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  1. #1
    Broke college student
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    Santa Cruz/Carmel Valley Recommendations

    Hey guys, I'm going to be staying in Carmel next week and looking to get some riding in one day. I come from a comparatively flat part of the country, so I'd love to get some downhilling in, but am happy with just about anything. I need some recommendations, though. If you had one ride you could do within an hour's drive of Carmel, what would it be? Bonus points if you recommend a bike shop with rentals within close proximity too

    Thanks in advance for any input!
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  2. #2
    Dropshot Champ!
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    it's certainly not downhilling, but warming up with an out and back to hwy 1 / point lobos, and then coming back and doing the 17mi drive loop on a road bike is fairly fun. Lots of cool places to stop and take pictures, great scenery.

    Getting upto sc for some dirt sounds like more fun, but others will have to chime in on how far that is.

  3. #3
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    Demo forest. About an hour drive and easy to navigate. Hit Braille trail and sawpit (two loops).

  4. #4
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    +1 on the 17mi drive. If I'm staying in Carmel, then you can just ride from Carmel to Monterey via 17mi drive and then return on the same route. The scenery is excellent and doesn't require you to drive an hour to get there.

  5. #5
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    Carmel riding

    17 mi drive is fun and VERY scenic, HWY 1 to Pt Lobos is also VERY scenic, Ft Ord/Toro park if you need a dirt fix. Plenty of bike shops, not sure about rentals though. Enjoy!

  6. #6
    Ariolimax columbianus
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    bay bikes barnyard.....

    Bay Bikes | The Peninsula's Source for All Things Cycling. say hi to my homies here. they have rentals but also do specialized testbikes.

  7. #7
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    Lots of options at Fort Ord.

  8. #8
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    I think I'm going to give Fort Ord a shot. It's a very short drive from where we're going to be staying. The videos of the goat trail make it look incredibly scenic. Anyone have some advice for a day at Fort Ord? I'm shooting for ~20 - 25 miles as I'm not bringing gear for a long ride.
    I like beer.

  9. #9
    One by Nine is Fine
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    You could do worse than the Sea Otter route at Fort Ord, or some portion thereof:

    Fort Ord (2012 Sea Otter course) - Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides

    ... although it does mean starting and ending at Laguna Seca, which means paying to park (usually) and climbing to the finish. But there's usually something interesting going around the track, if you like motorized toys too.

    Other folks might suggest singletrack alternates to parts of this route, but it's a credible start. And I'd rate it higher than 5 for scenery, though it is an understated, CA-native, rolling-hills-and-woodlands sort of scenery, not ohmygosh Sierra scenery.

  10. #10
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    Simple answer: Fort Ord

    Conditions should be good even with the rain (often better after a rain because of all of the sandy spots).

    Map: http://www.ftordbeta.org/FortOrd_Tra...ep2011_508.pdf

    Start at Creekside Trailhead (Hwy 68 to Reservation Road - follow the signs to the parking lot).

    Here is a fun little route, I suggest (more singletrack than the Sea Otter Course):

    31 to 34/26 to 32 to 36 to 42 to 44 to 41 to 72 to 31

    Or, in longer version:
    Up Trail 31 to Trail 34/26 (up to Sandy Ridge Rd.),
    Down Trail 32 to Engineer Canyon Road (this is a fun short downhill)
    Trail 36 to Jacks Road (nice gentle climb through the manzanita)
    Three Sisters to Trail 42 (short steep section)
    Down trail 42 to Skyline Road (new alignment is still fun with switchbacks)
    Up Skyline Road to Trail 44 (climbing on the fire road)
    Trail 44 to Trail 41 (gentle climb and short downhill section)
    Trail 41 to Oil Well/Station One Road (rollercoaster fun through the meadows and oaks)
    Trail 72 to Trail 31 back to the parking lot (sandy climb with nice final descent)

    Less than 10 miles total, but lots of fun. (combine with other trails/roads for a longer ride)

  11. #11
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    Awesome! Thanks, Eddy and r3r3r (an everyone else of course) for your help.

    Final question: when renting a bike, would you suggest full-squish or hard tail?
    I like beer.

  12. #12
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    I'd go full suspension as Ford ord is pretty choppy. I rode a hardtail there for a while a few years back and would get pretty saddle sore. If you make it out there, goat trail (41) and 49 are my 2 favorites (going down them, not up)

  13. #13
    orthonormal
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    Quote Originally Posted by impreza515 View Post
    I'd go full suspension as Ford ord is pretty choppy. I rode a hardtail there for a while a few years back and would get pretty saddle sore. If you make it out there, goat trail (41) and 49 are my 2 favorites (going down them, not up)
    I'd say just the opposite. No need for FS at Ft. Ord since there's nothing technical out there and you're looking at over 3000' of climbing in a 2-3 hour ride.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  14. #14
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    Try this route I call it "the lobster"....Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Fort Ord - All my favorite trails loop near Seaside Monterey | Times and Records | Strava
    It takes you on most of the best trails IMHO.

  15. #15
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    Where can someone rent a bike near fort ord, anyway?
    - .... . / .. -.. .. --- - ... / .... .- ...- . / - .- -.- . -. / --- ...- . .-.

  16. #16
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    Ended up riding about 20 miles of Ft. Ord. Rented a Specialized Stumpy FSR from Bay Bikes in Carmel and had a blast! Very awesome trails. Couldn't believe how well-marked and well-maintained they were. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
    I like beer.

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