SSP in cali day 4-The Lost Coast
Today was the Queen day of the trip. We were about to get all we could ever ask for in a bike ride; Amazing scenery, epic views, great weather, awesome climbs, thrilling descents, good company, and excellent support. We started the ride in the Avenue of the Giants - it is a road that is surrounded by gigantic redwood trees hence the name Avenue of the Giants. We rode in the redwoods for about 25 miles but since part of out destination was the lost coast we needed to get over the hills and mountains that separated us from the beach. That took us to Panther Gap, a nice 8 mile climb up and over the coastal mountains. The climb was beautiful, no cars, amazing scenery, and switchbacks!
From the top of the climb we had an incredible view of Mendocino county. From there we had some rolling hills and a few 1 miler climbs to get us to the lost coast. We were on an amazing descent then suddenly the ocean opens up to your view. The road along the coast was a little more challenging then we anticipated. I'm not sure if it was the 25-30 mph winds, or the occasional sand blasting that we got along the 6 mile stretch, not to mention the only way to get off the coastal road is up "The Wall".
The Wall is a 16-18% 1 mile climb that juts up from the coast to get you over the coastal mountains. The look of it is exactly what it feels like, pure and unadulterated suffering. Its steep, it was windy, and it was amazing. I haven't ever rode up something so steep for so long. It was a pure brute of a climb, it really isn't that long, but when you are going 4-5 mph it seems to take forever. Once over the top of this hill we had a nice fast descent before beginning the next climb, the "Endless Hill", aptly named for it's length (8 miles) plus the loads of false summits that give you the rush that you're almost done only to disappoint again and again. I left the Capn' and eugie on this climb, mostly because I just wanted to get it done with and under my belt, knowing we had a 7 mile descent to Ferndale, were we would finish. I felt great on the climb and quickly settled into a rhythm. When the Capn and Eugie finally rolled over the top of the climb we were excited to be done and loving the ride we had just been on. This maybe the coolest ride I've ever done. The scenery was amazing, and the views were unbeatable.
Stats: 77 miles, 8200 feet of climbing, Lots of huge Redwoods, 25-30 mph winds, 1 insanely and excruciatingly steep climb (the other climbs weren't quite as steep as the Wall), miles of twisty fast descents and one great ride.