Mulholland Ridge

Friday, November 4, 2011

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We all meet up at the Island Picnic Area located on Wildcat Canyon in Berkeley for a ride out to Mulholland Ridge. Water and restrooms are available at the start.

The cold morning air certainly has a bite to it; it’s 47F here! There are a few large turkeys crossing the road; looks like they’re heading out to the Steam Trains. The forecast for the day calls for a 30% chance of rain but it looks like it’s clearing up so the ride is ON!

We head west on Wildcat Canyon and ride along the edge of Tilden Park to Grizzly Peak Blvd. The first 2.5 miles on Grizzly Peak takes us through the residential neighborhoods in the Berkeley hills. The average gradient up to Golf Course Rd is a little over 3%. The average grade for next 1.5 miles to the high point near South Park is at around 4.8%. The views from the top of the ridge are awesome! It’s a very clear day; you can see the cities below and across the bay!

The descent on Grizzly Peak down to Fish Ranch/Claremont Rd can be very fast but take caution; the road conditions are horrible! The huge cracks and fissures along this road have been recently patched over; it still makes for a very bumpy ride.

At the crossroad, we go straight to stay on Grizzly Peak for the next 2.4 miles. There is a short climb up to the ridge where the road levels out. The views up here are spectacular! We turn onto Skyline and make a brief stop at Sibley Park. Water and restrooms are available.

We continue 4 miles on rolling terrain along Skyline Blvd up to the Chabot Space & Science Center. The descent takes us to the intersection at Joaquin Miller Rd. We take a left at the traffic light to continue on Skyline Blvd to Redwood Rd.

The 2.5 mile descent along Redwood Rd is marvelous; it’s fun and fast with minimal braking. It also helps that the scenery is beautiful back here!

The next turn is on Pinehurst Rd; the climb up the south side is about 1.3 miles with an average grade of about 4.15%, one section near the top has pitches of 9-11%. The twisting descent takes us to the intersection at Canyon Rd; we stay on Canyon into Moraga.

Canyon Rd becomes Moraga Rd after crossing Moraga Way, at the traffic light. The next 1.5 mile on Moraga Rd takes us to the left turn onto Donald Dr. We go up about a third of a mile to make another left to stay on Donald Dr.

Donald Dr takes us up to Mulholland Ridge. The gradient starts off very gentle at around 3-4% and increases after you cross the gate. The road is closed to vehicular traffic at that point. The stair step climb up to the ridge is less than a mile long. The gradient ranges from 12-15% and levels out in the middle followed by another steep climb up to the water tower. Watch out for dogs running freely here; they’re allowed off leash in this area during daylight hours.

You get awesome views of the surrounding East Bay hills and of the Diablo Range at the top! We have an alfresco lunch at the picnic area and it’s just fantastic out here. There is a water fountain nearby but no porta-pottie.

We continue along the ridge and exit the Open Space Preserve at the Orinda side of the road. We ride through the residential neighborhoods on Alice Ln to Zander Dr and Rheem Blvd. We continue on Glorietta Blvd to Moraga Way.

There is a consensus to shorten the route so we take Moraga Way to Camino Pablo and climb up Wildcat Canyon back to Island. I show Jackie the little flat shortcut behind the Brazilian Room to avoid that nasty little short climb up to the parking lot.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting this ride! It was another fruitful fall day. Today was the first time I put on a base layer, tights, booties and long fingered gloves! It’s going be a chilly autumn season of cycling.

6 people in attendance

37.2 miles with 3421′ of elevation  gain

Weather: Not too bad; sunny and COLD! Temps ranged from the high 40’s to low 50’s.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ANY DAY YOU GET TO RIDE IS A GOOD DAY!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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