Century Prep Ride #1-The Bears and a Bit

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Click here to watch a short video of the ride

View the entire Google Web Album

Today’s prep ride will take us around the Bears and up Wildcat to El Toyonal. We meet up at the Orinda BART parking lot. Water and restrooms are available inside the BART station.

We head NW on Camino Pablo and San Pablo Dam Rd through Orinda. The terrain is pretty much flat with a few rollers all the way up to the Dam. We descend SPDR to Castro Ranch Rd for a brief regroup at the Park ‘n Ride lot.

The first short climb on Castro Ranch Rd has a 9% grade; the second climb through the neighborhood is around 5-6%. The fast straight descent drops us down to Alhambra Valley Rd.

Once you make that right turn on Alhambra Valley, your eyes catch sight of all the wild yellow mustard flowers in bloom; it’s absolutely gorgeous! The lush green hill sides provide a wonderful contrast to the yellow flowers. WOW! We’re on this stretch of road for over 2.5 miles. It’s very quiet and calming back here. You must take the time to look around and take in all this beautiful surrounding landscape.

We take the turn on Bear Creek Rd. We ride pass horse ranches, farms and a Jewish cemetery before reaching the climb on Mama Bear.

The climb up Mama Bear is less than a mile long with a steady 7% grade. There are two additional humps in between the climb.

The climb on Papa Bear is less than a mile long with a steady grade of 7%. It starts after you cross the bridge at after passing Happy Valley Rd. It’s a fast sweeping descent all the way to Baby Bear.

Baby Bear is the last short bit of climb up to SPDR. The gradient ranges from 9-11%. There is a brief regroup at the top.

It’s starting to lightly sprinkle so Michael and I decide to bail out on doing “the bit” up Wildcat and El Toyonal. We head back to Orinda on Camino Pablo. The sprinkles have turned into a light rain by now. We see Eric returning to BART along with several other riders.

Much thanks to Eric, Barb and Estella for leading today’s ride! They also presented an informal informative 15 minute pre-ride safety clinic. GREAT JOB GUYS! It’s great to be able to come out and support these types of club rides. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to introduce riders to becoming potential club members. I’d like to encourage others to do the same. It’s fun!

26 people in attendance

24 miles with 1688′ of elevation gain.

Weather: Cool with overcast cloudy skies. Temps ranged from the low to mid 50’s

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>KEEP PEDALING!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


  1. Familiar territory. Nice to see the group getting ready for the big challenge ahead if the GPC Century is to be a reality for the paritciipants. I am hesitant abut the grueling nature of the Century as it is run on the hilly terain. I'm considering stayin back and just enjoying the lunch at Campolindo.Where is it written that one must suffer for a good time?


  2. Thanks Nancy. As usual you did a prompt and very commendable job. I really enjoyed viewing your presentation as it was nostalgic for me, recalling the many times I have done this ride and the pleasure it was.


  3. Thanks for posting Nancy! It was great to see you and Michael in the beginning…even though I was far behind by the time you guys were finished. A few of us did El Toyonal, and it was done raining by then and quite lovely. See you next weekend!


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