Sunday, March 18, 2012

Camino Cielo es muy bueno

Over spring break my husband and I went on our yearly beach pilgrimage to Santa Barbara. We always bring the DH bikes and ride endless rocky descents, but I've had a hankering for years to ride the shuttle road, Camino Cielo. It runs along the mountain ridge 3000 feet above town, with views of the ocean, Channel Islands, and the Santa Ynez mountains. So, I took the Groundskeeper on its first interstate voyage, and gave it a go.
I left our campsite, aptly named Paradise, around 8am, and headed uphill.Riding up the old Stagecoach road, I could hear the freeway above me but blessedly only saw about 3 cars the whole day. I rode under this cool old arch bridge.
And then found myself looking down on it a mile later.This road knows how to go uphill! So steep in places that I actually had to tack back and forth across the road to keep the pedals turning. I was kicking myself for choosing cross tires instead of road tires when I saw this nice surface.
But then I came across a few miles of "pavement" and was glad I had my Panaracer Cross Blasters on.
Gorgeous views in all directions helped me forget that I had been going uphill for close to 2 hours
I rolled across the ridge for about 10 miles before beginning my descent down Gibraltar Road, a twisty lane-and-a-half hugging the cliffside. I stopped long enough to watch the hang gliders take off, and to ponder the lack of guardrails.

The ride ended as most good rides should, with cold beers and tasty food at a crab shack on the beach.

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