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Sunday, October 12, 2008


Still getting ready for my first century on 10/18.
Monday the 6th I went out for my final "training" ride with the goal of 75 miles. It was a success. The total trip actually came out to 74.5 miles to the driveway, but it was close enough for me.

The route led from the office in Richmond, out San Pablo Dam Rd., up into Tilden Park, across the Oakland hills, down into Castro Valley, and then up Crow Canyon and along the Diablo valley to home.

I've ridden this route in part and full several times before. It's not an easy ride, since the climbs involved are less than mild. One climb in particular is among the hardest climbs in the Bay Area - in my opinion. South Park Rd., which Google maps shows, but won't let you route, is a seasonally closed road which connects East park Rd. with Grizzly Peak Rd. Elevation 940' to 1660' in 1 mile. (If my math is correct, it works out to an average of 13% grade.) That is after just climbing 900' over the course of nearly 15 miles, since my office in Richmond is at around 40' in elevation.

The 90 plus miles that is recorded in an earlier posting included this same route. At the top of the above noted hill, I was spent, and still had 60 miles to ride. This time, I was holding up much better, and was unconcerned to see the unanticipated DETOUR sign at the end of Grizzley Peak. The usual left onto Skyline was forbidden and reinforced by 2 rather dejected cyclists coming back up the hill. My only choice was to follow the detour - 7 miles out of the way. Fortunately I felt fine and dove off the edge of what was supposed to have been the end of climbing for a while, down the wrong side of the ridge into the hillsides of Montclaire following the orange and black signs. Down, down, down they led me and the 1970's pickup truck that wouldn't let me pass. Choking on exhuast, I finally left him near the bottom, as he gave up on the detour, and I pressed on. The bottom was not the end of the detour, but rather the middle.

Where I was supposed to follow the ridge along Skyline, I was rather forced over the edge, with a grand view of San Francisco Bay, to then loop back up the same distance I had descended. By the time I returned up to the original course, my 7 mile detour had netted me only about 2 miles of progress on Skyline, but an elevation exchange of over 800'.

The balance of the course winds, rolls, and meanders through the hills of Berkeley, Oakland, Castro Valley, and then finally San Ramone, where the straight, and refreshingly innocuous run through the Diablo Valley begins. The original plan included a ride up Mt. Diablo, which likely would have happened, and pushed the final tally well over 80 miles, had the unexpected tour of Montclair / Oakland not happened. Even as it was, the sun was tucked in behind the western hills as I rolled into my neighborhood.

The next morning's ride was painful.
However, since I left a little later then usual, I was priviledged to see the pink glow of the eastern horizon over the hanging fog. I shot a picture with my mobile phone and included it above. I soon descended into that same mist, and arrived at the office completely soaked with it.

The other picture is a shot over the edge of the Oakland hills looking down on San Francisco Bay.
Again with the mobile phone.
Any one want to donate a small light camera for my cycling blog?

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