Rolloff – 9:10am – 0 mi
We gathered on the streeet and Murphy led us through the wet and treacherous MUNI tracks for the first few miles.
Lots of funny jokes being called out: “on your left”, “passing”, “slowing”, mocking the protocols of club rides! I took note of the route, as I often ride back down 3rd St from rides up north and Murphy had found a much more interesting route south through backstreets.
Eventually, although I’m not sure when, Murphy pulled away and we were on our own. We remained in a pack, ZT & I trying to stay close to the leaders in case of a split.
The route took us around Candlestick Point, which was a surprise since we were ultimately trying to head west. In the comfort of the pack, that turned out to be quite fun. I noted here the large assortment of bikes, from old beater “rain bikes” to s-works carbon road bikes and a few cyclocross bikes. Many commented on Marco and my disk brakes, saying what a good choice they were for this ride – yeah, they were!!
On Tunnel Rd, the lead group took a wrong turn to the left which I immediately figured as wrong, knowing that we were destined to climb Sister Cities Blvd. I pulled out my map to check but someone else had already corrected and the whole pack did a u-turn. The leaders were no longer trusted and new leaders (“locals”) were elected to guide us!
Go west – 9:44am, 8.7 mi
We hit Sister Cities Blvd, a steep but short climb off Bayshore Rd and a sprint was on. I didn’t want to lose contact with the leaders just yet – neither did ZT – so we stayed with them. I was cautious about missing turns at this point, so watched for Chestnut.
No problem this time – we descended Chestnut and began the climb up Westmoor. Here I wish I had studied the sheet a little closer as I thought, and was preparing myself for, a longer climb up Westmoor to Skyline. But we actually turned on Junipero Serra and took some very steep backstreets up to Sneath Lane and Skyline. Here the climbs were taking their toll and the pack began to disintegrate.
I was quite lost at this point, wondering where the route was taking us. I had no idea how good it was going to get!
Sweeney Ridge – 10:15am, 15.5 mi
At the top of Sneath, we dropped into Sweeney Ridge, a national park on the west side of San Andreas Reservoir that I’ve been wanting to ride for ages after seeing Stanley’s YouTube video of the climb. So I was stoked!
Also confused, as I thought Sweeney was an out-n-back, but that mystery was quickly solved!
The rain had been falling/drizzling constantly. I was warm and dry enough that it actually became quite pleasant. That would change later when we began riding at speed and dealing with spray!
We climbed the paved section of Sweeney. I admired the view of San Andreas Reservoir, which I so often see from the other side. After a steep but short climb, we reached an intersection with trails and it was clear from the skinny tire tracks which we way were headed.
The rain had soaked the trail and there was a layer of mud over the top making it hard going. Hard going unless, of course, you had knobby CX tires. I was loving this as I passed roadies getting bogged down in the mud and I floated over the top. Awesome!
The wide trail rolled along the ridge, passing the “Bay Discovery Site” where europeans first spotted our glorious bay and eventually came to an intersection with the Baquiano Trail. This was to be the highlight of the whole ride for me.
This singletrack trail dropped down to Linda Mar, taking a winding route. It was very muddy and thoroughly sliced up by the bikes that had preceded us. It was virtually impossible to keep a straight line but I got very used to just riding the side-to-side sliding down the hill. So.. much.. fun!!
I had to try capture it, so I stopped to grab some video. People were still in high spirits and having fun [vid] and ZT, as was I, was very much enjoying [vid] having disk brakes that worked perfectly in the mud!
Awesome, awesome descent.
The whole way down I could feel mud being sprayed up on my face, all over my jersey and loved every second!
Once we dumped out on the street, the roadies found a house with a hose and began hosing down their bikes. ZT and I scoffed and took off – our brakes were just fine
On the streets of Linda Mar, we had a couple of miles to ride to the base of Montara Mtn (Old San Pedro Rd). ZT took off fast – stretching out his legs and perhaps shedding some mud! I gave chase, trying to find water puddles to spray some water and clean mud off my frame.