Ride Description: Los Trancos

Los Trancos juts left from Alpine Road, just below Portola. Los Trancos immediately feels more because the road is narrow, winds more and has less traffic than Alpine.  After getting past the really steep section that ends at Ramona, the road becomes much more narrow and shaded as it winds upward past beautiful houses.  It reminds of Old La Honda but the homes are closer to the road and it ocassionally provides amazing views that Old La Honda does not.  As of 9/1/06 I’ve only ridden Los Trancos twice, but it is quickly becoming a favorite and I will be back again soon.
The first part of Los Trancos is about 1.84 miles.  It has rolling hills with gentle inclines and in a couple of spots, it does get mildly steep… and then you run into a brick wall of .23 miles with consistent grades of 15-18%.  A quarter mile doesn’t sound long but trust me at 18% it can feel like a century.   The main  Los  Trancos climb ends  at the stop sign where the road splits left for Ramona.  Most ride descriptions talk about Ramona because it continues at the brutal steep 18% grade for another 3/4 of a mile.  However, Los Trancos does continue up to the right.  I can’t find any grades or stats for this section of the road but having ridden it twice my guess would be that it is about a mile with a grade that is just slightly easier than Old La Honda… my best guess would be 5-6%.  Regardless of its actual grade after conquering the 18% section it is a welcome rest that almost feels flat despite riding at 7 mph.  There are a couple of junctions but it is pretty easy to stay on Los Trancos because there are road signs and several of the offshoots are clearly dead ends.  However, it is important to stay left where the road splits into a ring that does in one direction.  At the end of the Los Trancos, one can either follow the one way road back down or continue up on Vista Verde Way.  I’ve never taken the route that follows the one-way ring back down and frankly I can visualize where it splits off from Vista Verda Way, however, Google Maps assures that it does exists.  I recommend continuing up Vista Verde Way for the spectacular views and nice ride back down Joaquin and Upper Alpine, but man is it steep!

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