8/30/06: Los Trancos & Upper Alpine (28.7 Miles)

I spent the past 3 days learning some of the local steeps and I’ll post on my rides from 8/31 and 9/1 soon.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started getting a little bit bored of the my usual routes. At the same time, I’ve also decided that I want to build my climbing strength so that I can expand do longer rides with multiple steep sections like the Coastal Loop, which climbs both Old La Honda and Tunitas Creek. After consulting my Krebs Cycle map and Lucas Pereira’s cycling grade research, I decided to try Los Trancos first.

I picked Los Trancos because it had an extremely steep section that hit 15-18% over the last quarter mile. I was a little bit nervous about riding 18% but I figured I could get up anything that was only a quarter mile.

After riding up Alpine and slowly heading out Los Trancos in anticipation of what lay ahead, I was able to get up the steep section but man was it hard! My legs and lungs were burning as I slow reached the stop sign that signals the end of the main climb but I decided to stay right keep going up Los Trancos. However, I was so tired that I actually fell over in the first hairpin turn! A combination of the oddly banked edge, steepness of the turn and my lack of concentration due to exhaustion led to me losing my balance and slowly tipping over into the road. I wasn’t hurt because I was only going about 5 mph at the time but it was definitely a frustrating fall that knocked any remaining wind out of me.

After falling I decided to head back down Los Trancos and explore Alpine Road above Portola. Upper Alpine Road is definitely more challenging and rewarding that the lower section between Junipero Serra and Portola. Its approximately 4 miles long most of which is a light to moderate climbing but it does have a couple of short steep sections that I would guess hit 10%. The ride has much less traffic than the lower section, partial shade and follows a beautiful ravine for much of the ride. Upper Alpine dead ends into a private driveway. I’ve never ridden up the private driveway, but according to Google Maps, it looks like it connects with Old Spanish Trail at the top.

After reaching the top of Alpine Road I turned back around made a left on Portola and followed the Portola Loop back home.

Here are my stats:

28.69 Miles*

2h 10m 28s

13.2 Average Mph*

35.o Max Mph


*The average mph figure is a little bit low because I road several miles across Palo Alto and back at a very slow pace on legs of Jello in order to visit a friend.  I probably added 3-4 miles and knocked .3 to .4 mph from my average.

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