Crockett Hills-Xmas Eve Ride

Friday, December 24, 2010

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Michael and I ride out from the house and take Los Angeles and Spruce up to Wildcat. The ride I’m leading today meets up at the Island Picnic Area in Berkeley. Water and restrooms are available.

We head down Wildcat for a brief regroup at the intersection of Bear Creek and San Pablo Dam Rd. I pick up a few riders here.

We head up Bear Creek Rd to do a counter clockwise loop of the Bears. The climb up Papa Bear is much longer and the gradient is steady at 6-7%. A restroom is available at the EBMUD staging area. The drop down the other side of Papa Bear is a blast! We ride pass Briones Regional Park, water and restrooms are available there. The road flattens for a bit before the next few climbs up towards Mama Bear. There are some nice views of the reservoir along the way.

After descending Mama Bear, it’s a pretty fast run all the way to Alhambra Valley Rd. We continue on Alhambra Valley for the climb up Pig Farm Hill. The climb starts off gradually at 5-7% then increases to 10-13%. You get a little break before the road tilts up again. The gradient maxes out at 13-14% as you near the top.

The temp drops as we head down the other side of Pig Farm. We continue on Alhambra Ave into Martinez to Franklin Canyon Rd. Franklin Cyn is a bit deceiving, it looks flat but there’s a steady 2% incline all the way to McEwen Rd.

There is a brief regroup at the corner of McEwen and Franklin Cyn. This area is socked in with fog! The climb up the south side of McEwen is about a mile long with the gradient being around 7%; it’s much easier than the climb up the north side. McEwen drops us onto Carquinez Scenic Dr. The next few miles on Carquinez Scenic take us into Crockett. You can purchase snack foods at J & L Market on Pomona; other food options are also available as you get further into town.

Our destination lunch stop is at Crockett Hills Regional Park. Water and restroom are available.

We continue up Crockett Blvd to Cummings Skywy. The climb on Crockett Blvd is about 1.7 mile. The gradient starts off at around 6-7% and increases to 9% as you near the top. The next few miles on Cummings is slow due to poor visibility and head winds. The fog is super thick! I have to remove my sunglasses in order to see the road ahead of me.

We take Franklin Canyon back to Martinez. From there, we continue on Alhambra Ave to Alhambra Valley Rd. The climb up the east side of Pig Farm is much easier with the gradient being around 7-8%.

We cross Bear Creek Rd and continue on Alhambra Valley. The sun is trying to peek through the clouds and the hillsides are turning green. It’s all very beautiful! We take Castro Ranch to SPDR.

The climb up Wildcat Canyon is 2.4 miles long. The first mile is the steepest part, the gradient ranges from 7-9%. Once you pass El Toyonal, the gradient eases up to around 3-5% all the way to the top; Inspiration Point. On Wildcat, after you pass the Botanic Garden, there is a short steep climb back to the Island Picnic Area.

Much thanks to everyone for taking the time to join me on this Xmas Eve ride!

13 people in attendance with several folks dropping off at different points along
the route.

Original route: 58 miles with 5237′ of elevation gain

Extended route: 68 miles with 6144′ of elevation gain

Weather: COLD! Morning sun turning into cloudy skies in the afternoon. Dense fog with increasing winds in the west Contra Costa area. Temps ranged from 47-53.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>RIDE, RIDE, RIDE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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