It’s a British idiomatic phrase.
Quite a few folks think I’m mildly mad for taking my road bike, with 23mm tires, on various dirt lanes nearby. Perhaps, but I’m retired, dammit, and I’ll do what I want, as long as it’s reasonably safe. My bike handling skills are adequate enough to ensure the safety margin, so I’m willing to try what others will not.
Just before we started from the Coffee Station in San Miguel, while I was sipping my pre-ride decaf Americano, I told Kelly Work (the soon-to-be-ex-owner) that I planned to ride Cross Country Road from Indian Valley Road over the ridge to Vineyard Canyon Road. She too expressed the opinion that the idea was bit daft. But she rides horses, not bikes, and so has a very different perspective of what is needed to traverse a scenic dirt lane.
But Cross Country Road comes a bit later in the tale today. Let’s start at the start. The advertised ride was a loop starting in San Miguel and heading north along US101 to Hare Canyon Road, climb over the ridge to Indian Valley Road, then descend Indian Valley Road back to San Miguel, like so – http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7020357.
We met at the Coffee Station, completed our bike and kit prep, then rolled north on Mission Street until it merges onto US101. A few miles farther north we exited onto Bradley Road amidst the Camp Roberts facility of the California National Guard. Bradley Road took us across the Salinas River and on to the intersection with Hare Canyon Road descending from the hills.
The Hare Canyon climb is steady, but not too steep. Only at the very top for a short stretch does it make you grunt and maybe stand a bit. The far side, descending to Indian Valley Road, is much steeper, but also shorter.
Along Indian Valley Road we found some attractive horses and ponies, as well as what appeared to be yaks. Whatever they are, they certainly are hairy beasts.
Larry Allen and I planned ahead of time to tack on Cross Country Road from Indian Valley,
over another ridge, and down to Vineyard Canyon Road, like so – http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7125240. We seem to have similar tastes for cycling adventure. Cross Country Road is paved for a bit, then becomes dirt and gravel for most of its length up over the ridge and back down to Vineyard Canyon Road. The entire traverse of the road presented us with bucolic beauty and a pretty decent riding surface.
Lovely, just lovely. Not a problem at all on my road bike. I’ve ridden much more difficult dirt on this same bike, for instance, descending rutted Kiler Canyon Road from high in the hills west of Paso Robles. By the time we got to Vineyard Canyon Road we were back on pavement and flew down the valley back to San Miguel. Our pals who had stayed on the Indian Valley descent were still relaxing at the Coffee Station, so we were able to regale them with tales of sprinting away from mountain lions and brown bears.