Saturday, March 5, 2011
Michael and I decide to head up Diablo today. We take the Contra Costa Canal Trail starting from Pleasant Hill all the way to Walnut Creek. It’s a nice detour from all the traffic through the cities. We ride pass Heather Farm and take San Carlos Dr to Walnut and North Gate Rd.
The 7.8 mile climb up North Gate Rd to the Junction Ranger Station is much steeper than going up South Gate Rd. The average gradient is 6% compared to 4.5%.
The gradient kicks up to 9-11% as you make the turn on the approach to the Burma Rd Trail and at the 1000′ elevation sign. I spot Loyd H ahead of me and we chit chat and ride together for a while. This section of road is just long enough that you do feel the slight pain….it then levels out a bit before the climbing starts up again.
The gradient increases again as you approach the ranch with the white fencing. There are a few long switchbacks and the views from above are fantastic! I exchanged greetings with Ron K as he’s descending. Shortly after, I also see Bill M descending. The weather is changing quickly, the warmth of the sun is taken over by incoming clouds; the change in temp is pretty dramatic. We get up to the junction and decide to head back down. Both of us didn’t bring enough layers to feel comfortable making the descent from the summit. We both can’t afford to get sick! It’s a fast cool descent back down North Gate Rd.
We return via the Canal Trail. The wild yellow mustard flowers are in bloom all along Morello.
40 miles with 2984′ of elevation gain
Weather: Not bad; considering that the forecast calls for rain later in the afternoon. Morning sun turning to cloudy skies.Starting temp of 55 and reaching a high of 68.