Since it was going to be a hot 90+ day, I was wearing my Camelbak, but it was leaking on the way the short ride from my house to the lake, so much so that by the time I arrived, my ass was soaked. I tried to fix the bladder, but I couldn’t find the problem and the thing leaked all the way Sunol when it was empty. I just bought a replacement for the original bladder that was leaking. Damn thing.
I was really looking forward to the Calaveras ride because the routs heads south into a place I’ve never been, the area between Sunol and Milpitas. There were probably about 100 riders at the Lake when we departed at 8:20. The sun was already out and the Canadian Geese were lounging everywhere in the grass.
The ride starts with one of my favorite ascents up to Skyline-Wildwood & Butters Canyon. It’s not a very difficult grade, maybe 4% tops, and the roads wind around palatial homes in the Oakland hills up to Skyline Blvd. It’s just really pleasant.
From Skyline, we glide down Redwood Rd., again a great descent because it’s very straight and not very steep. There was a freshly killed opossum on the far side of the road and I wanted to stop and take a pic, but I was going too fast.
Redwood bottoms out and then the rolling climbs begin. Nothing too tough. Finally, there’s rather speedy descent into Castro Valley for the first rest break.
Out of CV we head east up and down the Dublin Grade. It’s a really easy climb and the road down is so smooth and straight, it’s no trouble to hit 40+ MPH. After a short regroup at the little powerstation at the bottom, we head south on the leafy Foothill Dr past Pleasanton homesteads and golf courses and into Sunol, the tiny whistle-stop town where we had a lengthy break at the general store.
The sun was starting to bear down now. It was around 11am with the mercury hovering around 90. We were heading south into some pretty unforgiving territory. After a Gatorade and a popsicle, and about a 40 minute break, we headed out towards Calaveras Rd.
It was really hot. No shade. It had been drinking lots of water, so I was going to be fine. But it wasn’t very nice. The climb up Calaveras is not tough at all. It might be 3 percent on a nice curvy road. But the road is crap, full of pebbles and pieces of gravel which I was constantly having to knock off my front tire lest I get a flat. Then my right knee started to really bother me.
I’ve had some knee troubles on longer rides in the past, but it’s never really been disabling—just sort of nagging. This time, it felt like someone was driving a railroad spike through my patella. I had to clip out my right foot and ride along with just my left. Since the grand wasn’t all that demanding, it wasn’t that big of deal—just annoying.
The last 8 miles when we turn out of Milpitas and head north up to Fremont, we just sheer misery. The road is just terrible, flat and boring. Tons of cars and street lights. 95 degrees. It was terrible. Early in the day, I had thoughts of riding the 35 miles back to the lake, but now, I was so beat up, I just wanted to get on BART on get on home. I did manage to stop at Raley’s to grab a roast beef and horseradish sandwich for the ride home.
Ride Time 5:09:59
Max Speed 41.7
Average Cadence –
Here’s the route map:
and the profile: