10 of us on three tandems and 4 singles started pedaling along Hwy 35 from Southern gate of Purisima Creek OSP to fetch pumpkins from Halfmoon Bay. It was the first off-road ride for Jenny and me, a brand new tandem team on a brand new rigid mountain tandem (and the second ride overall.)
Photos So, two veteran tandem teams of Janet and Brian, and Pam and Josh rallied for us. I was glad that John R, regular Pumpkin rider and one of past organizers, rode with us to support the tradition. It was very nice for John H to come. The Pumpkin ride two years ago was the first time I rode with him. He escorted me all the way on the climb and cheered me up. And the presence of Fred, all time record holder of Pumpkin rides completed the authenticity of Pumpkin ride along with new comer Bob.
Although it was a bit cloudy in the early morning, by the time when we started riding it turned sunny and clear.
Originally, I was thinking of only Jenny and me descending on an easier fire road and the rest of the riders on Whittemore Gulch, the twisty single track. Then, I was easily convinced by Brian and John R to ride with the group down the single track. We had fun, but the rest of the riders had to wait for quite a while for us to get to the bottom of the trail.
Whittemore Gulch trail was in excellent condition. It was smooth and dry, and we got very good tractions.
As we entered Whittemore Gulch, basically Jenny and I were riding by ourselves since everybody else blasted down the trail. We were going really slowly since I did not want to scare Jenny (that meant the end of our tandem riding) and I myself was a bit scared too to navigate a long bike over one switch back after another. I happily report that we only missed two switch backs out of several. I heard later that other two veteran tandem teams cleared them all. Very impressive!!
When you get closer to the bottom of the valley from the dry hills, all of sudden you plunge into the redwood forest. It almost was magical with misty air and sudden burst of humidity.
We regrouped at the bottom and rode out along paved Purisima Creek Road for a few miles to the pumpkin patch. It was fun and we were treated by nice views of the Pacific Ocean, pumpkin patches and horses on the ranch. The road gently rolls along the valley with the ocean view. Janet the experienced stoker took a few pictures of us riding the tandem while she and Brian on their tandem rode along side us.
This year, the pumpkin patch had upgrades. There were a �Choo Choo Time� train and stage-coach pulled by beautiful and strong houses for kids. We browsed the pumpkins, ate snacks and rest for a while. Fred found a huge pumpkin and loaded it on the rear rack. John R got a few pumpkins in his backpack while Pam and Josh got a few pumpkins and squashes in their panniers. We bought a small token pumpkin since we were not sure if we could make it up to the car.
On the way back, all of us took the Purisima Creek trail. It is a fire road. It starts very gradually going up for two miles or so. Then, it climbs pretty steeply up to the Skyline in two miles. Fred made it to the top first. This year, he didn�t carry as much as he used to do. So, it must�ve been easier for him. His record (a few years back) was around 110 lbs of pumpkins towing a trailer. Jenny and I had quite hard time, but eventually we made it to the top without stopping.
At the top, we gave out a few awards. As expected, Fred won the first place with a 26-lb pumpkin, followed by Pam and Josh team and John R. I won the costume award by default since I was the only one with costume. I just pasted two hones and a devil tail made of card board on my helmet (however, it was the best costume I ever made since I didn�t need to explain what it was every time I met some hikers.)
I thank every one who came to ride and saved the tradition of ROMP Pumpkin Ride at last minute. We had a great ride and fun. I hope we will somehow have Pumpkin Ride next year and more riders will show up to enjoy it!