Sunday, March 1, 2015
This ride heads south from Sunol for the gentle flat-rolling climbs along Sunol Regional Wilderness and Calaveras Reservoir on Calaveras Rd. Drop down into Milpitas and climb up the infamous steep Sierra Rd to the summit at Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. The rolling terrain on Felter Rd leads back to Calaveras Rd. Climb up the “Calaveras Wall” and return on north to Sunol.
Exit Sunol on Main St to Niles Canyon Rd and head south on Paloma Way to Calaveras Rd.
The first four rolling miles on Calaveras Rd takes you along Sunol Valley through several nurseries, a tree farm, an aggregate company and a water treatment plant.
The gentle beautiful climb up Calaveras begins after crossing the bridge over Welch Creek; the first 3.3 miles up to the false summit goes through the Sunol Regional Wilderness followed by a rolling descent towards the reservoir.
The rolling terrain leads to a short climb to the high point of Calaveras Rd at 1124′ into Santa Clara County.
Enjoy the views of Calaveras Reservoir!
The road continues to snake up and around the woodlands to the next summit at 1087′ with gorgeous vistas of Calaveras Valley.
The Calaveras Valley hills are a gorgeously green! The steep descent leads to the junction at Felter Rd.
Turn left onto Sierra Rd; this is a 3.6 miles ascent with an average grade of 10% and over 1800′ of elevation gain. The initial climb from Piedmont Rd stair steps to the top of a residential neighborhood in Milpitas. The gradient ranges from 12-14%, once you make that first left turn along the white picket fence, the gradient eases up a bit.
Catch your breath because the next switchback will have you getting out of the saddle for the 16-18% grade!
The climbing continues into the double digits as you proceed to go up and up. The gradient eases up a bit when you see the sign for Nola’s Iris Garden.
Keep going, the road continues to wind up Los Buellis Hills with a steady 10% grade and pitches of 11-12%!
The valley views are amazing!
Sierra Rd keep climbing…..
You’re at the summit when you see the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.
Stop and enjoy the phenomenal panoramic views of Alum Rock Park and Santa Clara Valley!
Sierra Rd descends along the back side of the ridge on a twisty, rolling, narrow road.
The views of Alum Rock Canyon from the back side are astounding!
The road name changes to Felter Rd as it continues on rolling terrain around Los Buellis Hills.
Felter Rd swiftly drops back onto Calaveras Rd for the right turn up “the wall”.
It’s really easy to miss; you need to slow down a bit when you see the intersection sign and shift to your lower gears before the turn. It’s an immediate quarter-mile climb of 13-15%!
The next 7 miles on Calaveras is really fun; it’s a series of rolling twisty turns that weaves in and out of the woodlands around the reservoir.
Climb back up to the false summit for the sweeping 3 miles descent towards Welch Creek Rd.
Calaveras Rd continues on flat-rolling terrain for the next 4 miles to Paloma Way. Take Main St back through Sunol for the return to the parking lot.
This hilly route takes you on the quiet country back roads from Sunol Valley to Calaveras Valley with magnificent views of Calaveras Reservoir. The climb up Sierra Rd is well worth the effort-the summit views at Sierra Vista are absolutely spectacular!
46.07 Miles with 4360′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1973′
Max grade: 17%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs
Weather: Plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 40’s to the high 60’s with brisk NE winds.
Follow this route for today’s ride: