Cinderella Challenge Century

Monday, February 4, 2013

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Today’s century is a variation of the Cinderella Challenge, it skips all the turns around the residential neighborhoods of Pleasanton and stays on the main roads out to Livermore. I also get to revisit the site of my accident from last year’s ride and complete the Challenge!

The first 40 miles of this course goes through the cool foggy city streets of Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin and Pleasanton.

Once we reach Livermore, the sun is shining brightly above us we make our first stop at the Chevron Station on Vineyard Ave. I can see the low-lying fog still lingering around the Tri-Valley area.

We head east on Concannon Blvd to S Livermore & Tesla Rd; there are fabulous views of the vineyards and wineries that stretch through the floor of Livermore Valley. The climb up Cross Rd cuts through the pastoral rolling hills to Patterson Pass Rd. The grasslands are dotted with grazing sheep, horses and cattle.

Patterson Pass Rd from the intersection at Cross Rd to the summit is under 2 miles with an average grade of about 7%; the last quarter-mile is the steepest part with gradient ranges of 11-13%! Once you reach the summit, you are rewarded with outstanding views of the massive wind farms around Patterson & Altamont Passes.


The descent down to the PG&E substation is fast; I pass the site of my accident and feel a great sense of relief-I’m completely over it and have recovered quite nicely. I will definitely finish the ride! We also get passed by a peloton of Lawrence Livermore Lab lunch riders.


We continue on Midway Rd out to Grant Line and Altamont Pass Rd. The 6.2 miles of rolling terrain on Altamont Pass has a couple of false summits up to the Summit Garage. This pavement on this whole stretch of road is fabulously smooth with super views of all the spinning windmills above the rolling hillsides.

We descend Altamont Pass onto Carroll Rd; it’s a short steep one mile climb up to the I-580 overpass to N Flynn Rd. It’s a quiet stretch of road with minimal to no traffic through the Livermore hills with fantastic views of the neatly lined windmills. There are a couple of farm houses and ranches in this remote area. The fast sweeping descent on N Flynn drops us back into the valley onto Patterson Pass Rd.

We take Greenville Rd back to Altamont Pass and continue west on Northfront Rd into Livermore. We make another stop at the Chevron Station on N Vasco Rd before weaving our way out of town to the flats on Raymond Rd, Dagnino, May School and N Livermore Ave.

This “country section” of the route is really quite beautiful; green rolling hills with expansive grasslands, farm houses, ranches and old barns. Cattle and horses seem to roam freely throughout this area.

The flat run on Manning, Carneal and Highland bring us to Camino Tassajara; one of the main roads that goes along the edge of Blackhawk and San Ramon. From this point, it’s pretty much a  flat ride all the way back to Danville on Sycamore Valley Rd and Danville Rd back to Walnut Creek.

From Rudgear and S Main, I take the Iron Horse and Canal Trail back into Martinez while Bruce returns to Lafayette on Olympic Blvd.

Thanks to Bruce for joining me on this Cinderella Challenge-it’s usually reserved for women only but I won’t tell! He’s been a “Prince” to ride with!

VDO Stats:
115.04 Miles with 5134′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 16%

Weather: GREAT! Cool morning fog turning to sunny clear blue skies for the rest of the day. Morning temps ranged from the high 30’s to the low 40’s with SW winds. Afternoon temps reached the high 60’s with NW winds.

Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are.      ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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