Morgan Territory-Dublin Hills Century

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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Today’s century heads SE to Clayton for a ride on Morgan Territory Rd to Livermore. It continues west along the valley into Dublin for the climb up to the Dublin Hills Regional Park at Schaefer Ranch. The return north meanders around the city streets of Dublin on Amador Valley Rd, Dougherty and Alcosta Blvd to San Ramon. The ride concludes with a easy 8 miles along the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to Martinez.

From Holiday Highlands Park, we make our way to the Canal Trail from Center Ave, Vine Hill and Morello to Taylor Blvd. The Canal Trail heads SE for 7.5 miles through Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek out to Treat Blvd in Concord. Getting onto the trail is a great alternative to riding through the busy city streets during the early morning commute hours.

The short climb up Treat Blvd takes us pass the golden hillsides of Lime Ridge to the desirable Turtle Creek neighborhood near Newell Community Park. Some of the trees lining the streets are already showing some fall colors. The next few turns on Ayers, Brook Hollow and Alberta Way takes us across Ygnacio Valley Rd to Pine Hollow Rd.

Pine Hollow is a nice back road through Clayton Valley to Old Downtown Clayton on Main St. We make a quick stop at The Grove; this is a well maintained park with a playground and picnic area.

We continue on Marsh Creek Rd through the residential neighborhoods situated at the foothills of Mt Diablo. To me, it’s quite amazing to have views of Mt Diablo right from the doorstep! The road leads out of the subdivisions to the acreage horse ranches and Clayton Valley Pumpkin and Christmas Tree Farm.

The stair step climb on Marsh Creek Rd up to Divide Reservoir is a little over a mile with gradient ranges of 7-10%. There is no shoulder area and fast moving vehicles-be cautious! The fast sweeping descent drops us to the turn onto Morgan Territory Rd.

Morgan Territory Rd is home to many horse ranches and larger estate type ranch homes with lots of open space.

The Morgan Fire originated off Morgan Territory Rd on 09/08/13 and burned for six days before firefighters were able to have it fully contained. The raging brush fire charred the eastern slopes of Diablo in steep areas of brush, trees and chaparral higher up on the mountain towards the summit. You can see the fire damage as you make your way up the road.

The climb on Morgan Territory Rd up to the Regional Preserve is a beautiful quiet 9.2 miles; the  two-lane road begins on gentle rolling terrain for about 3.8 miles along the many horse ranches and stables, farms, larger ranch homes and open space through Black Hills.

The road changes to a single narrow lane road as it winds its way along the rocky dry Marsh Creek with several narrow creek crossings. The road travels under the shaded canyon with grades of 5-8%. As you near the switchbacks, the pitches get steeper with grades of 9-15%!

We make a quick water & pit stop at the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve Staging Area.

We continue on Morgan Territory Rd for the last climb up to the summit. The road levels out at the top of the ridge as you pass through the open space, horse & cattle ranches and residential homes.

The gorgeous sweeping descent down into Livermore can get very fast-watch for the tight turns and blind curves. The views of the valley below are spectacular!

We cross over the Alameda county line into Livermore onto Manning and N Livermore Rd. The flat terrain goes through the expansive valley floor and pastoral fields. This idyllic back country is dotted with grazing cattle, old ranches and barns.

We weave our way through the residential neighborhoods of Livermore to Northfront Rd. This road parallels I-580 to Altamont Pass Rd. A group of LLNL cyclists can be seen coming from the opposite direction heading out on their lunch ride.

The gentle 2.2 mile stretch on Altamont Pass Rd takes us by the Club Moto Motocross tracks to the train trestle and up towards the wind farms and Carroll Rd.

The climb up Carroll Rd towards the truck stop area is 1.2 mile with an average grade of 8.75%. The road crosses over I-580 onto Flynn Rd N.

The rolling terrain on Flynn Rd N winds around the top of the ridge through the wind farms and a couple of ranches.

The descent drops down onto Patterson Pass Rd with with fantastic views of the Livermore Valley!

The 3.8 mile stretch on lower Patterson Pass Rd exits the valley into Livermore through the Business Industrial Park area to the residential neighborhoods.

We take Mines Rd to the shopping center on First St for our lunch stop at Safeway.

For the second half of this ride, we head west along the flats through Livermore Valley on Portola to E Jack London Blvd. E Jack London Blvd exits town out to the open valley by the Livermore Municipal Airport, horse facilities and the newly opened Livermore Premium Outlets.

We take the I-580 overpass on El Charro Rd to Dublin Blvd. This road runs 7.1 miles along the edge of Dublin and Pleasanton through the busy shopping centers and commercials districts. The climb on Dublin Blvd has grades of 6-9% with steeper pitches of 10-12%. The road dead ends at the new urban development at Schaefer Ranch near Dublin Hills Regional Park. Take the time to enjoy the great views of the valley and the surrounding Dublin Hills from the top of the ridge!

We descend Dublin Blvd to San Ramon Rd and head east on Amador Valley Rd for a short little tour around Dublin’s business district to the residential neighborhoods up around Dougherty Hills.

Old Ranch Rd takes us up and over to Alcosta Blvd into San Ramon with fabulous views of Amador Valley.

We head north on Alcosta Blvd through the golf course and subdivisions below Dougherty Hills to San Ramon Valley. The road ends at the intersection at Crow Canyon Rd.

Crow Canyon takes us immediately to the next turn onto Crow Canyon Pl; this road becomes Camino Ramon and runs along I-680 to Sycamore Valley Rd. During commute hours, this road can get busy with people in cars rushing to get to work or returning home.

We hop onto the Iron Horse Trail from Sycamore Valley and take the flats on Danville Blvd all the way into Walnut Creek. From there, we hop onto the Iron Horse and Canal Trails back to Martinez.

Thanks to Wyatt for a great tandem ride and for blocking most of the winds all day long!

Garmin Stats:
100.00 Miles with 4947′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1997′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Hilly

Weather: GREAT! Sunny, warm & breezy with temps ranging from the low 50’s to the mid 70’s. W winds with 77% humidity

Miles are miles and they’re all good.

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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