Quite a few people (real & internet) had been raving about the riding just north of Santa Cruz - so I decided to check out the Soquel Demonstration Forest on our way north to San Francisco yesterday. Ducking off the highway onto Summit Rd, it was a long winding drive through some quite dense forest to the trailhead. I was fortunate to have Valerie drop me at the start of the fireroad (generally, you park at the bottom & ride up the road & then a fireroad until you get to the top of the ridge - then taking one of a number of singletracks back down to more fireroad to get back up to the parking lot).
The forest was beautiful - I haven't seen such big (girth) trees for many, many months. There were quite a few redwoods around. It was a long monotonous ride up & a very fast looking local pointed me in the direction of the singletrack down. He told me that the famous Tractor trail would be logged (& therefore closed) on Monday & recommended I did it. It was a while along the Ridge trail before hitting Tractor. It was great fun down, with some quite fast bits & some nice banked corners. I remembered having a big smile on my face for that part. Then I hit the fireroad back up to the parking lot. Maybe I've been spoilt with all the riding (hope I'm not becoming a singletrack snob), maybe I'm a little worn out or maybe the lack of a big American sized meal the night before did it - but this part was exceedingly boring & long. In the end, I didn't think all the boring fireroad climbing (over 800m in just over ninety minutes) was worth it for such descents. I had planned to go around the loop twice more, but just couldn't face it. Can you believe my apathy was so great, I didn't even bother to take a single photo all day?!
As Valerie hadn't been to San Fran before, we pretty much spent the day wandering around the waterfront (Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Maritime National Historic Area) & then up in to the suburbs a bit. It was much as I remember it - beautiful, touristy, busy (great markets around), sunny, foggy, windy, cold. We walked up a few steep hills & managed to walk down the Crookedest Street in the World part of Lombard St & marvel at the chaos as so many tourists drove down. We stumbled across the vibrant North Beach Fair (one of the city's largest, apparently) on our way to the very large Chinatown. One of the highlights of me just strolling around letting Valerie explore was the many vintage streetcars that are still rolling around the city streets - they are great looking machines.
7 hours ago