Stephanie Bateman // Mini Epic
Rented a Cannondale Topstone with 38mm Panaracer Gravelking chunk light tires. Unsure of the tire pressure but were firm. Shimano 105 11 sp 46/30 in the front and 11-34 in the rear. Carried 3L of water in my Camelback and 2 bidons of electrolyte fluid. Began ride slightly after 8am in Woodside weather cloudy, mid 50s. Started my Garmin at the start but it died at 7 hours. Luckily, I had my watch as backup but forgot to start it until the intersection of Half Moon Bay Rd. and Cañada.
There was not too much of a headwind on Cañada. Parts of the trails northbound were closed and re-routed onto Skyline North which wasn’t bad. Stumbled across a group of riders doing the same ride and played cat and mouse with them for the first 1/2 of the ride.
The 1st climb, Sweeney Ridge was a wake-up call as I’m not an early riser so grinding it out a steep ascent was difficult. I felt that the extra weight on my back, the 38mm chunky tires on pavement and the heavy bike were not to my advantage either. It was foggy and sunny at the top. I didn’t feel like stopping and just wanted to keep going.
From there the descent down the Baquiano Trail was terrible. The ruts were deeply cut and the dirt was loose. Having done this on a Saturday, there were a lot of hikers and runners one had to dodge and skid out. I felt that a full-on, fat tire MTB may have been better equipment for this section. My bike skidded out more times than I can count. Even walking the bike down a couple of sections in my MTB shoes was still pretty slippery in the loose dirt.
The 2nd climb up San Pedro Mtn was a much easier, steadier, paved climb with fewer hikers. There were sweeping views of thick, cold fog at the top. It was here that I did not regret over-layering. The descent was a fast, cold, bumpy and chunky ride with a lot of potholes and broken up pavement, but I enjoyed the scenery. From there it was a nice relief to be back on pavement where I could get some speed.
Once I was in Half Moon Bay I took the bike trail which was nicely paved for half of it, which then turned to this dangerous dirt path as a couple sections of the path were eroded into a dropoff cliff down to the ocean and if you’re not paying attention things could go wrong very quickly. The rest of the coastline was great.
The sun popped out as I turned onto Tunitas Creek Rd and it was where I had to shed layers. Such a beautiful climb, but about 1/3 of the way up the fatigue was truly settling in and I questioned riding 38mm tires up a long, paved road. My Camelback was almost empty, and I was still overheating despite being in the trees. I felt like dying about 3 or 4 times. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic.
After a rest at the top to recollect my head, the descent down King’s Mtn was smooth and fast which cooled me off quickly and I was happy to be done with the ride. The temp in Woodside was 70 at that point and I felt accomplished. I would ride (most of the ride) again, maybe not the Baquiano Trail DH.
I don’t regret having layers as the temps were maybe a 20 degree difference. I don’t regret having 3L of water on my back because I drank almost ALL of it without having to resupply and if it were warmer or sunnier, I would have needed more water. I mainly found the terrain difficult as I would have opted for smaller tires for 75% of the ride, but the rest I was truly glad I didn’t have anything smaller or less rugged.