Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak, Wildcat, The Bears, and Pig Farm - 56 miles
When we want to do something different and challenging this is our preferred loop. It’s an East Bay institution that most riders in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are familiar with. Nicole, Rick, JB, and I met up in Walnut Creek and I was the only one who didn’t have any cold weather gear; everyone else had arm warmers and vests or jackets. We rode the trails to Moraga where we caught Canyon Road. Starting here we started to see a lot of other riders with club jerseys from Cal, Berkeley Bicycle Club, Delta Peddlers, Valley Spokesmen, and Oakland Yellow jackets. Just before the big climb up Pinehurst in fact, we saw a huge pack of BBC riders going so fast and tight that I wondered if there were a road race going on.
JB decided to give Rick and me a big lead out and he pulled us really fast for a couple of miles before the climbing up Pinehurst started, he was either feeling really good or really nuts. I slowed way down to recover a bit before the climb and didn’t push it too hard because it was still early in the ride. We hung around at the intersection with Skyline for a while and watched dozens of people ride by in different directions; I hardly ever see this many riders on Mt. Diablo.
Heading down Skyline we missed the turn to Grizzly Peak Road and descended about half way down Tunnel Road before we realized it. It only added about 10 minutes to our ride but Nicole got pretty frustrated and decided she needed to quit early so when we got back to the Grizzly Peak intersection she went back down toward Pinehurst as the fastest return to her car. So now JB and Rick and I were going to have a hammerfest through Tilden (hit 48mph on South Park), down Wildcat (where we saw the Diablo Cyclist group ride coming up), and on to the Bears. We stopped at Briones for a water refill and Rick realized he had lost the screw top to his bottle! I loaned him one of mine but he filled up his topless one also figuring it would only spill on big bumps or steep climbs! We saw a lot of other riders along this section also, including a tandem that was SCREAMING down Papa Bear.
Pig Farm was… well, Pig Farm. It had started to get pretty warm by this time so it was everything I always remember Pig Farm being (hot and steep). From then on we all took turns attacking each other over the rolling hills through Martinez and back to Walnut Creek. Rick said his altimeter had recorded just over 4,000 feet of climbing in just under 50 miles. He noted that if we did it twice it would be like a century with 8,000 feet of climbing and that would be a tough century, and he was right.
Product Review: That Accelerade stuff is a lot better on a long ride than a short one. I don’t think it does much for me on Mt. Diablo but it did seem to provide some boost on Bear Creek Road. I think I’ll save the rest of my can for longer, tougher rides and then decide if I’ll buy any more based on those results. For most of my riding, Cytomax is hard to beat.
Later in the day I hooked up the kiddie trailer to my Rockhopper and pulled my daughter a (flat) mile and a half to the park – my legs complained the whole way!
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