Friday, December 2, 2011
We exit the park and head east on the Canal Trail to Concord. We come across a section of the trail that is closed so we make a detour onto the side street and hop back on at the next available entrance.
We continue on Treat Blvd for next 1.4 miles to Turtle Creek Rd and make our way through the residential neighborhoods of Concord and Clayton to Old Downtown Clayton. We regroup at the Downtown Park-The Grove; water and restrooms are available. Food and drinks can be purchased at the Village Market located right next to the park.
The first few miles on Marsh Creek Rd take us through the residential neighborhood of Clayton with Mount Diablo standing majestically in the background. How fabulous is that? I certainly don’t have that kind of view from my backyard!
The bike lane ends after you pass Diablo Pkwy, from that point on, there is no shoulder area. You must ride single file; traffic can get very heavy at times. The climbing begins after you pass Rodie’s Feed Store. The three part climb has gradient ranges of 6-8%. The fast descent takes us to the turn onto Morgan Territory Rd.
Morgan Territory Rd is 14.5 miles long on a very quiet back road which begins east of Clayton in Contra Costa County and ends north of Livermore in Alameda County. There are a considerable amount of large homes with horse ranches located in this area. The two lane road eventually becomes narrow and single lane with no intersecting through roads.
I consider this least traveled road to be another hidden gem of the Bay Area. It’s a gorgeous stretch of road with plenty of beautiful natural growth and a running creek. A vast majority of the 9+ miles climb is done under the canopy of trees; you enter the Regional Preserve at around mile 6. The last few miles up to the park has nasty steep sections with gradients ranging from 9-14%! Hold steady-the reward is well worth the effort!
Another short climb takes us up to the Regional Preserve. Water and restrooms are available along with plenty of picnic tables in the open space area. We sit, have lunch and enjoy the day! The winds have also increased dramatically up here.
The Regional Park is not at the summit of Morgan Territory Rd. There is still one more climb up to the top of the ridge. We see a flock of turkeys crossing the road and they’re all fat and plump. They survived the Thanksgiving holiday! The views from the top are fantastic!
Everyone is advised to go downhill very carefully; the winds are blowing quite strongly back here. The descent continues on a single narrow lane road with a few blind turns and straightens out as we reach Manning Rd. There are a few old barns, ranches and an orchard at the bottom of this road.
We continue on Manning Rd and head straight into the headwinds on Highland Rd. The rollers on Highland take us onto Camino Tassajara Rd. Michael does a fabulous job of taking the lead for the next several miles and blocking the winds as we make our way to Tassajara towards Blackhawk.
The vibrant colors of the foliage along the way are gorgeous-it just pops out at you! We continue on Camino Tassajara to Sycamore Valley Rd and make our way into Danville on Brookside to Laurel, Hartz, Front and Danville Blvd.
Danville Blvd takes us to the Iron Horse Trail at Rudgear Rd. Further along the trail, we run across a mass of kids getting out of school. I’m ringing my bell, shouting out “bikes, bikes” and we all manage to survive the encounter and let out a big sigh of relief as we pass on by. WHEW! We arrive back at Heather Farms safe and sound!
Thanks to everyone who came out to join me on this ride! The weather, the route and the company made for another fun day of riding!
Another “Thanks” goes to Wyatt for helping John with his wheel!
11 people in attendance
53.37 miles with 2981′ of elevation gain
Weather: MARVELOUS! A full day of sunshine with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s. It felt like a summer day with strong afternoon winds.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ENJOY THE RIDE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Follow this route sheet for today’s ride: