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The first part of the ride goes along the east bay foothills out to Milpitas. It was great weather - not too hot, not too cold and the often-busy Fremont streets were very quiet at this hour (the sane people were sleeping :). I soon arrived at the first rest stop partway up Calaveras Road and was treated to some delicious homemade nutbread - yummy! The ride then continued up Calaveras Road. I've ridden Calveras a few times before, but not up the Milpitas side - its a lot steeper than the Sunol side! Thankfully the steep section isn't very long, and in short order I was cruising down the gently-sloping, winding road alongside Calaveras Reservoir. It was very pretty at this hour, with some mist hanging over the hills above the lake.
The second rest stop was in Sunol, and had more of the delicious homemade breads, which I happily availed myself of, then it was off for the boring part of the ride - the 28 mile stretch on Foothill/San Ramon from Sunol to Lafayette. Its nice for the first couple of miles before it arrives in Pleasanton, and the rest of the way its not particularly interesting at all. For a while, I was pacing a very tall fellow, but he kept blowing through red lights, so I stopped following him. Thankfully after 10 miles or so, I hopped on a paceline which really sped things up! The fellow at the head of the line pulled us along at 28MPH, and never fell back to let someone else lead - yow! This was the first time I'd ever ridden in a large'ish paceline, and boy was it nice. Another paceline blew past us at about 33MPH. A cyclist I was talking to later said that that line too was pulled the entire way by one person - a mutant no doubt (mutant: anyone who is much faster than me ;-)! We then climbed some gentle hills in Lafayette before getting to a not-at-all gentle hill near St. Mary's college in Moraga. This was one nasty hill. Many folks with double chainrings had to stop to rest and/or walk.
Lunch was at some community pool in Moraga, and was an uneventful affair of do-it-yourself sandwiches and minestrone soup. After eating and stretching out for a few, it was on to the gorgeous climbs up Pinehurst and Redwood. This is the same area as the Top Hat Classic goes on, but in the opposite direction. Lovely winding road through redwoods, then a nice climb next to some lake or another, then a ripping descent out to Castro Valley.
The fourth rest stop was at the intersection of Palo Verde and Palomares roads, an area I know very well, as that's where a lot of my weekday rides go. Someone was so kind as to allow the ride to use their front yard for a rest stop - very nice of them! I met up with the extremely tall fellow I had been pacing on Foothill and we chatted for a few. Turns out he's 6'8" and from Croatia. After yet more yummy breads, I headed out for the last climb, Palomares Road. I do this climb at least once a week in the other direction (which is easier), so at least I know well what to expect. This direction on Palomares takes one along some rolling hills for several miles before turning up steeply for the last 3/4 mile or so. Normally this wouldn't have been too terribly difficult, but I had over 90 miles in my legs already, so it was agonizing! Very sadistic of the Fremont Freewheelers to put this climb so late into the ride! After stopping at the top to catch my breath, the Croatian (I never did get his name) & I bombed down Palomares to Niles Canyon, then pacelined with one other fellow back to the finish at Logan High, where we got food and I picked up my T-shirt. It was then a short ride back home to collapse on the sofa :)
At 106 miles, this was my longest ride ever, and my first century of 2001. Overall, it was really excellent! The route was superb (except for the boring bit, but the paceline really helped things there!), the food was wonderful, the people friendly, and the weather lovely. Definitely a keeper!
|Total Time:||9h 5m|
|On-bike Time:||7h 32m|
|Total Climbing:||~4500 ft|
08 February, 2011
Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul
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