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My original routing for this stage was pretty darned close to the final! Using this Google Map, you can go to Street View to find a good place to watch the race.
At first glance, it looks like any other Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride. Not quite. With west-side Old LaHonda still under construction, it was time to hit up the last dead-end road off Skyline, Native Sons. Actually, Native Sons is the most-northern of the three, so it would have made sense if we’d done it first, then Star Hill and then Bear Gulch, but that’s not quite how we roll.
Who rolled? Kevin, Kevin, Karl, Karen, Eric, Jan, Chris and Todd. I actually saw Millo for a few moments towards the top of Kings; he’d left a bit early and I never quite got to him before he turned to head north on Skyine, missing all the fun. Todd had to get back early so opted out of Native Sons as well, but the rest of us were treated to yet another beautiful, twisty, one-lane road through the forests on the coast-side of Skyline.
I don’t know why these roads are so unknown to most cyclists; the pavement’s not bad, there’s very little traffic (although with the narrow roads you’ve got to be pretty careful as you descend!) and you can wonder just how awesome the future could be if those three roads (Native Sons, Star Hill and Bear Gulch) went all the way through to the coast again.
Initially I thought the people behind the gate at the “end” of Native Sons and reclaimed even more of the public road, by moving the gate another quarter mile or so up the hill from where it used to be, eliminating the views of the coast. My memory was faulty; looking up my ride reports from 2007 in an earlier diary entry show I’m mistaken; the beautiful views were on a side-road we unintentionally found ourselves on. And that’s one of the great things about a bike ride, or exploring in general. Some of the best memories will come from the wrong turns and unforeseen changes in plans.
Fortunately I was feeling better once past the monster that is Kings Mtn, and managed to keep everyone in sight on the climb back up to Skyline. And while my climbing legs belong to someone else these days, I found that I can still sprint when conditions are right (the combination of cold & wet causes me to lose my nerve on descents). You can see the results below… the guys lined up so perfectly for me it would have been criminal to waste the opportunity.