Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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This century route heads SE through the urban city streets of Contra Costa for a ride along the quiet country back roads on Highland and Manning into Livermore. It continues up Altamont Pass Rd to the flats out to Tracy. The ride will cross I-580 for the signature climb up to Corral Hollow Pass. The return is through Pleasanton for a flat run on the Iron Horse Trail and Canal Trail back to Martinez.
We exit Holiday Highlands Park and meander through the city streets to Taylor Blvd in Pleasant Hill.
The Contra Costa Canal and Iron Horse Trails leads us through Pleasant Hill into Walnut Creek.
Danville Blvd takes us south for 4.6 flat miles through the cities of Walnut Creek and Alamo into Danville. The jog along Hartz Way, Laurel Dr and Brookside brings us to Sycamore Valley Rd; a main approach through the suburban neighborhoods of San Ramon.
Sycamore Valley Rd turns onto Camino Tassajara; this road continues east through the suburbs, shopping centers and outer neighborhoods of Blackhawk. Camino Tassajara takes us out towards the country through the unincorporated town of Tassajara with gorgeous views of yellow mustard covered hills-WOW! Old Orchards, open pastoral fields, horse facilities and cattle ranches dot the surrounding landscape below the contoured hills.
The turn on Highland Rd leads us into “horse country” with boarding and training facilities and ranches.
Mustard flowers are the main attraction here; the open meadows, rolling hills and pastureland are all aglow in yellow!
At the Y intersection, we stay on Highland for the short climb up and over into the valley. Grazing cattle and horses dot this beautiful idyllic country landscape .
Picturesque weathered old barns and old ranches add to the beauty of the land.
We cross the Contra Costa County line into Alameda County at Manning Rd. The flats on Manning and N Livermore take us out through the expansive Livermore Valley. We jog around the valley on May School to Dagnino and Raymond Rd.
The valley offers splendid views of the soft contoured hills and old ranches in its natural uncluttered landscape.
We make our way around the city streets of Livermore and continue out of town on Northfront Rd to Altamont Pass Rd.
The climb up Altamont Pass Rd west to the summit is 2.2 miles with an average grade of 2%. You’re at the top of Altamont when you see the Summit Garage.
The rolling descent on Altamont Pass goes through the wind farms out to Grant Line Rd.
The next 7.8 miles on Grant Line and Byron Rd take us pass the CA aqueducts and along the flats through the open agricultural fields and pastoral lands in San Joaquin County to Tracy.
Corral Hollow Rd from Tracy out to the I-580 crossing is 5 flat miles; it goes through the residential neighborhoods and runs south out of town pass the Municipal Airport to the open farmlands, orchards and expansive fields.
Corral Hollow Rd continues westward with views of the the golden Black Butte Mountains.
The flat gentle rolling terrain takes through the canyon with gorgeous valley and mountain views.
The lower section of the valley is scattered with a couple of cattle ranches.
Our lunch stop is at the Motomart at Carnegie SVRA; this park has nice clean restrooms with flush toilets and running water. At the Motomart, you can order the typical hot snack foods; hot dogs, chili & nachos and even a tri-tip sandwich. Cold drinks and other snack food are available too.
We exit Carnegie and continue west on Corral Hollow Rd; from the road, you can hear and see the motorbikes heading up the trails around Carnegie Ridge. Corral Hollow changes to Tesla Rd as we stay along the canyon floor through a ranching community to the base of the climb up to Corral Hollow Pass.
The climb up to the summit begins at mile marker 10.05; it’s 1.9 miles with an average grade of 7.5%.
At the upper sections, the road continues to wind its way up to the top with steeper pitches of 11-12% grades.
On the ascent, don’t forget to check out the surrounding landscape and look back to see how far you’ve gone-you’re nearly at the top when you round the last set of guardrails.
Tesla Rd quickly drops down into the Livermore Valley through the horse ranches and training centers.
As you near the valley floor, the road opens up to spectacular views of the wineries and vineyards along Livermore Valley. Tesla Rd continues along the Livermore Valley Wine Trail to N Livermore Ave and Concannon Blvd.
Concannon Blvd takes us through the residential neighborhoods along the south end of Livermore to Vineyard Ave into Pleasanton.
We hop onto the Iron Horse Trail off Valley Ave at Busch Rd and make our way through the city streets of Pleasanton towards the Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station off Owens Dr.
At DeMarcus Blvd in Dublin, we get back onto the Iron Horse Trail and continue for the next 9.8 flat miles along the trail into San Ramon.
We weave around the streets of Danville and take Danville Blvd to S Broadway in Walnut Creek. At Newell Ave, we hop back onto the Iron Horse Trail towards Pleasant Hill and continue on the Contra Costa Canal Trail back to Martinez.
This is a fairly flat urban/country century with one significant climb. This route has many stops for snacks and water for the ride around the remote areas; it’s best to refuel before doing the east loop from Tracy to Livermore. Check it out- enjoy the bucolic country scenes from Contra Costa County to San Joaquin and Alameda Counties!
118.37 Miles with 3706′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1423′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Flat to rolling with one significant climb
Weather: Sunny and hot with temps ranging from the low 50’s to the high 80’s. SW to NW winds with 88% humidity.
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Follow this route for today’s ride: