Sunol Century

Saturday, January 5, 2013

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It’s time to get back to doing some distance, this somewhat flat urban century I’ve mapped out starts in Martinez and goes out to Sunol for several gentle out and back climbs. The first is on Calaveras Rd to the false summit followed by Geary Rd to the Sunol Wilderness Park and lastly up Kilkare Rd to Kilkare Woods.

We take our standard route into Lafayette on Morello Ave to Taylor Blvd and Pleasant Hill Rd. The flats and rollers on Danville Blvd, San Ramon Valley Rd and Foothill Rd continues on for miles through Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton and Sunol. The one section to watch out for is at the freeway interchange off I-580 in Dublin-there is a lot of traffic here; ride with caution!

Traffic is significantly reduced once you pass Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton. The next 5+ rolling miles on Foothill Rd goes along the edge of Pleasanton Ridge Park and through some very nice residential neighborhoods with huge homes and estates.

We take the turn on Castlewood Dr to head south on Pleasanton Sunol Rd for the next 3.6 miles. This road follows the gentle railroad grade along the creek to the edge of Sunol.

We take Paloma Way and head south on Calaveras Rd for the next 4+ miles, the rolling terrain brings us pass several plant and tree nurseries and a water treatment plant. The climb up Calaveras begins after you cross the bridge over Welch Creek. The 3 mile climb to the false summit on this quiet back road has gentle grades of 3-5 % with fabulous views of the surrounding Sunol Regional Wilderness area.

We turn around and descend Calaveras Rd to Geary Rd; the next 3.6 rolling mile out and back section to Sunol Wilderness Park. The 2 lane road becomes a single narrrow lane as you near the entrance to the park. You can purchase select drinks and snack items at the Sunol Visitors Center. The water fountains are non-functioning so the park provides bottled water for public use-they’re located on top of the old wagon and equipment building. Porta-potties are available at the north end of the parking lot.

We reverse our way out on Geary Rd back to Calaveras Rd and Paloma Way. We continue on Main St into the town of Sunol. Snack foods and drinks can be purchased at the Sunol market, there is a water fountain in  the park and porta-potties are available at the far end of train depot parking lot.

Our last out and back is up Kilkare Rd to the small community of Kilkare Woods, it’s a gentle 3.5 mile stretch of road that dead ends at a trail head into the Pleasanton Ridge Park. The calming sounds of water rushing along Sinbad Creek makes this a very peaceful climb with minimal to no traffic. This would be a great place to ride during hot summer days; this dense wooded area will keep you nice and cool in the shade.

We descend Kilkare Rd and take Foothill Rd back through Pleasanton and into Dublin.The crossover on I-580 takes us to the flats on San Ramon Valley Rd into San Ramon. We cross I-680 and head north on Camino Ramon to Sycamore Valley Rd.

We hop onto the Iron Horse Trail into Danville and stop for a moment to eat a banana  to sustain us for the remaining 20 miles of the ride. It begins to lightly sprinkle so we decide to stay on the Iron Horse Trail into Walnut Creek. By the time we reach Rudgear Rd, the light sprinkles have turned into steady rain! We opt to stay on the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to Martinez. The temps dropped from 55F in San Ramon to a cold 43F in Martinez. It’s good to get back home before dark!

VDO Stats:
101.33 miles with 5241′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 2%
max grade: 11%

Weather: GOOD! Overcast with cloudy skies. Cool temps ranging from 40F in the morning to an afternoon high of 55F. Cold, late afternoon rain with temps dropping down to the low 40’s

I’m doing exactly what I want to do, and I’m having fun doing it!

Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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