Discovery Bay Century

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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This urban century heads to East Contra Costa County through the cities and farmlands of Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley and Knightsen to our turn around destination at the waterfront community of Discovery Bay. The return west includes a steep climb up Kirker Pass Rd to Clayton.

We descend Arnold Dr and ride through the industrial area on Imhoff and Solano Way to Olivera Rd.

Olivera Rd runs through the residential neighborhoods and parks surrounding the NE edge of Concord. Willow Pass Rd leads us out-of-town and crosses under Hwy 4 to the steep 9-11% climb up Evora Rd.

We descend Evora Rd to Driftwood Dr through the subdivisions of Bay Point out towards the shoreline on Port Chicago Hwy. This road parallels the Union Pacific RR tracks around the industrial area of town.

We take Willow Pass Rd and Bailey Rd to cross under Hwy 4 to the next city of Pittsburg. The main thoroughfare through town is on W Leland Dr; this flat road goes pass the commercial business areas, the Delta View Golf Course, the neighborhood parks and residential neighborhoods out to Los Medanos College.

We continue on Delta Fair Blvd to the busy Towne Center and auto dealerships on Somersville Rd in Antioch. W 10th St goes along the residential neighborhoods of north Antioch to the City Park.

The flat 3 miles on Wilbur Ave take us through more residential neighborhoods and eventually leads us out of Antioch though the industrial and farming areas along the waterway.

We enter the town of Oakley and continue for the next 5 miles on Main St; this is another one of those roads that can be set anywhere in the US with the same fast food chains, businesses and subdivisions. After a while, these places all look alike!

Delta Rd take us through the small agricultural town of Knightsen; the local farm sells all its fruits and produce from their barn, the surrounding area has fruit orchards, fertile farmlands, open meadows and horse ranches.

We head south on Byron Hwy and Orwood Rd; these two lane roads runs through the rural areas with corn fields, open grasslands, goat and horse farms, hay fields and other agricultural crops.

Bixler Rd leads us to our destination point at Discovery Bay. This waterfront community has many private gated subdivisions with private docks and easy access to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. We meander around the “open” areas of the community on Newport Dr, Clipper Dr and Discovery Bay Blvd to Discovery Point. The neighborhoods have a mixture of older homes and huge newly remodeled estates. The palm trees around the area remind me of being in SoCal!

We take the trail off Newport Dr for the short jaunt through the open fields surrounding Kellogg Creek to the backside of Sandy Cove Shopping Center. We stop for lunch at the Safeway; the restrooms and water/ice dispenser is conveniently located near the door.

We leave Discovery Bay and head for Brentwood on Bixler and Marsh Creek Rd; there’s a ranch on Marsh Creek with a Jurassic Park like theme complete with thick growing palms and dinosaurs strategically placed to look like an attack is about to happen!

The next 4+ miles along Byron Hwy and Brentwood Blvd goes pass the rich agricultural area around Brentwood with fields of freshly plowed fertile soil, corn, fruit orchards, grapevines, tomatoes and ranches.

Balfour Rd runs through the center of Brentwood along the downtown area with its medical centers, hospital, shopping centers, parks, schools, residential neighborhoods and golf course.

Balfour heads further east out-of-town with fabulous views of the golden rolling hills and Mt Diablo in the background!

We head north on Deer Valley Rd; the first few miles of this road is very similar to riding around the back roads of Highland and Collier Canyon in Livermore-it’s pretty quiet with minimal traffic and great views of the surrounding rolling hills leading into Antioch.

From this point, we meander through the residential subdivisions around Antioch on Deer Valley, Lone Tree Way and James Donlon Blvd. From Pittsburg, Buchanan Rd and Railroad Ave take us to Kirker Pass Rd.

The climb up Kirker Pass Rd is 2.4 miles; it begins with gentle grades of 4-6% and increases to steeper grades of 10-13% for the last 0.7 mile up to the summit-the strong winds made this climb even tougher!

The fast descent on Kirker Pass Rd drops us down into the town of Clayton on Ygnacio Valley Rd. To avoid all the traffic on Ygnacio Blvd, we take the side streets around the residential neighborhoods of Concord to Treat Blvd. To avoid more city traffic, we take the Contra Costa Canal Trail from Treat Blvd for the next 7.3 miles to Taylor Blvd in Pleasant Hill.

The last 12 miles of this route goes up Taylor Blvd to Withers for the 3 mile stretch on Reliez Valley Rd. The rolling climbs on Reliez take us to Alhambra Valley Rd into Martinez.

We continue on Alhambra Ave for the climb up Muir Station Rd to Center Ave and Morello. The gentle grade up Muir Rd brings us to the Hwy 4 overpass to Milano Way and for the descent on Midhill Rd to Fig Tree Lane.

This urban century gave us the opportunity to explore the cities around east Contra Costa County; the majority of the roads we were on had very good road pavement, a wide shoulder area and bike lanes. Out of the hundreds of cars that passed us today, we got honked at by one angry truck driver on the Byron Hwy, otherwise everyone else gave us more than 3 feet when they passed us by; I think the pre-emptive little hand wave made a great deal of difference!

Garmin Stats:
101 Miles with 3717′ of elevation gain
Max grade: 812′
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 13%

Weather: Great! Sunny, warm & breezy with NW winds. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the high 80’s

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I want to go anywhere and explore as much as I can.
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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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