Amidst stretches of remote logging roads and deeply forested coastal communities lies a hidden treasure of Northern California that is seldom experienced by most visitors to the Golden State. The Lost Coast doesn’t embody the sunshiny, beautiful beaches that often come to mind when envisioning the west coast, but rather is akin to the rugged and rocky shoreline of the sister state even further north, Oregon. It’s a place that is hard to find, because the main highway steers inland and well clear, but worth the the extra effort as our friend and Community Manager of GU Energy Labs, Yuri Hauswald tells us more about.
What makes the Lost Coast such a unique/special place to you?
The Lost Coast is one of the last, truly, untamed zones in California that stretches, roughly, from Ferndale to Rockport. Being that this section of coast was too rugged to continue Hwy 1 through, meant that this area has been left relatively untouched by humanity. Within its boundaries are Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area, both teeming with unique flora and fauna that harken back to a forgotten time before humanity left its mark.
How did the terrain change over the course of the 375 miles?
Over the course of the 340 miles we pedaled between Arcata and Sebastopol we saw everything from golden rolling hills and the majestic redwoods of the Avenue of the Giants to black stone beaches and endless stretches of postcard perfect coastline. Oh, and plenty of gravel roads that connect many of the smaller communities that do exist out there in the hinterland.
What excites you most about adventure/gravel riding and getting away from the hustle/bustle of the city?
What excites me most about gravel riding is the empty, untamed spaces you can still find. Riding gravel, or backroads, allows me to escape the concrete jungle and experience areas that have, for the most part, avoided modernization to some degree. Riding gravel forces me to unplug from my devices (usually) and work, and to experience an area in a way that few get to see it: on two wheels. Riding a bike through an area like the Lost Coast reminds of the importance of finding silence in life, in finding the beauty in the small things, and in connecting on a deeper level with my natural surroundings.
Is there one moment, a bend in the road, sweeping vista or something else that encapsulates the trip for you that can describe?
Usal Rd is a a 25 mile stretch of dirt that IS the heart of the Lost Coast in my opinion. It’s only traversable by 4x4, which means that it sees little to no traffic, and saw blades its way along the coastline. This is a MUST DO stretch of road for those inclined to ride the gravel less traveled.
Read more about Yuri's epic adventure in the February 2018 print edition of the award-winning PELOTON Magazine.