Excited and Nervous

Tomorrow morning I’m heading up to Sonoma with Team Schwab for our end of season ride. We’ll be taking on the King Ridge-Meyers Grade. I’m excited because this is supposed to be one of the best rides in the universe. I’m nervous, because, although it’s relatively short at 55 miles, there’s a monstrous amount of climbing and I don’t know that I’m up for that much suffering. I’m certainly up for the challenge, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it, but the sheer amount of pain in my near future is daunting. Fortunately I’ll have some good friends from work with me. That is, If I can keep up with them. I’ll have to suck it up.
Here’s how the Santa Rosa Cycling club website describes the ride:

This 55-mile loop with 4500′ of climb is considered one of the most beautiful, fulfilling bike rides in the world. Once into the hills, there are no services and only one likely spot for water. Be prepared, fit, and self-sufficient. Begin in Monte Rio at the north end of the bridge over the Russian River. Head west on River, turn R on Austin Creek, R on Cazadero Hwy, and take a break in the small town of Cazadero (get water!) before heading into the hills on King Ridge Rd. King Ridge climbs steeply up to an exposed ridegeline called The Butcherknife with views in all directions. It is very remote, very scenic, and very quiet. At the end of King Ridge, turn L on Hauser Bridge and descend very steeply (20% in places) to the Gualala River, then climb again (road name changes to Seaview). If you need more water, try the Ft Ross elementary school. At the end of Seaview, continue straight on Ft Ross Rd for less than a mile and straight again onto Meyers Grade. This beautifully paved road is almost as beautiful as King Ridge and snakes along the ridgeline high above the ocean before plunging down to the beach in a wild, several mile-long tumble. At the end of Meyers Grade, turn L and continue the descent on Hwy 1. After the beach town of Jenner at the mouth of the Russian River, turn L on River and return to Duncans Mills, turn R on Moscow Rd and follow it to Monte Rio. Turn L and cross the bridge to the finish. For more miles and more climbs, at the end of King Ridge, turn R on Tin Barn, L on Stewarts Point (rest stop at the Stewarts Point Store), L on Hwy 1 south to the historic Ft Ross trading post, then L up the brutal, 2.6, 1500′ climb on Ft Ross Rd. At the top, turn R and continue on Meyers Grade.

I’ve ridden that little stretch of road between Jenner and Monte Rio on the Yellowjackets Petaluma ride, absolutely our hardest and most rewarding ride. But I’ve never been north of there along the coast. I suspect it’s going to be spectacular once the fog lifts. The forecast in Monte Rio calls for a clear day, around 50 degrees F at start time (8:00am) and rising into the mid 70s around noon. You really couldn’t ask for better weather, so I’m hoping it’s right on the money. I should be able to take tons of great pics. I’ll have the top 4-5 posted here with the rest on Flickr, as usual.
The route slip is here. We’ll most likely be doing the tough one.
Here’s the route map:

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