The Old La Honda and Tunitas Creek climbs are classic South Bay routes for road cyclists. I have the course structured starting off at Robert's Market in Woodside and riding to the top of Old La Honda as the first climb of the day. Head south on Mountain Home Road from Woodside, a slight left onto Portola Road, and a right onto moderately trafficked La Honda Road. The first climb is approximately three miles with an average grade just under 8% that snakes its way up through roads enveloped in greenery and redwood groves as you climb higher to the top of the climb. Look both ways and carefully cross a busy Skyline Boulevard and continue descending Old La Honda until you reach Stage Road. Make a left onto Stage Road and keep riding until you hit the little town of Pescadero. This detour will take you to one of my favorite markets that's reputably known for their delicious garlic artichoke bread - Arcangeli Grocery Company. This is the perfect location for a lunch break where you can take a breather, fill up on water, use the bathroom behind the market, and, most importantly - stuff yourself with their famous bread. Caution: you may be tempted to bring a partially baked loaf with you on the way back to the start, but remember, you still have one more major climb before the ride ends. After filling up on food and drinks, continue back the way you came on Stage Road until you hit the right turn for Route 1. You'll descend on Route 1 for about 1.5 miles and get a phenomenal view of the coast. There is a shoulder on this road, but be careful of fast-moving cars. Turn right onto Tunitas Creek Road and make sure to stop at the Bike Hut before the last climb of the day. The Bike Hut is characteristically painted primarily red with white stripes along the side and functions as an honor-system store with snacks, drinks, bike tools, picnic tables, and chairs. You can sign a guest book inside the hut, indicating where you're from and writing messages to other riders that stop by. From the Bike Hut, it's about an 8-9 mile consistent-climb to the top, with areas of significantly steep pitches. Keep in mind that the Tunitas Creek Climb has been featured on the Tour of California. It's a challenging climb with little traffic on a one-lane road through beautiful surrounding redwoods. Take your time and any necessary breaks to gather yourself and keep pedaling to the top. Once there, you will cross Skyline Boulevard once again and descend down King's Mountain Road before heading back into Woodside. The descent is steep and technical, filled with several sharp hairpin turns, so use caution when riding down this road. You've made it! Now treat yourself to some refreshing produce, snacks, or even an entire meal at Robert's Market. If you were lucky enough to have space for a loaf of garlic artichoke bread while riding up Tunitas, treat yourself with that ;) My honest advice would be to ride the route with others that are already familiar with the roads. The route is suited for road cyclists and entirely on tarmac, though several sections may still need to be repaved and could be filled with potholes. Special shoutout and photo credit to my friend Emily (@alpineemily) for taking some of the shots. - Anthony Venida PEARL iZUMi Crew
The Tunitas Creek Climb has been featured on the Tour of California. It's a challenging climb with little traffic on a one-lane road through beautiful surrounding redwoods.