Vacaville to Lake Berryessa

Saturday, February 4, 2012

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Michael and I drive to Vacaville to join Ivan’s ride out to Lake Berryessa and back. The group meets up at the Pena Adobe Park. Water and restrooms are available inside the paid parking area.

The  first 15 miles of this route duplicates the start of the Knoxville Double.

We exit the park and head SW on Cherry Glen Rd to Lyon Rd and Hilborn; the roads parallels I-80 and takes us through the residential neighborhoods of Fairfield.

Waterman Blvd takes us out to the western edge of Fairfield to Mankas Corner Rd. This area is surrounded by vineyards, wineries and orchards. The bright yellow mustard flowers growing between the rows of grape vines are a lovely contrast to the vibrant green fields! The terrain here is flat; it’s a nice warm up to the climbs ahead of us.

We continue on Clayton Rd and make a quick left to Gordon Valley Rd. The 3.8 miles on this quiet country back road is wonderful; take the time to enjoy the rolling terrain and scenic hillsides dotted with horses and cows! Even on a weekend, the traffic on this winter day is quite minimal.

The next turn on Wooden Valley Cross Rd takes us to Wooden Valley Rd for the next 5.7 miles. The road conditions are really great; the pavement is nice and smooth! The climb on this stretch of road along the creek doesn’t exceed 6%. The horse ranches, vineyards and wineries fill up the surrounding landscape in this area; it’s quite gorgeous back here!

Once we reach the T-junction at Hwy 121, we take a right and continue north on Hwy 121/Monticello Rd for the next 5.5 miles. If you take the time to look around, you can see the valley below; it’s absolutely spectacular!

The terrain starts off quite gentle at around 2% until you reach the steeper climb; it goes on for about a mile or so with gradients ranging from 8-11%. After that point, it’s a nice descent all the way to Moscowitz Corner.

We arrive at our lunch stop at The Cross Roads at Lake Berryessa; it’s a grocery store, restaurant and lounge. Water and restrooms are available inside. There are a few picnic tables outside with lots of outdoor seating. This is also a very popular biker stop.

After lunch, we head north on Hwy 128; there is barely any traffic going this way at this time! The next 15+ miles is on flat to rolling terrain along with a few climbs up to Markley Cove. From there, you get to climb the backside of Cardiac Hill up to Monticello Dam. The gradient ranges from 6-7 and maxes out at 9%. It’s not as bad as it looks!

You’re at the top when you reach the Dam; you get some nice views of Lake Berryessa and the Morning Glory Spillway. The water level of the dam is too low for the drain hole to be in use-we need RAIN!

From the Dam, it’s pretty much all downhill and rollers along Putah Creek to Pleasants Valley Rd. Thanks to Michael for pulling me all the way to the regroup at the Mini-Mart/gas station! I feel like having a soda, but the place is closed.

We continue on Pleasants Valley Rd for the next 12.5 miles. There is a short climb pass Lake Solano; thereafter the terrain is pretty flat with rollers and a few short climbs in between-the gradient doesn’t exceed 7%.

Take the time to enjoy the scenic views; the Vaca Mountains, old barns, horse ranches, pastoral hillsides, vibrant green meadows, small farms and nurseries. The yellow of the mustard flowers really take on a GLOW of their own-it’s a beautiful sight to see! The last turn on Cherry Glen takes us back to Pena Adobe Park.

Thanks to Ivan for leading-it was yet another gorgeous spring-like winter ride!

8 people in attendance

57 miles with 3107′ of elevation gain

Weather: WONDERFUL! Sunny blue skies with afternoon winds. Temps ranging from the mid 50’s to the low 60’s.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>RIDE, RIDE, RIDE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Follow this route for today’s ride:


One Comment

  1. This is one of the nicest rides in the Bay Area. One note, in the section after you make the turn off of Gordon Valley on to Wooden Valley Cross Road (just after the fire station) there have been some mountain lion sightings. No problems but a few signtings.


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