riding from San Jose to San Luis Obispo. Trying to figure out best way to get over from Gilroy to Watsonville. Did 152 last time but worried about traffic. Any thoughts on climbing redwood retreat to Mt Madonna into Watsonville with panniers and hybrid tires? Appreciate the input before I find myself in the middle of a ill advised decision
I take my road bike up unpaved climbs (including Mt. Madonna) all the time. Wider tires would probably be even better for traction. Just make sure that you have the proper gearing on your drivetrain - Mt. Madonna kicks up in the high 'teens gradient-wise in some spots.
Coming down the other side is a bit bumpy, almost as steep, and has a few blind spots, but otherwise very little traffic. You could also take Pole Line back to the top of 152 and come down that way, but there will probably be more traffic.