Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I head out from Martinez to do a short out and back ride on Franklin Canyon Rd to McEwen Rd. I take Morello to Vine Hill Rd to Alhambra Ave. I take a left turn on Franklin Canyon Rd and head west for the next 3.59 miles. The terrain on Franklin Canyon is pretty flat with a very gentle incline of 1-2%. It’s a quiet stretch of road with many homes and ranches along with a vineyard and nursery. One homeowner has even set up a miniature outdoor railway train set complete with gardens, waterways and a beautiful sierras surroundings.
I make a right turn on McEwen Rd and ride under the freeway overpass. McEwen Rd is 2.44 miles. The climb up the south side is much gentler than the north side. It’s about 1.14 miles with ~194′ of elevation gain. The gradient starts off at around 2-3% and gradually creeps up to 5%. I can smell the fragrant scent of wild sage along the side of the road. In the summer, it can get pretty hot back here from the full exposure to the sun. As you approach the summit, the gradient kicks up to 9-10%. From there, the road levels out a bit before the fast steep descent to Carquinez Scenic Dr.
I reach the other end of McEwen Rd and turn around for the climb up the north side. Get in your lowest gear; it’s steep here! The climb is about 1.3 miles and starts off immediately at 13-16% and continues steadily in the double digits from 10-13%. The road does ease up a bit as you approach the grove of eucalyptus trees and there’s shade! There are sections that hit 9-10% as the climb goes on. Once you get out from under the shade, the gradient eases up to around 6-7% and decreases to about 4-5% as you near the top. After passing the old barn and ranch, it’s a fast sweeping descent all the way back to Franklin Canyon Rd.
It’s a fast run back down Franklin Canyon to Alhambra Way. I return the way I came; on Vine Hill Rd to Morello Ave.
This out and back ride is a nice and quick way to get quality miles with quality climbs. It’s short and sweet. I’ll definitely make this one of my “go to rides” when ever I’m under time constraints.
19.5 miles with 1515′ of elevation gain
Weather: Superb! Sunny and warm with temps in the high 80’s