14 September 2019
4/B/65 – Crowne Plaza Foster City over La Honda Road to Tunitas Creek and Back
Dropped off a friend at the Crowne Plaza directly across the San Mateo Bridge. Starting from there and finding my way into and out of Foster City on unfamiliar roads resulted in some wrong turns and backtracking, but no more than 2 miles. Otherwise a very doable ride out of San Mateo, with safe roads and bike paths. It does involve two extended climbs, so you must husband your energy level carefully. Quite a few cyclists were encountered.
Due to the short notice, nobody signed up for this ride. I started from the hotel at 0900 and found my way quickly to the bike path on the Bay Trail. The O’Neill Slough Trail had a short section of dirt track made rideable with some embedded fabric that looked like potato sacks. I nearly missed the entrance to the Ralston Avenue Bike Trail leading over a bike bridge to Cañada Road, however did notice it across the road in time when I saw a cyclist exiting the path.
From there it was a straight shot to Woodside, with many TT guys riding their rigs at astounding speeds. On Sundays this road is closed to motorists. I followed Woodside Road out of that town only as far as La Honda Road, Highway 84. The climb up Old La Honda Road is the less trafficked route, but it adds 2 ½ more miles and 500 feet elevation gain.
La Honda does have its share of traffic and occasional missing shoulder, but it was manageable. In a group ride though, it is not a good idea, since motorists sometimes take their chances when passing you. At the top on Skyline Boulevard, I made my first break, where there is a convenience store and some restrooms. On the rapid downhill to San Gregorio, I had a pickup truck wishing to have a discussion with me one foot from my left elbow at 25 mph and with the shoulder narrowing ahead. I just yelled “Go! Go! Go!” and thankfully he took the hint before I had to brake.
I stopped in San Gregorio at 1145 and shortly thereafter at the Bike Hut on the road up Tunitas Creek. The climb itself is beautiful, but unrelenting, leading through a Redwood forest and up to Skyline Boulevard again. I took my time going down Kings Mountain Road and took a different route back to the hotel. Although I encountered some navigational challenges, I arrived at the hotel at 1500, as was planned. My average was 13 mph, though towards the end my energy was flagging.
This was a great ride and thanks to RideWithGPS, I was able to plan my route the evening prior. Perhaps this ride can be attempted again, but in a group, we would head up Old La Honda instead. Have a look at the link and you might have an improved route in mind:
TeamAlamedaPO Box 1216Alameda, CA 94501