The first time I rode Old Caz and Fort Ross I was on my REI Ponderosa with Avocet semi-slick tires. I remember sitting for a rest atop Seaview and breaking out a king size Snickers from my fanny pack and taking it all in. I know we are all looking for the right machine for the right ride. And although we are seduced by the lightness, stiffness and elegance of our sub 16lb road bikes we all (I hope) know that’s not what it’s REALLY all about. For the top 20% the Hoppers are very competitive. The middle 40% are racing their buddies both real and imaginary (i.e. STRAVA and inner demons) and the remainder are out for the epic adventure. For those of you are tried and true roadies, be forewarned; Old Caz is a dirt descent. This is one of the few county roads that is no longer open to vehicle traffic. A small ribbon of pavement serpents from the Russian River valley near Guerneville to around 12oo ft before plunging to East Austin Creek. It’s here you’ll have to dismount and cross on foot. During calm times it’s no more than a foot deep but raises to knee or hip level after a good winter storm. This used to be the main road to Cazadero before Caz Hwy but has over the last 25 yrs been a coveted connector for Sonoma County Cyclists. Before any of us had cross bikes we used to ride this road on road bikes so it can be done. In fact, the last two years running of SuperSweetwater Hopper covered the same road. There is a dirt climb out of the creek and another rocky dirt descent to the town of Cazadero. From here it’s all tarmac to the finish on Coleman Vly Rd. Here’s the route in full so you can Google, Strava, Pre-ride, Read Tea Leaves…whatever you need to do feel prepared. Whatever bike you ride I really recommend mtb pedals and shoes for the crossing.
Begin: Occidental. Boho Hwy to Monte Rio. Lft Moscow Rd to Duncan’s Mills. Rt. River Rd/Hwy 116 to Old Caz. Lft Old Cazadero Rd (just before Guerneville) Though neighborhoods and up the climb. Dirt descent, creek crossing, dirt climb, dirt descent to Cazadero. Continue STRAIGHT to Fort Ross Rd (Do not go rt on King Ridge Rd!!) Lft Seaview Rd and turns into Meyers Grade to Hwy 1. Lft Hwy 1 to Coleman Vly. Lft Coleman Valley. Finish at top at Ocean Song. Pura Vida, Mig