Following Anna's description of the assorted birthday-related bike adventures, I thought I'd elaborate a bit.
Dave wanted to do a ride of some significance, as his birthday was a nice round number (divisible by 5, 10, and 25) so on Friday we left from his house in Menlo Park, and rode over Old La Honda, down the other side of OLH to Highway 84, to the historic stage stop in San Gregorio. There we re-filled bottles, split a yummy turkey sandwich, and relaxed in the pleasant sun and slow pace that prevails in San Gregorio.
We then rode up Stage Road to where it intersects with Highway 1 -- exactly where the chill marine layer was blowing in that day. On with the jackets for a quick descent into the fog, heading north on 1... then a right turn onto Tunitas creek, and instantly back into the balmy warmness of that little agricultural canyon. A quick stop at the Bike Hut, and then up the Tunitas climb -- so pretty you can almost forget what a climb it is! Over the top and down Kings Mountain, thence through Woodside and back to Dave's for espresso. A fine birthday ride indeed!
Sunday, we started out with Stephan and some friends, and again headed over OLH. Anna and Nimue rode out a little ahead of the rest of us, and I kept thinking I'd catch them as I went up the climb. They were practically at the top! Nimue was in an excellent mood, and was a good little stoker all the way up the hill.
The girls had an afternoon engagement to go see a play, so they headed back down the hill. Stephan and crew continued on the same Tunitas loop that Dave and I rode Friday (including the requisite stop at the Bike Hut) while I rode over to Memorial Park and found the old Haul Road that connects to Portola Redwoods State Park. I had long wanted to check out this intriguing road... it runs along the creek under the lush redwoods for about 5 miles, at a very gentle grade, and even though it is dirt is quite passable on a road bike. However, up at the Portola Park end, they're stuck in an unfinished construction project to re-build a bridge across the creek. It's hikable, but the park has plastered "no-entry" tape and cones all over the place, and has signs up at the visitor center... coming in from the Portola side, it would be fairly obvious that they don't want you to go through the construction area (presumably for liability reasons; it's quite passable on foot, if not so much on a bike.) From the Memorial Park end, though, there's absolutely no indication anything might be amiss on the other end. There's also no mention of the access issues on the (useless) Park website, nor did a thorough Googling turn anything up.
By the time I got out of Portola Park, the afternoon heat was in full blast. I had forgotten how steep the climb out of the park is -- and parts of it are really exposed to the sun. You get a brief respite where the road meets Alpine, but then the rest of the climb up Alpine is just unrelentingly hot. I went through 2 bottles by the time I got to the top, and was quite happy to coast down Page Mill and roll home. Not the longest ride, but it felt hard enough!
Here's the route profile from Sunday's ride: