North Contra Costa Loop

Saturday, October 3, 2015

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This ride goes for a clockwise loop around North Contra Costa County. It heads south on Taylor Blvd for a climb up Deer Hill to Happy Valley followed by a roll along San Pablo Dam Rd into El Sobrante. Ride through Pinole Valley into Pinole and Rodeo before climbing up Cummings Skywy to Franklin Canyon.

Go up Arnold Dr and cross over Hwy 4 on Glacier Dr to Center Ave and Vine Hill Way. Morello Ave goes through the residential neighborhoods from Martinez to Pleasant Hill.

Head south on Taylor Blvd; this busy main thoroughfare is a very utilitarian way to get from Pleasant Hill down into Lafayette with great pavement and wide shoulder areas. At Grayson Rd, Taylor Blvd gradually ascends with gentle grades of 3-5% up towards Dinosaur Hill Park before dropping down to the stop light at Withers Ave.

Taylor levels out for the next half mile plus towards the Pleasant Hill Rd interchange and kicks up to 7-10% grades for the 0.7 mile climb up to the traffic light at Rancho View Dr.

Descend Pleasant Hill Rd into Lafayette for the climb up Deer Hill Rd; it’s a steep 0.2 mile climb up to the top of the ridge with gradient ranges of 14-16%!

Enjoy the ridge top views!

Deer Hill Rd runs parallel to Hwy 24 and drops down on rolling terrain towards the Lafayette BART station and the Cross Memorial to Happy Valley Rd.

Happy Valley Rd gently climbs up through an upscale Lafayette neighborhood for the first 2.2 miles.

At the switchback off White Pine Ln the road tilts up with an average grade of 8.9% for the next 3/10th of a mile to Sundown Terrace.

Sundown Terrace drops down through the residential neighborhoods in Orinda on Dalewood Dr to Lombardy Ln and Miner Rd. Miner Rd winds down through Sleepy Hollow pass the Orinda Country Club to Camino Pablo.

The road name changes to San Pablo Dam Rd as you cross Wildcat Canyon/bear Creek Rd. The rolling terrain takes you along the west edge of San Pablo Reservoir up to its main entrance.

Descent into El Sobrante to Castro Ranch Rd.

Castro Ranch climbs up through the Carriage Hills neighborhood to the summit at Sobrante Ridge.

The straight shot descent from Castro Ranch Rd opens up to spectacular views of Alhambra Valley!

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Turn left onto Pinole Valley Rd takes you through Pinole‘s residential neighborhood and shopping centers towards San Pablo Ave.

Continue on San Pablo Ave out to Hercules and onto Parker Ave into Rodeo. This section of the route has lots of traffic going in and out of the shopping centers and certainly around the I-80 freeway interchanges-use caution!

San Pablo Ave continues north with climbs up to the refineries and Cummings Skyway.

The climb on Cummings Skyway runs along Franklin Ridge with grades of 5-7% and one section with steeper pitches of 9-11%. Cummings Skywy to the traffic light at Crockett Blvd.

Cummings Skywy continues along the top of the ridge to Franklin Canyon Rd.

Descend Franklin Canyon to Alhambra Ave.

Turn right on Alhambra Ave to John Muir Rd and Vine Hill Way. Return on Center Ave to Glacier and Arnold Dr.

This semi urban-rural ride takes you along the busy city streets from Pleasant Hill, Lafayette and Orinda to El Sobrate before hitting to the back roads around our lovely local refineries between Hercules, Rodeo and Martinez.

Garmin Stats:
46.54 Miles with 3219′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 930′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Moderately hilly

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the mid 80’s with NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

North CoCo Loop

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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