Sunday, January 11, 2015
This semi urban/rural route heads south from Danville through San Ramon Valley for the climbs up Dublin Canyon and Palomares Rd. It descend Palomares Rd through Stonybrook Canyon to Niles Canyon Rd. The ride continues east along Niles Canyon into the town of Sunol for the out & back climb up Kilkare Rd to Kilkare Woods. Return north along the lower Dougherty Hills on Alcosta Blvd and El Capitan Dr to Osage Park.
I exit Osage Station Park and take Paraiso Dr to Camino Ramon; this frontage road runs along the west side of I-680 from Danville to Greenbrook Dr in San Ramon.
The next 7.5 flat-rolling miles on San Ramon Valley Rd goes through San Ramon and Dublin; the road name changes to San Ramon Rd as it enters Dublin and changes to Foothill Rd as it crosses over I-580 towards Pleasanton. These roads cut through the residential, business and commercial areas along miles and miles of shopping centers and strip malls.
The route turns right onto Dublin Canyon Rd; this is a frontage road that runs parallel along I-580 with minimal traffic and a wide shoulder area. The gentle 3-5% grades takes me up and over the canyon to Palo Verde Rd.
Palomares Rd is 9.7 miles long and stretches from Palo Verde Rd in Castro Valley to Niles Canyon Rd in Sunol. The gentle rolling terrain for the first couple of miles on this beautiful quiet back road takes you through the many horse ranches and wooded canyon along Palomares Creek.
From Pair A Dice Ranch to narrow bridge.
Once you cross the narrow bridge, you’ll come upon the steeper sustained climb up to the summit; it begins at mile marker 4.05 with grades of 7-8% and steadily increases to grades of 9-12% as you reach mile marker 4.74. It maxes out at 13% as you approach the turn at the yellow right arrow sign.
The descent on Palomares Rd goes through the gorgeous Stonybrook Canyon along the shaded creek; it’s a fast downhill with a few tight turns-beware of gravel and the short steep drop to Niles Canyon Rd.
Niles Canyon Rd east winds through the canyon along Alameda Creek for 4.2 flat-rolling miles to the town of Sunol. This high traffic road has several narrow bridge crossings and long sections with little or no shoulder. Ride with caution and watch traffic! The shoulder re-appears for about the last half mile towards Sunol. Be safe & be seen-I ride with the aid of a rear view mirror, run daylights-front & rear and wear bright colors. When I see a car coming up from behind, I always give a big wave to acknowledge their presence, in turn I usually get more than 3 feet when the vehicles pass. A little courtesy goes a long way!
The exit on Niles Canyon Rd into Sunol leads me to the train depot for a quick snack stop.
Kilkare Rd is an out & back climb from Sunol into the small community of Kilkare Woods; it’s a gentle 3.6 mile stretch of road with minimal to no traffic. The road has an average grade of 3.5% with steep pitches of 6-8%. Check out the Little Brown Church of Sunol, the historic stone mansion at Elliston Vineyards and the cute little blue fairy tale house as you wind your way up through the canyon.
Kilkare Rd up to the Kilkare Woods Home Assn sign.
The road continues to snake up along Sinbad Creek with the calming sounds of trickling water and views of homes nestled in the woods.
Kilkare Rd dead ends at Singalong Way near a trail head into Pleasanton Ridge Park-turnaround point.
Foothill Rd heads out of Sunol with a short climb up through the ranch homes followed by a rolling descent along Pleasanton Ridge Park.
The turn onto the path to Verona Bridge is easy to miss; the road exits the woodlands with a open view of the white fence line on the right, slow down and watch out for the center pole as you make the turn. The truss bridge crosses over the Arroyo de Laguna to Pleasanton Sunol Rd.
Pleasanton Sunol Rd north follows along the UP RR tracks to Castlewood Dr.
The road name changes to Sunol Rd as it curves underneath I-680 into Pleasanton.
Valley Rd is a gateway into a whole new subdivision area east of I-680; the road cuts through the flat valley with fantastic views of Pleasanton Ridge towards the fairgrounds.
I meander through the busy city streets of Pleasanton on Hopyard Rd and crossover I-580 onto Dublin Blvd; traffic can get fairly heavy on these main thoroughfares into the city of Dublin-for safety sake, the best way to navigate the left turns on these roads is to make them at the traffic lights on the crosswalks.
The wide boulevard on Village Pkwy winds through the business district to the residential neighborhoods in Dublin to Alcosta Blvd in San Ramon.
Alcosta Blvd goes along the lower Dougherty Hills on flat-rolling terrain to Crow Canyon Rd; the road follows the ridge pass the neighborhoods around the San Ramon Golf Club on the south end to the Canyon Lakes Golf Course at the north end.
The turn on Crow Canyon Rd leads up to El Capitan Dr; Crow Canyon is another busy road-make the left turn onto El Capitan at the crosswalk. El Capitan Dr winds along the neighborhoods around Crow Canyon Country Club before dropping down the hill into Danville.
Orange Blossom Way leads me back to Oasge Park on Brookside Dr.
Living in an urban area always involves riding through some busy city streets, this is no exception but it does help to hone your ability to deal with traffic. It’s not all bad-we have to get from Point A to B somehow. When you do get onto Palomares and Kilkare roads, it’s a whole different scene-you’ll enjoy the landscape and quiet climbs with minimal to no traffic.
55.10 Miles with 3000′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1102′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with a couple of steep climbs
Weather: Sunny and cool with mild winds. Temps ranged from the mid 40’s to the mid 60’s. NE winds with 76% humidity.
Follow this route for today’s ride: