The day got off to a really bad start. Delays on BART. They’ve jacked up their prices, reduced there service and they still have delays. It’s really a sad state of affairs for public transportation in the Bay Area.
Then it was cold. Below 50 when we departed from Concord BART around 9:25—late start because of the delay. There were about 25 cyclists assembled there. Only a handful from the Advanced group: Richard, Joe, Randy, Joan and Donelle. The rest were Humanes with some non-members thrown in for good measure. No intermediates.
So I had a tough decision. Hang with the big boys and have a tough quick ride or hang back with the Humanes and take it easy. I chose the former because I felt pretty and I wanted to test out my new drive train. It was a smart decision.
While I couldn’t keep up with the hammerheads the entire way up the climb, I did manage to hang in there from the Morgan Territory decent, which made for a fast, fun ride.
The new drive train (cogs, cassette and chain) worked like a dream. Shifting was smooth as silk. Gears were not slipping at all. And I didn’t have any of the power issues that have been plaguing me all year.
Morgan Territory is a beautiful long climb out east of Mt. Diablo. Home of massive houses, horse ranches and very cars. The narrow tree-lined road snakes up to 2000 feet over about 8 miles. It starts out gradual for the first half and then slowly builds with a serious of small terraces. There are a couple of 9% grinders, but nothing too bad. Now that the road has been re-paved, it’s really a dream climb. It felt fantastic when I arrived at the summit. I was behind Richard, Joe, Joan and Randy, but ahead of Donelle who usually leaves me in his wake.
At the top there was a large group of people out training search a rescue dogs. Maybe a dozen German Shepherds. I thought it was all very cool until I stepped in a pile of steaming soft dog shit that was hidden by the tall grass. The group waited somewhat impatiently while I used the spigot and a stick to remove the fecal matter from my cleats. Fucking nasty.
There’s a brief climb up to the real summit before the descending starts in earnest. For me it’s one of the scariest descents we do. The road is decent, but it’s so narrow and if a car is coming up the other way, there’s precious little room to pass. Plus there’s a 15% section that is downright frightening. On top of that, it was bitter cold. By the time I got to the bottom, I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes and my entire face was numb. it was miserable.
We waited for Richard was severely underdressed even with the newspaper he stuffed in his jersey back at Concord BART, he was still a popsicle on the descent.
Then we were in for a treat. Highland Road from Manning to Camino Tassajara is one of the prettiest we ride. Rolling hills wind through horse and ranch country. This time of year, everything is green. It’s just so idllyic. There’s a small shallow climb to the saddle and then a fun turny descent.
The rest of the ride is just about getting back to BART and getting home. Balckhawk, Danville, Alamo all go by in a blur as we pacelined up to Walnut Creek. We cranked out almost 19 miles in the third hour alone. It was nice to get done early, but the pace took a huge toll on my still fragile body.
Ride Time 3:07:49
Max Speed 38.5
Elevation Gain 3,058 ft
More detailed ride stats here:
Here’s the route map: