After finishing my ride with the Bulldog Cafe group, 40 miles and 3300" of climbing, I donned normal clothes, ate at a sidewalk cafe, confined myself to ice teas which took a lot of willpower, changed back into cycling gear and rode 7 miles to the base of the Refugio climb. Above you can see a concrete barrier that warns vehicles to go no farther and a few cars around for hikers and mountain bike riders.
Next it was 3 miles on dirt, rocks, boulders and mini canyons, climbing 1600'. The image does not do justice to how rough this section is and few people on road bikes climb this but that's all I have and the reward at the top is worth it. Each year the surface is different and this year, while the ditches are worse from rain runoff, otherwise the dirt is packed down nicely so I only had to dismount twice when trucks came down. It's a one-lane road afterall.
During the ascent, there are curiously 3 asphalt sections, each 30-50 yards long but otherwise, a crummy surface. At the top, one can stay straight and coast to the ocean or hang a left and go another 6.5 miles, gaining another 1900'. I've ridden this once before and the views are the best in the area. Ocean to the right, valley to the left on a very narrow strip of land. It's kind of eerie with no cars, seldom another bike, no homes, the wind howling, etc...
Ocean views to the west.
The loyal bike at the entrance to the fenced off satellite array, Santa Ynez Valley beyond. There is a dirt road, W Camino Cielo Road that I have been told takes one from.....
....this point to State Route 154 that goes from Santa Barbara, over the mountain down to Santa Ynez valley. Maybe 10 miles so....
....there is #154, the silver strip slightly left of center, heading into Santa Ynez. Could I make it to #154 from here? I really wanted to but the next 10 miles is an unknown, it was 4:00pm so if I had a flat or mechanical I'd be out there in wilderness after dark with mountain lions, bears, cougars, rattlers.... So, I turned around and headed back, finishing the day with 74 total miles and 6800' of climbing. However, on the ride down the dirt section, my front tire went into a ditch and the bike stopped abruptly. I hovered for a split second attempting to regain my balance before going over the top, saw my life flash before me and toppled down. Ouch but I was ok while feeling stupid. I'm feeling pretty good otherwise and looking forward to riding with the Planet Ultra tour.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.