Ride Reports:

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  • Livermore century
  • Mt. Hamilton 85mi

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    2002 Grizzly Peak Century Ride Report
    (Sunday, May 5 in Moraga, CA)

    See also my photo album from this ride.

    I awoke at 4:45, got my things together, downed 2 bottles of Spiz for breakfast, and headed up to Berkeley to pick up Kristin. I was looking forward to trying out my new Canon S300 Digital Elph camera, since my trusty old Olympus iZoom 2000 died the previous week. Now that I had a digital camera for biking use, I no longer have to rely on the kindness of friends to let me scan the prints I make - woo hoo! Check-in We arrived at Miramonte High School in Moraga at around 6:15, and got in line to check in. They weren't quite ready to check folks in yet, so we hung around and talked while they finished setting up registration. At 6:30 sharp, registration opened, and we signed in, got everything assembled, and hit the road at around 6:45.

    It was in the low 50s when we headed out - not too bad given the time of day. We "warmed up" along Moraga Way and Canyon Rd, in the reverse direction from the Top Hat Classic of the previous weekend. My fingertips soon became numbed to the chill as the route headed up Pinehurst Road north toward Skyline Rd. Once on Skyline, we continued onto Grizzly Peak Rd., with stunning views to the west overlooking the entire bay area. Fog obscured our view of the peninsula, but it was still very pretty. Wildcat Canyon
View After a fast descent into Berkeley, we turned off onto Wildcat Canyon and were treated to some lovely views of the mist-shrouded east bay hills. After a short stretch of more beautiful rolling hills, we arrived at rest stop #1 at the Island Rest Stop (18.5mi)

    The Grizzly Peak Cyclists are renowned for having most excellent rest-stop eats, and they surely didn't disappoint this time! Espresso service They had espresso w/steamed milk and chocolate, delicious nutbreads, and other wonderful food at this stop. After hanging out for a little bit, we continued east on Wildcat Canyon towards San Pablo Reservoir. A fun and twisty descent later, we were motoring north on San Pablo Rd. This is a great stretch of pavement; smooth, well-shouldered, and more down than up. I chugged along, passing many folks, as rolling hills are my preferred terrain (I sorta suck on the hills :) A zig and a zag later, Heading into Rodeo - isn't it pretty? and we were cruising through the "lovely" town of Rodeo (OK, if you must know, its actually somewhat nasty).

    Tosco Plant

    After a few miles through town, we left town through the oh-so-lovely (and fragrant) Tosco petroleum factory. This is the only ugly portion of the ride, but its mercifully short! Soon after leaving Rodeo, while enjoying the verdant climb towards Crockett, my front tire got all squishy. A flat - bah! Kristin was kind enough to stop and keep me company while I poked and prodded at the inside of the tire, hoping to find what caused the puncture, but didn't, so after a tube replacement, we headed on our way.

    After slowly climbing Parker Avenue, we descended past I-80, went through downtown Crockett, and arrived at rest stop #2 (41mi) at a nice little communitty park. Again, they had most wonderful food; herbed, salted potatoes, fresh fruit, bagels & cream cheese, pretzels, Clif Bars, etc. Something for everyone! I found myself a floor pump and topped off my front tire, we hung out, Kristin met a few of her friends, and after a bit, we headed out.

    The ride continued along Carquinez Scenic Blvd (aptly named, as its gorgeous!), and after some rollers, turned west on McEwan, the most awful hill on the ride. The good folks at the GPC had tons of inspirational signs on McEwan encouraging and entertaining us as we slogged upwards. The climb was attention-getting, and we slowly made our way up it. McEwan didn't seem as difficult as it did last year, but was still quite noticable! Once we were done w/the climb, we continued on Franklin Canyon Rd, where I hooked up with a nice fast rider, and we traded pulls for the next several miles. Sadly for me, I ended a pull right as the road turned upward, then headed west. I didn't want to ditch my riding companions, so I waited at the intersection and let my wind-break escape. After we motored down Alhambra Valley, we climbed Pig Farm Hill. Last year, I didn't even notice this climb, and I wished that I had the same drugs I was on then (ie. nothing). Not that Pig Farm is a really difficult hill, because it isn't, but its not even remotely flat either!

    A few turns later, we joined Bear Creek, a most popular biking route, and climbed Mama Bear to the 3rd rest stop at mile 58. Not much shelter here, but again there were tons of great eats, New Briones
Reservoir. After mama bear, we climbed papa bear. This is a noticable climb, but not too horrible. The cumulative climbing was starting to show on folks, and we took it very easy towards Camino Pablo. and a really pretty view over Bear Creek.

    Once done with Papa Bear, I motored south from Orinda to Moraga at a nice clip. Moraga Way is a deceptive false-flat, rising a few hundred feet before finally turning downward and arriving at the lunch stop at Miramonte High School, the same place we'd started from.

    Lunch was delicious, with superbly-done BBQ chicken, tabouleh, rice salad, and many other wondrous items. Kristin & I plopped down on the turf and enjoyed our gourmet fixings.

    As it was last year, it was difficult to motivate out for the final 38mi loop, since lunch was just a few feet from my car, but we managed, and again headed south on Moraga Wy then west on Canyon Dr. We climbed the other side of Pinehurst
Rd. Pinehurst Rd. This is an easier climb than the north side, but is not very shaded. Thankfully, it wasn't particularly warm, and we enjoyed the views and the climb a great deal. After climbing the harder-than-I-remembered Redwood north, we "descended" Skyline Skyline Rd. (after several climbs) to the Oakland Zoo, slogged through the climb & descent to MacArthur, and a few turns later we headed east up towards Lake Chabot. This is a lovely climb; we took our time and enjoyed the views of the lake to our left. Castro Valley
Rest Stop Once we arrived in Castro Valley, we went along the aptly-named Seven Hills Rd. There are (you guessed it) 7 hills on this road; none long, but mostly fairly steep. We had fun shouting out the hill #s, and before we knew it, we were at Redwood Rd (the south part of it), and headed on the final north-ward stretch. The final rest stop was at the top of a nasty-steep little kicker (94mi), but they had popsicles, so all is forgiven!

    We spent a little while at this stop, stretching, enjoying the delicious fruits, and chatting with our fellow cyclists. Once done, we headed out with fresh enthusiasm, as there were only 15mi left on the ride.

    Redwood Rd. continued northward for a looooong ways. Its not at all steep, but goes on forever (replete with several false summits), and I was glad to make the acquaintance of a woman who was also in training for the Death Ride. We chatted and distracted each other from the climb, and before too long, we were heading east on Canyon again. I'd re-hooked-up with Kristin and Tim by now, and the three of us headed over Canyon to some backroads, and to Miramonte High and the ride end.

    We had more of the super-tasty BBQ chicken, tabouleh, and rice once we'd checked in, kicked back, and savoured the after-taste of this wonderful ride.

    Again, the Grizzly Peak Cyclists outdid themselves on this ride. The support was unimpeachable, the food heavenly, the route stunning, and the weather cooperative (OK, so they can't take credit for the latter...).

    Ride Stats:
    Distance: 107.4mi
    Total Time: 10h 44m
    On-bike Time: 7h 51m
    Average Speed: 13.6mph
    Maximum Speed: 48.2mph
    Total Climbing: ~8500 ft
    Difficulty: 4
    Support: 5
    Food: 5 - best ... food ... ever!
    Route: 5
    Overall: 5

    Last modified 02 November, 2021 MST
    Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul