Saturday, March 10, 2018

3 Perms - OK Panhandle, Guanella, Kona - Pololu!

 Here three recently-approved perm routes to tickle your imagination! 

#3547 - Oklahoma Panhandle Patter 105km Perm Populaire

The Oklahoma Panhandle Patter (RWGPS route) is a point-to-point permanent populaire from the SE corner of Colorado, through the Oklahoma Panhandle, into the Texas Panhandle. It is admittedly designed to tag any of these three states you do not have for the RUSA American Explorer award.

In Colorado - notice remnant of spring snow.
Note: not all of the route is this flat!

Landscape is some flat, some cliffs and hilly terrain, some agricultural, some grazing, yucca plants, rocky outcroppings. It's quite open and expansive! The only intermediate services at all are in Boise City, OK, which is why our route goes into that town rather than taking the bypass.

Boise City was also a RAAM (Race Across AMerica) timestation a number of times, this stretch being a trying period for riders who've survived New Mexico or the Rockies, and now face the prospect humidity and flying insects ahead ... and more climbs!

US-287 is in excellent shape with wide shoulders. It's concrete in Colorado. There is some truck traffic, on the whole light traffic overall.

A 210k out-and-back route would also be possible. Also a 150-mile / 240km four-state loop including Kansas is conceivable.

♦ ♦ ♦

#3546 - Guanella Pass Gambol 100km Permanent Populaire

The Guanella Pass Gambol (RWGPS route) is an out-and-back over Guanella Pass (11,670 ft.) with 7,200 ft. total climbing.

The segment to/from Downieville and Georgetown is fairly shallow in comparison with the rest of the route, and is included to reach 100km. It also gets you warmed up outbound.

There is a jog at the pass to Square Top Lakes trailhead - yes, we needed that extra couple tenths of a mile; perhaps you will be encouraged to hike this alpine trail (another time, not in the middle of the ride)!

At the turnaround in Grant, there are BBQ and other places to eat.

Choose fine, stable weather to ride this one!

♦ ♦ ♦

#3522 - Kailua - Pololu Lookout 202km Permanent

The Kailua - Pololu Lookout 202km Permanent (RWGPS route) is an out-and-back featuring the North Kona coast on the island of Hawaii.

This route spans the fairly built-up area of Kailua-Kona to the more sparsely settled North Kona area, to the old (former sugar cane) village of Hāwī on the north end of the island, and to Pololu Lookout on the windward side (lush and moister). Most of the route is on the sunny, dry, volcanic Kona coast.

Modern resort life on the Kona coast.

Pu'u wa'a wa'a volcanic cinder cone above the clouds,
viewed from north Kona coast.

Pololu Lookout on windward side. 
A sheer dropoff and roadless valley beyond your turnaround point.

You can also start from Hāwī if you're staying there, or one of the resorts midway up the coast.

Services are not a problem - available in Hāwī, at Kawaihae, the resorts, and in Kailua. Just remember to stay hydrated and bring sunscreen.


Map images © Google Imagery, Terra Images; routes produced by RideWithGPS.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Riding the New Smyrna Beach - Flagler Beach 115k

In late February, my wife Pat and I visited Florida. One thing we were aiming for were natural areas such as the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore (and no, we missed seeing a rocket launch, but we did see small alligators, sanderlings, and roseate spoonbills).

I also got in some biking, including Dave Thompson's lovely New Smyrna Beach to Flagler Beach 115km Permanent Populaire. This route takes in the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic beaches, and a nice forest.

This map, courtesy of Google and RWGPS, belies a route that's more interesting than it might look.

It's a nice, sunny start around 70º near the Intracoastal Waterway.

After a brief stint on US-1, we're on roads bordering the waterway.

Beach St. is a quiet road bordered by modest homes on one side and shoreside parks on the other.

Next up we veer into more remote-looking environs: Bulow Creek State Park. Light, polite traffic, and a smattering of cyclists.

The overarching trees provide welcome shade. There are signs here and there posting minimum height clearance (like underpasses have). Dave says the canopy has been thinned out some by successive hurricanes. So it must have been a shade paradise before and may become so again!

After climbing over the Intracoastal Waterway on one of those high arcing bridges, and zooming into Flagler Beach, I stop at the 7-Eleven (after bypassing the much more interesting looking "6-11" store, and an inviting barbecue place on the corner). 

At the 7-Eleven, I've caught up with three riders - each sporting tri-looking bikes with deep-dish, low spoke count wheels - who had waved earlier as they passed me on Beach Street. As I munch pizza, one of them asks if I'm on a randonnée. Turns out he'd ridden some brevets, including one of Paul Rozelle's 300k's, which as he recounted involved sudden downpours of chilling rain, and street flooding. He expressed interest in getting back into our sport. All of the three riders were fit and extremely good natured, and really brightened my ride.

Flagler Beach (named at least indirectly for the creator of the Florida East Coast Railway, which until the 1935 "Labor Day" hurricane extended through the Florida Keys)

And it's on to another quiet, wooded lane (John Anderson Drive).

The Atlantic coast segment is a succession of modest, well-kept, 1960's and 1970's neighborhoods,  punctuated by high-rise condos and resort lodgings.

Back over the Intracoastal Waterway, on either the highest or the second highest point in the route, depending on which bridge is higher. It's a nice vista.

And a final stretch back on Halifax ...

... before a pleasant finish on Highway 1.

A big thanks to Dave Thompson for the route, his tips, and the loan of his backup bike.

I really had a nice time on this intro to Florida randonneuring, and am encouraged to do more!