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Saratoga to Pescadero

Saratoga to Pescadero is not a regular ride and may not have been done by any other mountain bikers.  It just happened to come to mind one day when we weren't thinking clearly.  We set off to go to the ocean and back on trails as much as possible and strictly by bike power.  We acheived the goals, but not without quite a bit of riding!  The sore butts went away but we still remember this marathon ride.  This ride still stands as a personal best in terms of distance, time, total ascent and total number of parks visited in a single ride.

Park: Saratoga to Pescadero
Date: July 2, 2006
Distance: 73.82 miles
Ride Time: 8 hours
Total Ascent: 7682 feet
Maps: Trail map
Overall Rating: 4

Starting in Saratoga, we rode through Stevens Canyon and Montebello OSP, just missing Fremont Older. Passing between Russian Ridge and Skyline OSP, we continued down Alpine Road and into Portola State Park. We rode down Old Haul Road, an abandoned lumbering rail bed, and into Memorial Park. This took us to Pescadero Road, which we followed all the way to the ocean, where we took a few minutes to enjoy the view.

We returned to the town of Pescadero for a lunch break at Archangeli's store. A tasty deli sandwich, a giant bottle of Gatorade and we were ready to hit the road again. This time we returned via Alpine Road (the paved section) and Steven's Canyon trail because some rangers were upset that everyone (including us) were crossing the creek on some boards where the bridge had been washed out in Portola State Park. Oh well.  The climbs on Pescadero Road and Alpine Road seemed a lot steeper than they had in the morning.

We were very relieved to get back to the Alpine Road/Skyline/Page Mill intersection that marked the highest point on our return.  This meant most of the rest of the ride was downhill.  Of course, this meant that we had to pay closer attention to the trail since fatigue has a tendancy to cause you to lose your focus on the trail, which can lead to sudden crashes when riding downhill.  Fortunately, we had no problems.  Even the small hills (which once seemed a tremendous challenge) were much easier by comparison to what we had already ridden through.

We returned home for a bit of rest, a good meal and a bit on non-saddle time. This ride was 8 hours of moving time (aboaut 11 hours wall time including lunch) on all-mountain bikes with full packs! We thought this was quite an accomplishment!  Over the course of this ride we visited the following parks:

  1. Upper Stevens Canyon County Park
  2. Montebello OSP
  3. Russian Ridge OSP
  4. Portola Redwoods State Park
  5. Pescadero Creek
  6. San Mateo County Memorial Park
  7. Pescadero State Beach
  8. Sam McDonald County Park
  9. Skyline Ridge OSP

We haven't done this ride since.  I don't know if we are wiser, less capable, less impulsive or if it is just a matter of "been there and done that."  Most likely it is a bit of all of these.

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