The idea for this ride came from a previous ride I did, lead by Tony Moy, over Labor Day weekend two years ago, where we met at Orinda BART and did a loop thru Moraga to Canyon/Pinehurst and Redwood Roads to Castro Valley, and back to Orinda via Danville, Walnut Creek and Lafayette. So why start in Lafayette this time? Well, it’s where I grew up (and it’s a few miles less for me to drive to from Hollister.) So how to make a 52 mile ride longer? Well I played around with the program called Klimb and figured that we could head out to Sunol and return back to Castro Valley by following Niles Canyon to Palomares and then retrace our route to Lafayette. This would be the first time to use the program to prepare a route for a ride, and it estimated 78 miles and 5,370 feet of climbing.
So nine of us met on this sunny Sunday morning at the Lafayette BART station: Bill B., Jeff P., Scott S., Randy D. (making five ALCers on the ride including me), Mark P., Erik L. and Les D. Now it’s embarrasing when the Ride Coordinator forgets the waiver, but I did (note to self: put blank waivers in the glove box for future reference), so the ride became an unofficial DSSF ride. We headed out about 9:2o, Lafayette has some nice bike paths and it’s a quick jaunt out past the reservoir and on to Orinda. In Orinda, we headed up to Moraga, a gentle climb, and then headed on to Canyon, Pinehurst and Redwood Roads.
After a regroup at the Willow Park Public Golf Course, where Rico pointed out that the golfers at the driving range were using floating golf balls, which we didn’t belief at first, but as we headed out past the reclaimation pond, sure enough, floating golf balls.
Arriving in Castro Valley, we made our way to Paloverde Road and then up and over the Dublin Grade down to Foothill Boulevard. Foothill Boulevard took us all the way to Sunol, which was a good thing as I had looked at a Google Map and it appeared we would have been better to cut over to Pleasanton-Sunol Road, but we never saw Sunol Boulevard but it worked out. There’s not much to Sunol, I figured (hoped) there would be a deli or cafe, and Mark had eaten at one on a ride with Victor & Kyle several weeks earlier at the Sunol Coffee House & Cafe which was like something out of Fried Green Tomatoes without the southern accents.
Lunch in Sunol marked the 40 mile, halfway point, so the rest is all return. We started back west on Niles Canyon Road, the five miles to the almost always missed sharp right turn up Palmares Road. Going up thru Palomares Canyon the Garmin Edge 305GPS bike computer lost the satellite signal several times. And on the five mile climb this was the only stretch of road we did with any sign of slides or damage to the road from the seemingly never ending rains of the spring. In fact, all the roads were quite nice the entire 80 miles, making the downhills even nicer, not having to worry about badly rutted roads.
In Castro Valley, Rico & Scott left us to catch BART back to the city, and so off we set on the climb up Redwood Road another 5 mile climb like Palomares, but tougher after having done Palomares already. For the most part, almost all the climbing was spaced out fairly well, and it was nice that the last few were shorter, up Pinehurst, where Bill & Erik were waiting for me, and notice an ominous sign on the side of the road, like something out of an old western.
On Randy’s suggestion, we returned to Lafayette via Orinda, rather than continuing all the way down Moraga Way as I had planned; the stretch from Rheem to Lafayette is windy, narrow and not so good, so that bumped the total mileage to just over 81 miles. Jeff caught BART back to the city in Orinda, and we continued on to Lafayette and Starbucks before heading home.
Oh, and the final ride statistics varied. The Polar HR monitor measured 5,580 feet for the ride, and the Garmin GPS read pretty close to that before uploading the data. But after uploading the data it varied, 6034 feet according to the Garmin software, or 6,823 feet here at MotionBased.com where you can see the route and details of the ride. Thanks again everyone! See you next time.