Centuries & such:
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!
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.
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!
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,
and we were cruising through the "lovely" town of Rodeo (OK,
if you must know, its actually somewhat nasty).
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
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,
. 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
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. 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
(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.
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...).
||5 - best ... food ... ever!