***DRAFT ROUTE***View and/or download all of the ride files on Ride With GPS
Borrowing roads from iconic Northern California rides including the Orr Springs 600k, Reno-Mendocino, the Grasshopper races, and other local brevets, the Golden Gate 1000k will give visitors and locals a sampler of the amazing scenery and solitude that can be hard to find in one of the more populated parts of the country.
Riders will depart Berkeley at 6 am and make their way North via bike paths and the I80 Bikeway to the Zampa Bridge where they will cross the Carquinez Straight into Solano County. They’ll escape suburbia in Bird’s Landing, stopping for a quick rest on the porch of Shirley’s Tavern (perhaps one will event see Dirty Harry himself at the bar!) before making their way through the wind farms of Montezuma Hills into Rio Vista (lunch at Burgerlicious is somewhat recommended) and the California Delta. Riders will traverse the Delta farmland then ride along Cache Creek through Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument before encountering their first stretch of gravel along Bear Valley Road. Anyone making good time may opt to ride off course to Wilbur Springs Resort for a rejuvenating soak in the hot springs. Riders will pass through the metropolis of Leesville before climbing the dirt on Huffmaster Road and descending into Sites. From Rumsey to Willows, cows will outnumber cars and the isolation will give riders time to contemplate how far they’ve traveled and the challenges ahead. We’ll have hot dinner and breakfast available in Willows and riders will be able to access their drop bag.
Given what awaits them on day 2, fast riders may opt to ride ahead and either camp at one of the campgrounds en route or stay in Covelo. Please contact us ahead of time if you plan to ride on your own schedule or need suggestions. We will offer a water stop on 162/FR7 through Mendocino National Forest. Despite what the National Forest website states, there is no reliably available water between Willows and Covelo.
218 miles, 6300 feet of climbing
Those staying in Willows are advised to leave well before dawn to get an early start on the 6000+ foot climb over Mendocino Pass and what is sure to be a breathtaking and challenging day. While the amount of climbing through the Mendocino National Forest may sound foreboding, the grade is very manageable and the bulk of it is paved. Riders will leave the pavement near the fire station and the road will pitch up slightly before a quick descent and final climb to the summit. Take a moment to stop and take stock. This is the high point in the ride and one of the more isolated locales in this region. From here, riders will have a long gravel descent into Covelo. Refuel here, as more gravel awaits on Laytonville-Dos Rios Road. Laytonville is your next and last opportunity for supplies before riding through the coastal forest along Branscomb Road.
Riders will finally get a glimpse of the scenic Mendocino coast and make a quick ride down Highway 1, passing through Fort Bragg and Mendocino before turning inland and riding through the coastal redwoods along Comptche-Ukiah Road. Stop in Comptche for snacks and drinks at the Comptche Store or our staffed rest stop before tackling some of the steepest roads of the ride on Orr Springs Road, passing the famous hot springs into Ukiah for the second overnight rest stop. Drop bags will again be accessible in Ukiah.
211 miles, 20,000 feet of climbing
Day 3 will start with a quick run down to Hopland, past the Buddhist Monastery outside Ukiah before climbing the dirt on Old Toll Road, a hotbed of paranormal activity. Mendo Pass will be visible in the distance to give riders a sense of how far they’ve traveled. Refuel in Kelseyville before heading east along the shores of the Clear Lake Riviera. Riders will encounter a mix of gravel and pavement on Siegler Springs and Big Canyon Road before heading into Middletown and through Butts Canyon. This area is scarred by the fires of recent years, lending a somber vibe to the day.
Riders will descend into Pope Valley with refreshments available at the Pope Valley Market before turning onto the well-traveled Silverado Trail and the Napa Valley. Much of the remaining daylight hours will be spent traversing the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Counties. Eventually, riders will enter Marin County. 24 hour services, including motels, are available in Petaluma for tired riders. Continue on through Nicassio, Fairfax and wealthy Main towns in the pre-dawn hours before crossing the titular Golden Gate Bridge to the finish in San Francisco.
200 miles, 11,000 feet of climbing