Roland Dreier // Big Epic
In addition to riding the mini later in the month with Jan Lindstrom and Calvin Nieh, I also rode the Big Epic on April 8. I drove to the Cupertino Target before sunrise and set off around 6:30am. The ride up Stevens Canyon Road was beautiful as always, with Stevens Creek running very strongly - so strongly that when I reached the familiar crossing after the road turns to trail, I found that I would have to wade. And in fact I chose my spot to ford poorly and took one step that ended up getting me wet up to my waist - fortunately the day was warm.
I shared the trail with salamanders as I made my way up to Page Mill and set off down "dirt Alpine." It was my first time on the newly repaired trail, which has become much less technical, but I still had to walk down a few stretches that were extremely muddy and slippery. Once back on pavement, there was a long stretch of pleasant cruising through Woodside and onto Canada Road past the reservoirs.
The route turned uphill again at Sweeney Ridge, which I had never ridden before and took me up to the ridge above Pacifica. From there there's a fun stretch of singletrack descent, which was rutted by the rains but completely rideable, before returning to pavement and zooming down to the beach. There's a bit of a chance to enjoy the coast before the route turns back inland to go up and over San Pedro Mountain.
Once past that descent, the route is very well chosen to stay off of Highway 1 while making its way South to the Cowell-Purisima trail. It was amusing to mix with the fancy golfers on the coastal trail near the Ritz-Carlton. The Cowell-Purisima trail was another stretch that was new to me, and the farmland was spectacular with yellow flowers.
After the trail, there are just a couple of miles on the highway before the route turns onto Tunitas Creek Road. I was looking forward to a break at the Bike Hut, but not enthusiastic about starting the Tunitas Creek climb after 85 miles and 6000 feet of climbing already. After fueling up with some chocolate pretzels from the Bike Hut, I tackled the climb, including the extra grind north on Skyline, which seems unfair after the big Tunitas Creek Climb.
From there, the route took me through the top of Skeggs (thankfully staying at the top and paralleling Skyline) and past gorgeous golden views of Russian Ridge as the sun got lower in the sky. Finally I reached the Russian Ridge parking lot, and it was time to take Page Mill and Foothill back to civilization and my car.