Friday, March 23, 2007

Petrolia and "The Wall"

I did more driving than pedalling Thursday when I went to Petrolia to check out a section of the Tour of the Unknown Coast route.


I parked my car near this historical landmark, which explains how Petrolia got its name. “California’s First Drilled Oil Wells” were located not far from here, with the first shipment sent to San Francisco in 1865.

The ride west of Petrolia is very pleasant, with lots of green hills and tidy little ranches. It was warm and sunny.

Petrolia at ocean

This is the view before descending to the beach. There was a strong headwind, which made for a slow ride along the coast.

Graffiti before The Wall

I came across this ominous graffiti right before hitting “The Wall,” a brutally steep climb that’s often noted in reports about the Tour of the Unknown Coast. Just in case I decided to keep my cussing to a minimum when the climb began.

The Wall from afar

Gulp! Here’s a photo of “The Wall” from a distance. It reminds me of the south end of Union Street in Arcata, except it keeps going up and up.

The wall

And here’s a closer view.

I used my granny gear and slowly climbed it. The bike moved so slow it’s a miracle I didn’t fall over. I probably could have made better time just walking it, but I wanted to see if it could be done.

When I got near the top a rancher drove by and rolled down his window. “Right on! If you can do that, you can do anything. Yeah!” he cheered.

Beyond The Wall

I went up and over the mountain and down the other side. After you conquer “The Wall” you’re treated to another steep climb, above. It was getting late so I turned around and made my way back to Petrolia.

It was a short training ride – about 28 miles total. Since I had driven to Petrolia from the Weott side, I decided to return home by driving from Petrolia to Ferndale – the same route as the TUC.

It looks like about 10 miles of serious hill climbing between “The Wall” and Ferndale.


Blogger Jennifer Savage said...

Wow, that's impressive, Jack! We drive that road taking the kids to camp in the summer and each time I think the brakes are going to go up in smoke from the steep, steep drive downhill.

Cape Mendo is an amazing windsurf spot – the whole place is stunningly beautiful. Sometimes I see guys out ripping along at speeds faster than I'm driving.

(My little surf photo on my blog ID is from a spot near there, too.)

Good luck with the training!

10:21 AM  

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