Temescal to Lafayette

Friday, September 30, 2011

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The group meets up at the Lake Temescal parking lot off Broadway in Oakland for a hilly ride out to Lafayette. Parking is free during the weekdays; water and restrooms are available.

We start right off with a climb up Broadway and go over the Freeway Overpass to Caldecott Ln and Tunnel Rd.

The climb up Tunnel Rd to Skyline Blvd & Grizzly Peak Blvd is a little over 3 miles with an average gradient of about 4.5%. There is one really bad section of  road with very rough pavement and some pretty decent sized cracks and fissures; your tire can get caught very easily, so watch out! As you near the top, the ridge opens up and the views of the city come into view. There is a brief regroup near Sibley. Water and restrooms are available at Sibley Park.

We continue on Grizzly Peak Blvd for the next 2.4 miles; this section along the ridge is a slight downhill with unobstructed views of the East Bay. Stop and take a moment to admire the views; it’s gorgeous!

The climb on the south side of Grizzly Peak starts after you cross Claremont Ave and continues up to South Park Dr. It’s 1.5 miles with an average grade of about 6%. On a clear day, the views from the top are fabulous; you can see all of the East Bay, the four bridges and the skyline of San Francisco and beyond!

Water and restrooms are available at the Steam Trains parking lot at Tilden Park.

The twisty descent on Grizzly Peak takes us through the residential neighborhoods and on to Wildcat Canyon Rd. Watch for gravel and debris along the turns.

Wildcat Canyon to Inspiration Point is about 3.5 miles; the terrain is mostly flat with a few rollers in between. This road takes you in and around Tilden Park; it’s very pretty back here with minimal traffic. The first few miles are a bit rough, the pavement is awful; it only improves after you cross the Contra Costa County line.

Water and restrooms are available at the Island Picnic area. At Inspiration Point, there are restrooms but no water.

Wildcat Canyon from the Brazil Bldg all the way to the bottom at Camino Pablo has recently been resurfaced and chip sealed. There are still plenty of loose aggregate on the road; descend with caution!

We cross Camino Pablo and regroup on Bear Creek Rd. It’s time to peel off the layers; the sun is shining brightly on this side of the hill and it’s warming up quite nicely.

We see a bunch of wild turkeys crossing the road; they look really well fed, they’re big and plump!

The climb up Pumphouse Grade is less than 2 miles with an average grade of about 5.5%. Traffic is minimal and you’re on good pavement with a wide shoulder area. You can get cooked back here on hot days; the road is fully exposed with no shade. The descent on the backside is straight and fast!

Water and restrooms are available at Briones Park.

After crossing the bridge at the bottom of the hill, we make an immediate right turn onto Happy Valley Rd. The climb up Happy Valley is on a narrow single lane road; it’s about a mile long with an average grade of 9%. It starts off gradually at the beginning and kicks up to 11% when you approach the first switchback to the right. From that point, it’s a steady grind of 9-12% with pitches maxing out at 15%! You’re near the top when you see the guard rail on the right hand side of the road.

The descent on Happy Valley is almost 3 miles long; the first section is fun and twisty and then the road straightens out and it’s a fast run down to Deer Hill Rd. I’ve seen a police car parked on the side of the road on several occasions; don’t blow through the stop signs!

We take Deer Hill Rd to 1st St and enter the shopping plaza to our lunch stop at Noah’s Bagel. There is ample outdoor seating and space to park the bikes. Water and restrooms are available.


After lunch, a couple of riders decide to go another route while the rest of us get back on Happy Valley Rd and climb up to Sundown Terrace. It’s about 2.5 miles with a steady grade of around 2-4% from Deer Hill to the stop sign at Upper Happy Valley Rd. The gradient increases from that point to 5-6% and immediately jumps up to 9-10% as you make the first switchback to the left.

We continue down Sundown Terrace and wind our way through the pricey residential neighborhood of Sleepy Hollow in Orinda. Lombardy Ln takes us to Miner Rd and Camino Pablo.

We head NW on Camino Pablo to Wildcat Canyon Rd.  The climb up Wildcat to Inspiration Point is 2.5 miles. The first mile up to El Toyonal has an average gradient of 7-8%. The gradient eases up for the next 1.5 miles to about 4%. There is a regroup at the parking lot of the Brazil Bldg.

Several people break off from the group at this point and the rest of us 5 riders continue on course and go up Shasta Rd. The quarter mile climb up Shasta is short and steep; the gradient is a steady 10%.

We continue on Golf Course Rd to Grizzly Peak Blvd. The climb on Golf Course is less than a mile long; the first section is fairly short with grades of 7-8%, that’s followed by a descent and another longer climb. The gradient increases to 10% and as you near the top, it eases up to 7-8%.

The last climb of the day is up the north side of Grizzly Peak Blvd. It’s about 1.5 miles with an average grade of 4.5% to the top at South Park Dr. The road conditions on Grizzly Peak have deteriorated to the point where there are huge cracks and fissures; proceed with caution! The last right hand turn towards Claremont Ave is the worse part; you really need to slow down!

We cross Claremont Ave to continue on Grizzly Peak. The views along the ridge are wonderful! At the T intersection, we descend Tunnel Rd back to Caldecott Ln and Broadway.

Much thanks to everyone for joining me on this hilly ride out to Lafayette and back! It was a great ride with great company as well.

13 people in attendance

50 miles with 5259′ of elevation gain

Weather: GREAT! Morning overcast and cloudy turning to bright sunny skies by mid-day with afternoon winds. Starting temp of 64F and reaching a high of 71F.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>KEEP RIDING!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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