Monday, May 12, 2014
This ride goes along Franklin Canyon Rd to the ridge top at Cummings Skywy for a sweeping descent on Crockett Blvd into Crockett. It goes up Pomona St to Carquinez Scenic Dr for the challenging steep climb on McEwen Rd followed by a sweet drop back to Franklin Canyon Rd.
We take the city streets of Martinez to Franklin Canyon Rd.
Franklin Canyon Rd runs 4.4 miles from the SE end at Alhambra Ave to the NW end at Cummings Skywy between Hwy 4 and the Franklin Hills. The road begins with a short little bump from under the Muir trestle up to the wall of colorful murals.
Franklin Canyon drops down through a small community with horse and cattle ranches, vineyards and residential farm houses and ranch type homes.
The terrain up through the wooded canyon has minimal to no traffic has an average grade of 2%.
The road does kick up to steeper grades of 6-8% for the last 0.4 mile to the top of Franklin Ridge at Cummings Skywy.
Cummings Skywy crosses over Hwy 4 and runs along the top of the ridge for 1.5 gentle miles to Crockett Blvd with great views of the soft rolling hills and west Contra Costa.
Crockett Blvd drops us down into the town of Crockett; it’s a fun sweeping descent on very smooth pavement with fabulous views of the old Carquinez cantilever bridge and the newer Zampa suspension bridge.
We head east on Pomoma St; it’s a 0.4 mile climb with an average grade of 5%. It goes up through the residential neighborhoods to the Veterans War Memorial.
Bush Hill is aglow with a carpet of wild yellow mustards!
Carquinez Scenic Dr drops down towards Port Costa with views of grazing cattle and open meadow hillsides.
At the intersection with Canyon Lake Dr, the road tilts up for a short section around the reservoir with views of Port Costa’s residential roof tops and of the surrounding hills. The road drops down very quickly to McEwen Rd; you have to shift to your lower gear before the immediate right turn!
The climb up McEwen is a grind-it can be broken down into three segments. The first 0.4 section is on a narrow stretch of two lane road with very steep grades of 12-15%!
The second part begins on the approach to the eucalyptus trees at the No Dumping sign; it’s a shaded 0.3 mile section with lesser grades of 9-11%.
The third section leads you out under from the canopy of trees to the open clearing with views of tree-lined ridge. It’s 0.6 mile to the summit with an average grade of 3%.
At the summit, the road drops down and over a small bump to the cattle ranch and steel barn.
McEwen Rd descends very smoothly around the sweet little bends and straightens out to the bottom at Franklin Canyon Rd.
We descend Franklin Canyon back to Alhambra Ave.
The flats on Alhambra Ave take us back to Vine Hill Way.
The climb up Vine Hill Way begins at the approach to the stop sign at Costanza Dr; it’s a short 0.2 mile with an average grade of 7.4%.
The slight jog on Morello takes us back on Vine Hill Way and Center Ave. We cross over Hwy 4 on Glacier and drop down Arnold to Fig Tree Ln.
I like to call this my back yard ride; it’s a short route with a decent amount of climbing that can be done in a couple of hours. You get a good ride in and still have time left in the day to do other things!
25.24 Miles with 1906′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 591′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Moderately hilly with one steep climb
Weather: Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 80’s. NE winds with 33% humidity.