Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pinehurst-Skyline-Grizzly Peak-Wildcat-Bears-Pig Farm

This was Rick's idea for a ride with some variety. I happened upon blog reader Chris on the Canal Trail; he was headed for Sunol and hoping to pick up some company along the way. Rick, JB, and I met in Walnut Creek and headed through town to the Lafayette Trail. Rick reported the temp as 48°F but it would be getting pretty warm by the end of the ride. JB's more sensitive to the cold so he had on tights, arm warmers, and a vest; Rick and I just had shorts and armwarmers.

Roadkill Observation: A huge stinky coon carcass on Olympic Blvd.

The Lafayette-Moraga Trail is definitely one of the nicer ones around in terms of scenery.

And it's always longer than I remember.
At the end of the Trail, we worked our way west and into the hills. I wonder how many people live here their whole lives and never see Canyon. By the time we hit the bottom of Pinehurst we'd been riding for an hour so we were warmed up, but it was still cold. The Pinehurst climb is surely one of the Bay Area's finest, but it's not very long. There's a section in there that's one lane because of a mudslide, hadn't seen that before.
Roadkill Observation: a deer, picked clean to the bones but they left the hooves.
When we got to Skyline we munched our snacks and then headed North. Then Grizzly Peak and all those rolling hills - that's really some great riding and great scenery.
And you get views like this!
And then down the steep South Park Drive in Tilden; it was closed to traffic for the newt migration but I'm pretty sure they don't mind bikes - this is one of the few places I've hit 50mph, but not today. At the bottom Rick said he had to "get rid of his hot chocolate"... I wasn't sure if that meant number one or number two but there's a nice restroom there. Tilden's a nice place to ride but there's more traffic so you usually can't really rip it. And the descent down Wildcat is always a blast. We saw big groups of riders coming up too and there was also a club time trial going on.
And then - the Bears... all of them. That first one from San Pablo Ave just goes on forever, then lets up for a bit and climbs some more. I started to get a little crampy on this bit so I held back some; it was also nice and warm by now. JB stopped at the Briones entrance to strip off some clothes and Rick stayed with him; I kept going thinking they'd be right behind me but I was solo over the last couple miles all the way to Alhambra Valley Road when Rick caught me. Then we pulled over to wait for JB in a driveway... at the bottom of... THE PIG.

Pig Farm Hill is one of those East Bay institutions; I've never met a rider who didn't know it. It's really a fun little climb but it always seems to come when your legs are about finished. We joked that there are three segments: ouch, OUCH, and OUCH!

No more pigs, the current owner seems to be an antique truck buff... and doesn't like trespassers.

Then a quick jaunt through the outskirts of Martinez and Pleasant Hill (more rollers) and we were back.
Yet Another Road Kill Observation: an opossum pancake.


Curtis Corlew said...

Sounds epic.
Living in Antioch there aren't nearly as many good rides from out the door.
I've never done the Berkeley Hills. Gotta do it sometime.

Keith said...

Nice shots of some of the ride features, Scott. I must say doing that ride in reverse is somehow harder... climbing South Gate Drive in Tilden Park after pig farm, the bears and Wildcat Canyon will WASTE you!

Keep it up!