In response to the many emails describing the widespread chipsealing on various San Mateo County roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and in concern over riders registered for the Tour de Max on 12 August, I did a comprehensive scouting trip yesterday afternoon. Here's what I found:
All areas of chipseal that I have heard about and that are on the Tour de Max route have been rolled and swept. Of course uphill sections on Page Mill and Old Stage between CA84 & CA1 will be very safe (be careful just past the Trancas parking lot as there's a touch of downhill here, and the chipseal extends to the are just beyond our rest stop about 1 mile from the top). Roads that we descend, ie West Alpine and Pescadero have also been swept and it seems to me that these can be ridden with care. This is particularly true on Pescadero as the chipsealed area is downhill from the most thrilling sections of the descent. I am not a particularly courageous downhiller and I would definitely descend on these roads.
Having said the above, there IS a fair bit of loose gravel along the very edges of these roads... approximately 12-18 inches, and I DID see loose gravel patches around. I would not hug the side of the road on these areas of pavement, I would not descend at great speed, and I would not do rapid, hard braking. I would ride these sections with caution & respect. If I was a VERY nervous descender, I might reconsider the long route and do our mid-route instead.
I was out too late to check Tunitas Creek Road; I have not heard that this area was up for chipsealing and I have not heard from club riders that anything had been done on Tunitas. If anybody has any different news, I'd appreciate hearing it myself.