East Bay Four Bakery Century

Friday, September 6, 2013

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Another week another century. Who says you have to go to Marin/Sonoma counties for good bakeries? There are plenty of bakeries around the East Bay that deserves some attention too! For today, I’ve incorporated four bakery stops for this hilly urban ride; La Farine, Semifreddi’s, Fat Apple’s and Fournee. There are enough carbs and sweets to fuel you through all the climbs; Reliez Valley, Deer Hill, Hidden Valley, Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak, Barrett, Arlington, Spruce, Woodmont, Tunnel, Castro Ranch and Pig Farm.

We exit Holiday Highlands Park through the usual city streets to Alhambra Ave and Alhambra Valley Rd.

We continue south on Reliez Valley Rd for the entire 5.3 miles from Martinez to Lafayette along the outer east edge of Briones Regional Park. It begins on gentle rolling terrain and increases to an average grade of 7% for the last 9/10th of an mile with steep pitches of 10-11%!

The road drops us into Lafayette for the climb on Deer Hill Rd; it’s 3/10th of a mile up with an average grade of 11.5% and maxing out at 17%! At the top of the ridge, you are rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Diablo and the surrounding hills-WOW!

The descent on Deer Hill Rd follows along Hwy 24; pass the Cross Memorial and Lafayette BART station. We take Mt Diablo Blvd through downtown Lafayette out towards the Lafayette Reservoir to Acalanes Rd.

The climb up Hidden Valley Rd is 6/10th of a mile with an average grade of 6.5%. It leads us onto the St Stephens Trail off St Stephens Dr. From Orinda, we stay on Moraga Way for the 4.7 false flat miles into Moraga.

From Moraga, we make the short climb up Canyon Rd to Pinehurst Rd. Pinehurst Rd from Canyon Rd to the top at Skyline Blvd is 4 miles; lower Pinehurst follows an old railroad grade through the small town of Canyon. This is one of the most gorgeous roads around the East Bay hills with the San Leandro Creek trickling through the towering redwoods and dense brush! The last quarter mile up to Skyline is steep with gradients ranges of 9-12%!

The bad pavement on Skyline Blvd takes us through the residential neighborhoods around the Oakland Hills to Grizzly Peak Blvd. Grizzly Peak from Skyline to Marlborough Terrace is being repaved, let’s hope they also redo the worse sections from Marlborough Terrace all the way to Centennial Dr!

The climb up south Grizzly Peak Rd from Claremont to the top at Tilden Park Steam Train is 1.2 mile with an average grade of 5.3%. The road levels out for a short section followed by a very short pitch up to the top of the ridge.

The twisty descent on Grizzly Peak Blvd has a couple of very sharp left turns and the road conditions are very bad with lots of fissures and potholes-be cautious! The road stops at Centennial Dr and continues through the Berkeley Hills residential neighborhoods to Spruce St. We descend Spruce St to Los Angeles Ave down to the Marin Circle for our first stop at La Farine Bakery in Berkeley at the corner of Colusa Ave and Solano Ave.

Colusa Ave goes through the Thousand Oaks neighborhood to Colusa Circle in Kensington for our second stop at Semifreddi’s Bakery. Their artisan breads and pastries are sold in some of the local chain grocers and served at most of the café/restaurants in the East Bay. I’m riding with a rack on my bike so I can carry extra baked goods for later consumption.

From Colusa Ave, we drop into El Cerrito onto Fairmount Ave for our third stop at Fat Apple’s Bakery. This immediate stop is only half a mile away from Semifreddi’s-eat with caution!

We head NW on Ashbury Ave to Richmond St, these city back roads takes us pass El Cerrito High through the residential neighborhoods to Key St in Richmond.

The climb up Barrett Ave is 9/10th of a mile up to Arlington Blvd with an average grade of 8.1%. Arlington Blvd drops down towards Cutting Blvd and begins to tilt up with gradient ranges of 13-16% up to the Mira Vista Golf Course in El Cerrito. The road levels out from the golf course to the park followed by a small hump to the other side.

The descent on Arlington Blvd goes along the ridge through the residential neighborhoods of El Cerrito, Kensington and Berkeley. We’re back on the Marin Circle for the short climb up Los Angeles Ave to Spruce St. The gentle 1.3 mile climb on Spruce takes us up to Grizzly Peak Blvd and Wildcat Canyon Rd.

Woodmont Ave from Wildcat Canyon Rd is a steep half mile climb with grades of 12-13% up to Sunset Ln. We continue through the Berkeley Hills neighborhoods for the climb up north Grizzly Peak Blvd; it’s 1.6 mile with an average grade of 4.8% from Centennial Dr to the top near South Park Dr along Frowning Ridge. Do stop at one of the vista points to enjoy the SF Bay views!

The descent on Grizzly Peak Blvd to Claremont Ave is really bad-watch for all the ruts, potholes and the tight right hand turn near the bottom. The steep descent on Claremont is fast-watch your speed and watch for turkeys!

We arrive at our fourth stop at Fournee Bakery and Peet’s on Domingo Ave in Berkeley across from the Claremont Hotel. Do not leave your bikes unattended at this popular stop!

The climb up Tunnel Rd from Domingo up to the Hwy 24/Hwy13 interchange is 1.2 miles with heavy traffic. Watch for cars as you merge onto the center bike lane to continue on Tunnel Rd.

Tunnel Rd up to Grizzly Peak/Skyline Blvd is 3.2 miles with an average grade of 4.4%. This road winds up through North Oakland’s residential neighborhoods around the Berkeley Hills.

We head SE on Skyline Blvd; this road descends towards Huckleberry Preserve and levels out from the tri-intersection at Snake, Colton and Manzanita. The poor pavement has huge fissures and potholes all the way to Pinehurst and Shepard Canyon. Skyline continues on rolling terrain with grades of 6-9% to the neighborhood of Piedmont Pines and goes through the redwoods along Redwood Park and Joaquin Miller Park towards the Chabot Science Center. The descent on Skyline drops us down to the lower ridgeline at Joaquin Miller Rd. We hang a left to stay on Skyline to Redwood Rd.

The sweeping descent on Redwood Rd travels through the towering redwoods along Redwood Canyon and Redwood Regional Park. It’s a beautiful fun downhill with no braking required!

The climb up south Pinehurst Rd is 1.2 mile with a 5% average grade, there is a short steep pitch with grades of 9-10% on the approach to the top at Pinehurst Gate. The narrow twisty descent on Pinehurst has many blind turns-proceed with caution.

Canyon Rd takes us back to Moraga onto Moraga Way; the main road through the towns of Moraga and Orinda. We merge onto Camino Pablo and continue on San Pablo Dam Rd towards the reservoir to El Sobrante.

The climb up Castro ranch Rd takes us through the Carriage Hills neighborhood followed by a fast decent to Alhambra Valley Rd. The rolling terrain takes us along the quiet valley road to the climb up Pig Farm Hill.

Pig Farm Hill is a stair step climb up steep grades of 13-16% for the last half mile up to the top.

The rolling descent on Alhambra Valley Rd takes us down through Vaca Canyon along the north edge of Briones Park. We return to Holiday Highlands on the usual roads up Muir Station Rd, Center Ave and Muir Rd. Arnold Dr takes us back to Fig Tree Ln to the park.

Looping all the East Bay Hills in one ride is always a challenge, good thing we had four bakery stops to help us along the way!

Garmin Stats:
101.5 Miles with 9000′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1630′
Max grade: 16%
Terrain: Extremely Hilly

Weather: FANTASTIC! Sunny and hot with temps ranging from the high 40’s to the mid 90’s. SW winds with 88% humidity

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Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!

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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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2 Comments

  1. What is your pick from all these four bakeries around the east bay? Which one do you prefer and what is your favorite dessert that you pick from bakery? I would go for a chocolate moose pastry.

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