Archive for August, 2009
I wanted to bicycle out to the coast today, but a heat wave (103 degree F) made me rather lethargic. So here’s a few unpublished images from my recent Santa Cruz trip.
My brother (pictured) and I like this image because of its enigmatic time and geography: The Macedonian coastline, early 1960s perhaps.
For the actual location, remember to click the geotag icon below the image and use the zoom and map tools (switching to the satellite map type and zooming in very close is always interesting).
His bike is a really nice, old lugged Trek. That’s an Ostrich Bag on the front and a home-made pannier bag on the back.
This is where your brussel sprouts come from……and the last bit of farmland before entering Santa Cruz (just past Wilder Ranch State Park).
One of my knees was really killing me at this point (and by killing me, I mean it felt like I was being stabbed in the knee with two screw drivers). I later discovered I had stupidly pedaled 100 miles on a saddle that was set too high. Lesson learned.
The white sheen on the rocks? It’s guano, in case you were wondering.
This Friday’s ride was a short commute to Mill Valley and since I forgot my camera I’m including a map instead.
There are many possible routes using little side roads and bike paths, but these bike paths are not visible on Google maps, hence the gaps between the red route lines.
I left a little past 8am and rode at a slow, meandering pace for about an hour. My destination was an intensive specialty coffee training workshop with Willem J. Boot of Boot Coffee Consulting, a remarkable fellow with a true mastery of his subject. The state-of-the-art, teaching studio (equipped with numerous roasters and high-tech coffee industry gadgetry) is continuously abuzz with instructional exercises laid out in ritualistic fashion by Willem’s able associate, Jodi.
The class was also graced by a special guest, Graciano Cruz, of Los Lajones estates in Panama who spoke of his efforts to raise the quality level of coffee and with it the lives of the region’s indigenous farmers (see this description of his world class coffee).
Overall, it was a fantastic course during which I was treated to a cupping of the fabled Gesha coffee from Panama, as well as some delicious Ethiopian, Kenyan, Guatemalan, and Taiwanese (yes Taiwanese) samples. The location of the Boot Coffee school is marked by the southern most of the blue placemarks on the above map.
The other placemarks on the map pinpoint two other highlights of this ride: (1) my closest encounter yet with a Red-Tailed Hawk (only about 20′ away sitting in a nearby tree) and (2) a voluminous patch of black berries that I stopped to gorge on during the evening ride home.
Looking northwest, past Devil’s Slide along Highway 1.
SUMMARY (84 out of 100 points): Was it because of the 80+ miles of hard riding that preceded it or was this, in fact, a very good espresso in its own right? Separating the two is tricky (you know how everything tastes great when you’re out hiking or camping–same thing with a bike ride of this length).
I have to say I think Whale City Bakery gets much right with its espresso. The presentation was acceptable. The crema was decent though not stellar (a little thin actually), but the flavor really shined through. I’m not one that easily identifies the acidity or flavor attributes (like floral, citrus, malt, etc.) of each cup. Nonetheless, the overall taste just seemed right–clean, balanced, yet also interesting.
Because I was curious the Barista retrieved the foil bag of espresso—apparently a local Santa Cruz purveyor, whose name I unfortunately failed to make a note of and have now forgotten.
Serving size (4/5);
(If you haven’t already done so check out The Friday Cyclotouriste’s espresso rating system).
The route was prety straightforward. If you’re not familiar with the Bay Area you should print out some maps, but we basically made our way from memory.
The trip breaks down roughly into three sections.
Mile 0-35: a mix of urban and suburban roads and bike paths which wind through Marin cities such as San Anselmo, Ross, Corte Madera, and Sausalito. You cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head west toward the coast and climb Skyline Blvd. before enjoying a nice descent into the city of Pacifica.
Mile 35-50: the long climb outside of Pacifica past Devil’s Slide offers some spectacular coastal views on the descent. Then it’s mostly flat or gentle low rolling hills to Half Moon Bay (which is a good place to remember to eat something or at least stock up on food).
Mile 50-100: a lot of short steep hills in this section makes it difficult to maintain much momentum. Also there’s no running water at the numerous coastal campsites, but Pigeon Point Lighthouse will let you use their hose spigot to refill water bottles. A few miles past the lighthouse is Gazos Grill in Pescadero, which will serve you a meal. Then there’s Davenport (see my espresso review). Finally, in the last 14 miles or so, the hilliness decreases as you roll past fields planted with brussel sprouts and begin to hit the outskirts of Santa Cruz. We crossed town, mostly on bike paths, to arrive at our friend’s house near the boardwalk where we would stay for the night.
Note: the picture above is of my brother along the climb outside of Pacifica. It’s steeper than it looks, the shoulder is quite narrow, and there’s lots of truck traffic heading up to the construction project where a massive new tunnel is being built.
Read Part I here
It may not look so, but it was foggy, cold, and very windy this morning. I was comfortable only after putting a windbreaker over two wool layers.
Also, we found out the bike path on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge is closed during the week.
This made entering and exiting the bridge a little more complicated.
Since we didn’t eat breakfast. A picnic table by this Mill Valley park, 35 minutes into the ride, was our first stop.