Sunday, December 4, 2011
It’s another gorgeous autumn day in Walnut Creek! Michael and I are leading a ride up Mount Diablo starting from Heather Farms Park. People are trickling into the parking lot as we all prepare for the ride out.
We exit the north end of the park to take the Canal and Iron Horse Trails through Walnut Creek. Weekend traffic on the path is a bit heavier with more walkers, joggers, strollers and bikes.
We take Danville Blvd all the way to our next turn on Stone Valley Rd. This is a high density traffic area; watch for cars coming every which way! The gentle climb up Stone Valley Rd brings us to our regroup at the Oak Hill Community Center off Glenwood Ct. Water and restrooms are available.
We continue on Stone Valley to Green Valley Rd and take the bike path along Diablo Rd to Alameda Diablo. The short ride through the palatial residential neighborhood of the Diablo Country Club allows us to go through “the hole in the fence” and bypass a good portion of bad road on Mt Diablo Scenic Blvd.
Watch for cars and cyclists coming down the road as you exit the open fence area. From this point, it’s about a 6 miles climb up to the Junction Ranger Station. The average gradient is at around 4.5%. Take the time to enjoy the fabulous scenery as you make your way up the mountain. A majority of the climb up to the South Gate Kiosk is fully exposed to the sun. On a hot day, it can be brutal!
Once you pass the kiosk, the road levels out a bit; the average grade for the next 2+ miles is at around 2-3%. The false flat comes with two downhill sections in the shade through Rock City. Enjoy this while you can; the climbing continues up to Curry Point with pitches of 6-7%. The road levels out for a bit as you enter the next shaded area through the pine trees. The road then opens up along the ridge with spectacular views; take the time to look up and down the mountainsides!
At the 2000′ elevation sign, the road begins to kick up to gradients of 7-9% all the way to the Junction Ranger Station. Hang in there; it’s less than a mile and you’re almost there! Water and restrooms are available at the Junction. With the latest budget cuts, the restrooms were closed today.
The climb up Summit Rd is 4.6 miles with an average grade of 7%. As you approach Blue Oak and Oak Knoll picnic areas, the gradient increases to ranges of 9-11%. The road eases up once you pass Pioneer on to Juniper.
The next 2.1 miles climb from Juniper up to Devil’s Elbow holds steady with grades of 7-8%. The road flattens a bit after the last switchback up to the Elbow. Beware of the false summit. The last 200 yards to the upper parking lot is steep! It starts off at around 13% and maxes out to 17-18% as you near the top.
The views from the summit are awesome; the previous days of high winds have blown away all the muck in the air; it’s a very clear day up here!
The eleven miles descent on Summit Rd to North Gate Rd is the reward for all the climbing that was done earlier. The post ride stop at Peet’s at the Ygnacio Plaza shopping center is a wonderful finish to another fun day of riding.
Thanks to everyone for joining Michael and I on yet another fabulous day up Mt Diablo!
Congrats to Kurt, Debb and Wendy for summiting Diablo for the first time!
18 people in attendance with 1 tandem
38 miles with 4011′ of elevation gain
Weather: GORGEOUS! Sunny blue skies with temps ranging from the low to mid 60’s
Follow this route sheet for today’s ride: