Thursday, January 25, 2007

Over the bypass and back

If I’m going to ride a century, I have to tackle hills. So last week I began my official hill-climbing training with a “Tour de Fieldbrook.”

That caused some pain and agony even though the elevation and distance were minimal. In the days following that ride I was haunted by the words of my sadistic high school cross country coach – no pain, no gain.

So today I turned it up a notch and decided climb the Redwood National Park Bypass. I chose this climb because I’m familiar with the roadway, having driven over the summit more than 500 times. It has a nice wide shoulder and a steady incline.

The plan was to toss the bike in the car, drive to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, pedal over the bypass and return on the Newton B. Drury Parkway. It would be a nice loop.

Before leaving I quickly flipped through my newspapers and noticed that someone was attacked by a mountain lion the day before at the park. That was interesting, but it wasn’t going to alter my plans.

But when I arrived at the park, the Newton B. Drury Parkway was closed and a ranger informed me that I was forbidden from bicycling on the roadway due to the mountain lion attack.

Mountain Lion warning

This was posted at the park entrance. By “close range” they mean that a mountain lion’s jaws were wrapped around a man’s head. That qualifies as "close" indeed. Fortunately the victim survived.

I wonder why he was attacked? Why didn’t the lion just go after something like the tasty lion snack below? These fellows are all over the place and they look easy to catch.

Lion snack

Due to the lion attack, I had to change my route. I would stay on U.S. Highway 101. I would climb the summit, descend to the Newton B. Drury Parkway across the Del Norte County line and then reverse the route to get home.

The elevation where I started is about 100 feet. So I started climbing...

more northbound roadway

Then I climbed some more...

northbound roadway

Nearly 1,400 feet up from where I started, I reached the summit.


I was drenched in sweat, but I felt pretty good. So I descended the other side. Below is the view of the east.

forest view

When I got to the north entrance to the Newton B. Drury Parkway, below, I went into a funk upon the realization that I had to climb back up to the summit to get home. I was tired and felt like taking a nap. I wondered if I had made a mistake. It was too late now. I ate a PB&J, got back on the bike and worked my way back.


It’s a lot colder on the north side of the summit. I had to dodge some ice. Fortunately I brought lots of warm clothes. As you can see below, my rack trunk was stuffed to the brim.


It was a slow grind back to the top of the summit. I made it back to my car cold and tired. The total elevation climbed was well over 2,700 feet.


Blogger Jim said...

Good job,'yer a stud. We live in a beautiful area and personally I don't get out enough to enjoy it. Don't tell everyone about our lack of people, pollution, and problems. Carpe diem.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Savage said...

Excellent, Jack! Beautiful shots, too.

9:26 PM  

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