GPC Century Prep Ride #5 – Norris Canyon & Redwood Loop

Sunday, April 10, 2011

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Today’s Century Prep ride meets up at the Orinda BART parking lot. The group exits the lot and continues through Orinda via Moraga Way.

The turn on Glorietta takes us onto Rheem Blvd. The climb up Rheem is about one mile long with an average grade of 4.5%, it maxes out at 9-10% as you near the top. The reward is the fast descent into Moraga.

We continue on Moraga Rd to St Mary’s Rd for the next 4.7 miles. Once you pass St Mary’s College, the road narrows with no shoulder area. It’s a slight downhill with a few short climbs in between. We turn on Moraga Rd into Lafayette.

We take Moraga Blvd and turn on Hawthorne to hop on the bike path to Olympic Blvd.  There is a brief stop at the Tice Valley Community Center. Water and restrooms are available.

There is a short steep hill on Tice Valley to Crest Ave. The rollers on Crest drops us down on Hillgrade to Danville Blvd.

The next 4+ miles on Danville Blvd to Railroad Ave is completely flat. We continue on San Ramon Valley Rd to our next turn on Norris Canyon.

We stay on Norris Canyon for 4.6 miles. The 1.8 mile climb on Norris stair steps; the first section is steep and maxes out at 16%, the road then levels a bit before you hit the next section; the grade ranges from 8-9% as you near the top.

It’s a fast descent down Norris to Crow Canyon Rd. There is quite a bit of traffic on Crow Canyon, you have to be on full alert mode; there is no shoulder area for bikes!

Michael and I decide not to go into Castro Valley for lunch with the main group and opt to make a brief stop at Willow Park Golf Course instead. There is a steep climb up Heyer Ave and another climb up Redwood “wall” before we reach the golf course. Water and restrooms are available.

We continue on Redwood Rd for the next 7.5+ miles. The climb is around 3+ miles long with an average gradient of 4% with some sections hitting 6-7%. The road levels off as you reach Marciel Gate; from there, it’s a series of descents and rollers. Once you pass Bort Meadow, it’s a nice sweeping descent all the way to the intersection with Pinehurst Rd.

The next climb on Pinehurst Rd is about 1.5 miles with an average grade of over 3%. The gradient increases to about 8-9% as you approach the top near Pinehurst Gate. The descent has a series of very tight turns on a narrow road. Be careful!

We continue on Canyon Rd and take Moraga Way back to Orinda BART.

Thanks to Elia, Nancy, Debbie and Estella for leading!

~30 people in attendance with one tandem

52 miles with 3373′ of elevation gain

Weather: GREAT! Sunny and breezy. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to mid 60’s.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>KEEP RIDING!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>