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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi riders,

I have been riding a road bike for about 6 months now, and other than a ride in Sonoma County last week, have mostly been doing 20 - 30 mile bike rides a few times a week locally around the Bay Area (Oakland Hills, Marin County, etc...)

I am determined to see more of CA, however, and one of those places is Monterey County.

I was thinking of riding from Salinas train station to a couple of the wineries on W Carmel Road, then riding on to Carmel, Pebble Beach, Monterey... before taking an evening train back to the Bay Area.

The only question I have is: just how difficult is this Laureles Grade Road climb?

If you're someone who likes to claim you can climb anythng, or someone who freaks out at the slightest incline, try to look at it from my shoes: I am no weakling, but at the same time I am not ready to hit the French Alps just yet either. I like a strong, steady climb to work the legs and build up the sweat, but if it's truly gonna break my back, I'm not a big fan of the idea.

Any insights? I'm planning this day-trip for some time in the first 10 days of August.

Thanks!

Tom

2006 IronHorse Road Race bike
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys.

I see the grade of Laureles Grade is only from ~400 feet up to what you said, 1200 + or so. In 2.5-3 miles, that's not a back-breaker at all.

I'm gonna avoid the 100-mile ride (thanks anyway, Jefff), but rather go for about 40+ miles, with a nice 90-minute stop at a couple local wineries for lunch and tastings (and spitting out!) sandwiched in the middle. Then a half-hour or so at the end chilling at the ocean by Monterey/Pebble Beach.

I like riding, but it would be criminal of me not to soak in all this beautiful countryside while I'm there.

Thanks for the inside track on Laguna Seca, number9!

T.
 

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If you're coming from the Salinas side on 68 and crossing over to the Carmel Valley side, the road you want to take is Toro Road. Take the turn to Laureles grade from 68, then about a quarter mile in take a left on Robley, where there's a sign for the Chamsail tennis club. Bear right and you'll find Toro Road.

It parallels Laureles for most of the way, but with much, much less traffic and nicer views. The last few hundred yards is a lightly paved and overgrown trail (very easy to ride) that hooks up to Rinconda road, which reconnects with Laureles Grade close to the summit. You can see the basics on Google Maps, and the bare trace of the trail that connects Toro to Rinconda in satellite views.

It's quite a nice climb on Toro. Not very steep, and views out over Coral de Tierra valley.

From there you can ride carmel valley road into Carmel, and if you like follow scenic drive around, enter Pebble Beach and 17 mile drive (there's a gate), and into Monterey. There's a little futzing around to get back onto 68 without getting on the freeway. From a navigational standpoint probably the easiest way is to follow the bike trail to 218 (Canyon del Rey road) and take that out to 68 and back to Salinas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
See, that's exactly why going to uncharted territory is so overrated —you don't have people to tell you the best route!

Thanks, blofeld42. I will take your advice. The trip up Toro road sounds outstanding. As this trek will be a mix of all-out cycling and all-out chilling, I'll take your directions right to my one winery stop for the day, Chateau Julien, where I can taste, have lunch, then move on to Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Monterey. I'll squeeze in a detour at Laguna Seca as well...

I'll have more than enough time to get between 35 - 40 miles of riding in, hopefully a decent amount of hills, and also some spare time to relax and soak in the beach-front views.

Oh, are the girls pretty down that way?


T.
 

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Laguna Seca is actually slightly tricky. It's on top of a ridge; highway 68 goes down a valley, with the Laureles Grade ridge on one side and the ridge with Laguna Seca on the other. If you take the turnoff from highway 68 and follow the signs, there's a section with a 15% grade to get to the top.

There's some very nice riding on the old Fort Ord. Many of the roads are blocked off to motorized traffic, and there's a back way up to Laguna Seca, Barloy Canyon Road, from the Fort Ord side that is outstanding. But that also adds in some miles if you're trying to do it all in a single day. If you want to avoid highway 68--and traffic is heavy there--you can return on 218/canyon del rey, and then turn left on General Jim Moore road, go a couple hundred yards, and turn right on South Boundary Road. South Boundary Road is a long roller coaster climb up to Laguna Seca with some steep pitches near the top of maybe 10%. From Laguna Seca it's a drop off a cliff back down to 68, and you come out near the Laureles Grade turnoff, so you still need a few miles back to Salinas. So that avoids several miles of 68 at the cost of perhaps 800 ft of climbing.
 
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