Martinez-Livermore Century

Friday, June 21, 2013

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Today’s urban century heads south through the city streets of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette, Danville and San Ramon. The route continues east out to the “country” for a loop around Livermore on Highland, Manning and Collier Canyon Rd. The second half of this ride tours the urbanization along Windemere Pkwy and Gale Ranch and includes a jaunt around Alamo through the Round Hill Country Club neighborhoods before hopping on the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to Martinez.

We exit Martinez on Morello Ave to Pleasant Hill and climb Taylor Blvd for the descent into Lafayette. Olympic Blvd takes us to the short climb up Tice Blvd and the rollers along Crest Ave to the flats on Danville Blvd. The jog around the residential neighborhoods along Laurel and Brookside take us to the long flat miles on Sycamore Valley Rd and Camino Tassajara to San Ramon.

Camino Tassjara continues east along the edge of Blackhawk and turns south to Highland Rd. Highland takes us out to the “country” portion of this route; the golden hills and open spaces are dotted with ranches, farmhouses, barns and grazing horses and cattle.

The next 8+ flat miles heads further east along the country side on Manning, N Livermore, May School and Dagnino to Raymond Rd. The mountains of the Diablo Range can be seen in the back ground of the expansive Livermore valley.

We meander our way through the residential neighborhoods to the outskirts of Livermore to Northfront Rd; this road parallels I-580 to Altamont Pass Rd. The gentle terrain on Altamont Pass Rd goes under the train trestle and continues up to Carroll Rd.

Carroll Rd is a 0.8 mile climb with an average grade of 8.8%; at the top, the road crosses over I-580 to N Flynn Rd.

N Flynn Rd is a beautiful quiet stretch of road with minimal to no traffic; the rolling terrain passes through a few farm houses and ranches with fabulous views of the surrounding wind mills. The sweeping descent on N Flynn Rd drops us into Livermore at Patterson Pass Rd.

We continue on Patterson Pass Rd along the industrial park area and head west through the residential neighborhoods to N Mines Rd and 1st St to our lunch stop at the local Safeway Store.

For the second half of this century, we exit central Livermore on Portola Ave and cross over I-580 to Collier Canyon Rd. Collier Canyon Rd is a gorgeous back road that runs 5.5 miles on gentle rolling terrain from Livermore to the outer edge of the unincorporated town of Tassajara. Much of the space is occupied with old barns, farm houses, horse and cattle ranches and rusting old farm equipment. Grazing long horns, horses, mules and alpacas dot the surrounding hills and pastoral lands along this canyon. The one short climb up to the old water tower is followed by a fast descent to Highland Rd.

We continue SW on Camino Tassajara to Windemere Pkwy for the tour around the nice subdivisions surrounding Gale Ranch. The roads are very smooth with wide shoulder areas. Gale Ranch shopping center at the corner of Bollinger Canyon and Dougherty Rd is a great place to stop if you need food, water or restrooms; there’s a Safeway, Peet’s Coffee and a Subway.

Dougherty Rd and Crow Canyon Rd leads us back to the flats along Camino Tassajara towards Danville. We take Diablo Rd to Green Valley and Stone Valley for a quick pit stop at Oak Hill Park. The ducks at the park are not afraid of people, they just walk freely around the community center and park areas.

From Stone Valley Rd, we meander around the Alamo neighborhoods surrounding Round Hill Country Club on Roundhill Rd, Miranda Ave and Livorna Rd. The descent on Rudgear Rd drops us into Walnut Creek on S Broadway. We hop on the Iron Horse Trail off Newell Ave and continue on the Contra Costa Canal Trail out to Pleasant Hill.

We exit the Canal Trail on Grayson Rd and take Reliez Valley Rd to Alhambra Valley into Martinez. We continue on Alhambra Way to the back streets of town on Estudillo and Shell Ave to Pacheco Blvd. Pacheco Blvd goes through the industrial area of Martinez to the town of Pacheco. We climb Arnold Dr up to Glacier Ct and descend Arnold Dr to Fig Tree Ln back to Holiday Highlands Park.

It’s always nice to be able to start a ride from our front door; riding along city streets isn’t so bad, there are usually wide shoulder areas and even a bike lane. The one thing you really have to do is be on high alert and be aware of your surroundings; hidden driveways, cars turning in front of you or cars exiting parking lots. One good thing about riding around urban areas is that there are plenty of places to stop for food, water and restrooms-it’s pretty darn convenient!

Garmin Stats:
102.35 Miles with 5262′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1177′
Max grade: 14%

Weather: GREAT! Sunny and hot with clear blue skies and brisk SW winds. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the low 90’s

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Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.  ~Emily Dickinson
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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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