Distance: 20 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1770 ft
This ride is as simple as a ride can get: start at the beginning of Palomares Rd. near Hwy 580 and ride to its end, then turn around and ride back. It’s a perfect little ride: you do a little flat stuff to warm up, then climb gently, then climb a bit more steeply to a summit, then descend down through an exciting curvy series of esses to the end, all of it through pretty hobby farms and wooded creek canyons. Then you get to do it all in reverse. ‘Nuff said.
Palomares had been closed at the southern end for bridge repairs but is now reported to be open again.
(To see an interactive version of the map/elevation profile, click on the ride name, upper left, wait for the new map to load, then click on the “full screen” icon, upper right.)
The ride is pretty symmetrical—5 miles and 1000 ft up to the summit, then 5 miles and 1000 ft down to the turn-around—and you can start at either end, but it’s a better ride the way I’ve mapped it, because the north end begins with 20 minutes of easy pedaling as a warm-up. Starting from the southern end has you doing vigorous climbing from the gun.
The southern half is the better riding, because it’s curvier. The curves add interest on the climb, and they’re beautifully shaped so you can hold all your speed on the descent.