Tuesday, September 30, 2014
This route goes around some of the back roads of Central CoCo County from Martinez to the Lamorinda area of Orinda, Moraga and Lafayette. Climb east Pig Farm Hill to Mama Bear and Happy Valley Rd before dropping through the Sleepy Hollow and Country Club neighborhoods in Orinda. The ride heads south on Moraga Way into Moraga and returns north on Moraga Rd into Lafayette for a jaunt through Reliez Valley.
The short climb up Arnold Dr takes us over Hwy 4 on Glacier Dr to Center Ave. Vine Hill Way drops us down onto John Muir Rd to Alhambra Ave.
The turn on Alhambra Valley Rd goes pass John Swett Elementary School and the residential neighborhoods along Alhambra Creek.
Alhambra Valley Rd continues west on flat terrain through a small residential community with front yard vineyards, orchards, and acreage homes.
After passing Deer Creek Dr, the two lane road narrows as it continues through the wooded Vaca Canyon for the next couple of miles; the rolling climbs leads up to the base of east Pig Farm Hill.
The climb up east Pig Farm Hill begins at the orange left turn sign; the half mile stretch up to the summit has gradient ranges of 7-8% followed by a fast descent into the valley.
The first 1.6 miles on Bear Creek Rd goes through the “horse country” around Briones with a concentration of horse ranches, farms, training facilities and stables.
The half mile climb up Mama Bear has gradient ranges of 7-8%; you can catch a glimpse of Briones Reservoir as you roll over the top of Lawson Hill.
Mama Bear continues ascending over a few more humps before descending into Briones Valley to Happy Valley Rd.
Happy Valley Rd is a utilitarian back road with access into Lafayette and Orinda. This quiet narrow single lane road begins with a gentle half mile climb under the shaded woodlands.
At the hairpin turn, the road kicks up dramatically for the next 0.6 mile with steep 10-13% grades; it winds up through the canyon to the summit at the steel guardrail.
We descend Happy Valley to Sundown Terrace and continue dropping through Orinda’s Sleepy Hollow and Country Club neighborhoods on Dalewood and Lombardy Ln to Miner Rd. Miner drops down along Lauterwasseer Creek and exits onto Camino Pablo. Currently there is a lot of road work around this residential area-expect delays.
Camino Pablo takes us SE pass the Orinda BART and name changes to Moraga Way as it crosses under Hwy 24. The road heads SE on false flat terrain for about 2 miles before descending through Moraga Valley to the town of Moraga.
At the junction, we head north on Moraga Rd; this busy back road provides access to the Lamorinda area. Moraga Rd winds down on a narrow two-lane road from the upper valley into Lafayette.
We stop for lunch at Noah’s Bagel in the shopping plaza off Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette.
The ride out of the parking lot to Oak Hill Rd is the most dangerous part of this ride; this is a very busy shopping center! Oak Hill Rd climbs up and under Hwy 24 for a short distance to Deer Hill Rd.
Deer Hill Rd is a frontage road that runs parallel to Hwy 24; the road pitches up for a short steep 1/10th of a mile climb to the summit at Lafayette Ridge with 11-13% grades!
Enjoy the Mt Diablo and Briones Hills views!
Deer Hill Rd drops down on a very steep grade onto Pleasant Hill Rd; this is a fairly busy road-use caution and watch traffic on the turn to Reliez Valley Rd.
The gentle terrain on Reliez Valley Rd goes through the residential neighborhoods along the valley for the first 0.9 mile.
At the stop sign on La Caminita, the road kicks up for a steep 0.3 mile climb with gradient ranges of 10-13%!
The quick descent on Reliez Valley Rd leads us down through the valley neighborhoods pass the Queen of Heaven Cemetery and Oakmont Memorial Park off Grayson Rd.
Reliez Valley Rd continues on rolling terrain along the edge of the residential subdivisions bordering Pleasant Hill & Martinez to Briones Regional Park. The road ends at the junction with Alhambra Valley Rd.
At this point, we reverse our way on Alhmabra Valley Rd to Alhambra Ave and make our way up Vine Hill Rd to Morello, Center Ave and Glacier to Arnold Dr.
This half urban/rural ride around Central CoCo County has plenty of hills and thrills-come on out and try it!
41 Miles with 3356′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 932′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Hilly with a few steep climbs