Tour de East Bay Hundred

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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This urban century goes for a counter clockwise loop around much of the classic East Bay hills and continues south into Castro Valley. The tour includes an out and back up the beautiful Palomares Rd and to the dead end road on Eden Canyon. The route returns north along the flats and rolling terrain through the city streets of Dublin, San Ramon and Alamo into Walnut Creek. The ride winds down along the Iron Horse and Canal Trail back into Martinez.

We make our way through the city streets of Martinez to our first climb up the gentle side of Pig Farm Hill along the flat to rolling terrain on Alhambra Valley Rd. It’s a half mile climb with 6-9% grades.

The fast descent drops us down to the turn on Bear Creek Rd for the next series of climbs around the Bears. This is a very popular local road with minimal to no traffic, wonderful pavement, wide shoulder areas and sweeping turns.

Mama Bear is 0.7 miles with a steady grade of 7% followed by two small humps before the descent to Briones. Papa Bear is 0.7 miles with a steady grade of 7% followed by a short hump before the fast sweeping descent on Pumphouse Grade. Baby Bear is a short steep climb of 9-11% grades up to the traffic light at the top of Bear Creek Rd.

We continue with a climb up Wildcat Canyon Rd; it’s 4 miles long under the beautiful canopy of trees with grades of 7-9% up to El Toyonal followed by gentler grades of 4-5% up to Inspiration Point. The road then slowly winds around the groves of eucalyptus trees out towards the Brazilian Bldg.

The next climb is on Shasta Rd; this is a short 0.2 mile steep hill with an average grade of 12.7% to the top at Golf Course Rd. Golf Course Rd is a short cut up to Grizzly Peak Blvd, it bypasses the bad road conditions along Wildcat Canyon around Tilden and the northern section of Grizzly Peak Blvd through the residential neighborhoods. The one mile stretch on Golf Course Rd drops down to Tilden Park Golf Course followed by a short steep pitch and another steep 7-10% climb up to Grizzly Peak Blvd.

The climb up north Grizzly Peak Blvd from Golf Course Rd up to the summit near S Park Rd is 1.4 miles with gradient ranges of 4-7%. Stop at the vista points to enjoy the awesome views of SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge! Be cautious on the descent-the road conditions are really horrible all the way to Claremont/Fish Ranch Rd. Grizzly Peak continues up along the back ridge with gorgeous unobstructed city views!

The rolling terrain on Skyline Blvd goes along the residential neighborhoods of the Oakland Hills out to the Chabot Science Center, through Joaquin Miller Park and up to the summit at Roberts Park. The road quickly drops down to Joaquin Miller Rd at the traffic light; we take a left to stay on Skyline Blvd to Redwood Rd.

Redwood Rd down to Redwood Park is one of the most beautiful and fun descents in the Bay Area with its smooth pavement and sweeping turns-no braking is required all the way to Pinehurst Rd.  The climb up Redwood Rd begins on gentle terrain for the first few miles up to Bort Meadows and increases to gradient ranges of 5-8% up to the summit at Marciel Gate. The sweeping descent takes us down to our lunch stop at Willow Park Golf Course.

We continue on Redwood Rd into Castro Valley and take Heyer, Cull and Crow Canyon Rds to Castro Valley Blvd. Watch for traffic; the area around the I-580 interchange is pretty congested!

The turn on Palo Verde Rd takes us off the main road to the 5.1 mile climb on Palomares Rd up to the summit and back. The first few miles of gentle rolling terrain on this quiet back road rolls through the many horse ranches and residential homes along the wooded canyon.

The longer steep sustained mile climb begins after the narrow bridge creek crossing at mile marker 4.05 with grades of 7-8%; it steadily increases to grades of 9-11% as you reach mile marker 4.74 and maxes out at 13% as you approach the summit at the yellow right arrow sign. Take time to catch your breath and turn around for the fast slingshot descent down Palomares-it’s fast!

We take Palo Verde Rd back to Castro Valley Blvd and continue through the I-580 underpass for the climb up Eden Canyon Rd. The rolling terrain on this 2.2 mile quiet less traveled road leads to a dead end at a horse and cattle ranch. We simple reverse our way back out of the canyon to Dublin Canyon Rd.

Dublin Canyon Rd parallels I-580 and gently heads east to the city of Dublin; the descent drops down to Foothill Rd which is across from the Stoneridge Shopping Center. I get a flat on the descent and Michael quickly helps me change out the tube within 5 minutes!

The last 30 miles of this route goes along the busy city streets of Dublin and San Ramon to Greenbrook Dr. This road goes along the residential neighborhoods of San Ramon out to Sycamore Valley Rd and continues on Old Orchard Rd to Camino Tassajara. To avoid the heavy traffic on Danville Blvd, we take the back roads through the Roundhill Country Club neighborhoods and make our way around Alamo to Rudear Rd into Walnut Creek.

We hop onto the Iron Horse Trail from S Broadway and Newell Ave and continue on the Contra Costa Canal Trail back to Martinez. Our usual way back from the trail to Holiday Highlands Park is on Center Ave to Glacier Dr over to Arnold Dr and Fig Tree Ln.

It was another fun hot day on the bike with plenty of climbing and plenty of stops for ice and water; the good thing about urban riding is that there are many places to stop for food, water, ice and restrooms! Another plus is the ability to do this ride just by leaving my front door-no drive time is required, I like that!

Garmin Stats:
100.30 Miles with 7890′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1562′

Weather: GREAT! Sunny and HOT with mild SW winds. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the low 100’s

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Life is a one time offer, use it well.
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