Del Valle Century

Saturday, July 13, 2013

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This is a leave from the “front door” urban century that heads south through the city streets of Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Lafayette to the flats on Danville Blvd. The route heads SE on Camino Tassajara to the outskirts of Dublin into Livermore Valley for the climb up and over to Del Valle Regional Park. The return north includes the gentle stretch of road on Collier Canyon out to Highland and Camino Tassajara to Blackhawk Rd. The last 20+ miles meanders through the residential neighborhoods of Alamo and Walnut Creek followed by the run along the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to the start.

We begin this ride by taking the city streets of Martinez to the first climb up Taylor Blvd in Pleasant Hill.

Pleasant Hill Rd drops us down into Lafayette for the run into Danville on Olympic, Tice Valley, Crest and Hillgrade Rd. The flats on Danville Blvd lead us to the older Danville Square area of town to the back roads on Front, Hartz and Laurel Dr. This slight jog around avoids a bit of the heavier traffic and signal light on Hartz Ave and Hartz Way.

Sycamore Valley Rd heads east through the residential neighborhoods of San Ramon for a mile before it becomes Camino Tassajara. This road continues eastward towards the many subdivisions around Sycamore Valley and the gated community of Blackhawk.

Camino Tassajara heads south on flat terrain through the unincorporated town of Tassajara; this section of road has fast moving traffic with little to no shoulder area-be cautious!

Once you pass Windemere Pkwy, the road conditions improve greatly to the standard smooth subdivision pavement that we all like. Fallon Rd climbs up towards the far eastern edge of Dublin and drops down on El Charro Rd onto the I-580 overpass with gorgeous views of the whole valley!

The road opens up with wide lanes as we turn onto Jack London Rd; this is the newer developing part of Livermore that is home to Paragon Premium Outlets-a shopper’s paradise it seems!

Jack London Rd continues along the flats through the open fields with grazing horses and paddocks and freshly cut hay neatly stacked near the Livermore Municipal Airport.

We meander through the city streets of Central Livermore on Murietta to Holmes for a tour around the vineyards of south Livermore Valley on Wetmore, Arroyo and Marina Ave. This is a very scenic horseshoe route that cuts back over onto Concannon with beautiful views and minimal to no traffic. You can even hop onto the multi-use trail all the way out to Concannon and Livermore Ave.

From Concannon, you’ll notice the recently repaved sections of road on Livermore Ave and Tesla Rd to Mines; even the multi-use trail has been redone-it’s smooth!

The flats on Mines Rd take us to the base of the climb up Del Valle Rd to the Regional Park.

Del Valle Rd is a 1.6 mile climb with a steady 7% grade on a road with full sun exposure and no shade.

The summit is apparently a great spot for people to fly their RC gliders up, down and around the canyon.

The descent on Del Valle takes you through the entrance into the park; we stay on Del Valle and cross the bridge over the lake for lunch at the Westside Beach Area. There is a concession stand with restrooms nearby.

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We turn around and exit the west side back up to the pay station for the steady 1.3 mile 6.5% climb to the summit.

 

I stop briefly at the top to take in the stunning views of Livermore Valley with Mt Diablo in the background-WOW!

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There’s a side road; Mendenhall Rd that looks pretty flat so we decide to ride out to explore what’s over and around the bend. The road goes on for half a mile to a cattle guard crossing with a “KEEP OUT” Private Property sign posted-that’s my turn around sign. The mountain views of the canyon and chaparral covered hills from the ridge are amazing-you can even see Mines Rd from here!

 

We descend Del Valle Rd back to Mines, Tesla and Livermore Ave. We stay on S Livermore through the downtown area out to N Livermore for the turn on Portola Ave.

Portola Ave crosses over I-580 heading north towards Las Positas College and the new Livermore hills subdivisions to Collier Canyon Rd.

Collier Canyon Rd is a quiet county back road that runs through many old cattle and horse ranches and farms with battered, weather barns. The hills are dotted with grazing cattle and horses along with some goats and llamas. The long horns are keeping cool by lying under the little bit of shade of a single tall tree.

This area looks like some massive cleanup effort was done recently-all the old junk and rusted broken equipment has been taken off some of the surrounding properties and the tall grasses and fields have been meticulously trimmed back! The gentle flat rolling terrain goes on for 4.8 miles through this idyllic scenery up to the top at the old windmill water tower.

We descend Collier Canyon and head west on Highland Rd to Camino Tassajara. Camino Tassajra leads us back along the south side of Blackhawk to the intersection at Crow Canyon Rd.

The short climb on Blackhawk Rd goes along the west edge of the Blackhawk community to Green Valley on Diablo Rd. The lawns and trees are meticulously landscaped and the streets are very clean with no debris!

Michael is Roundhill’d out-so we take a slightly different route back to Walnut Creek via Miranda to Livorna to Danville Blvd to Rudgear. We avoided the whole Roundhill golf course area! We hop onto the Iron Horse Trail at S Broadway & Newell and continue on the Canal Trail back to Martinez. The city streets of Center, Glacier, Arnold and Fig Tree bring us back to Holiday Highlands Park-FINISH!

It was great to be able to get out and explore a different road; I’ve never been to Del Valle Park and it was quite a treat! The lake area is heavily used by everyone who likes water; from the campers, boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders to the basic beach loungers and sun bathers!

This route can easily be shortened by starting directly from Livermore or even Pleasanton. Take the time and check it out! Spring would be a better time of year to climb up Del Valle-the hills and mountains would be all green!

Garmin Stats:
102.76 Miles with 5299′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1323′
Max grade: 9%

Weather: SUPER! Sunny and HOT with SW winds. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the mid 100’s

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At one point in your life you either have the things you want or the reasons why you don’t.
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