Jane's Impromptu Ride

Thursday, November 18, 2010
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For today, I fore go my workout at the gym and join Jane on her impromptu "decide & ride". This weekend's forecast calls for rain, so we're all trying to get some ride time in before then. We meet up at the corner of Spruce and Grizzly and the group decides to do the Pinehurst Loop. We head east on Wildcat Canyon Rd and drop down Camino Pablo into Orinda.
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**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image
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We continue on the recently repaved Moraga Way. It's a smooth ride all the way into Moraga for our pit stop at the gas station on the corner of Moraga Way & Canyon Rd.
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There are a few small climbs on Canyon Rd to Pinehurst.
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Pinehurst Rd is a little over 4 miles long from the intersection of Canyon up to Skyline. The first few miles are slightly flat with small rollers in between. Once you make the first left hairpin turn, the gradient increases to about 5% and it's pretty much a steady climb from there. The last quarter mile of this road steepens after the right hairpin turn along the guardrails. The gradient jumps to 9% and maxes out at 12%.
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The group breaks up after the climb on Pinehurst. Jane continues on Skyline as Jean waits for the other Jane to come up. I also choose to go on after Jane.
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Jane and I make a brief stop at Sibley for water and a quick bite of food. I inform Jane to not wait for me as I will be stopping here and there to take pictures. She rides on ahead. The views along Grizzly Peak Blvd are great! There is a huge rock on the side of the hill that looks like the head and face of a gorilla.
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The climb up Grizzly Peak from Claremont to S Park is about 1 mile long. The gradient hovers around 5-6% and eases up as you near the Steam Trains.
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After descending Grizzly, I decide to go down Golf Course Rd to Shasta Rd and back to Wildcat Canyon to climb South Park Dr. There's water and restrooms at the Botanic Garden.
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South Park Dr is closed from November 1 to March 31 for the seasonal newt migration. Apparently thousands of newts cross the road to reach Wildcat Creek for breeding. Closure of this road keeps the newt population thriving in this area. So watch out for the newts as you ascend and descend this road!
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The climb up this road stair steps and is about a 1.4 miles long. The first section starts off at around 6-8% grade. Once you reach Big Springs, the gradient jumps up to 10-14%. It eases up a bit around Laurel and kicks back up again around Owl. From there it's a steady 13-14% climb to the top. For the whole climb, I was the only person/cyclist on the road. It was very quiet and peaceful.
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I stop at the top of Grizzly to take in the views.
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After descending Grizzly, I do the short climb up Woodmont Ave. The gradient starts off at around 9% and maxes out at 13% near the top. I make a left on Sunset and drop back down Wildcat. I continue on Wildcat to Central Park Dr and make my way to the Nature Area. I use to take my boys down here when they were little and have forgotten how nice this area is. I take Canon Dr back up to Grizzly Peak. As you near the top of Canon, the gradient steepens and maxes out at 16%!
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I head down Spruce & Los Angeles and decide to do one more climb for the day. I head up Arlington after turning on the Marin Circle. The 4-5% climb up Arlington is very gradual and pleasant. I turn around at the golf course and head back down Arlington to Ardmore and take Coventry back to Santa Fe. The view up on Arlington is pretty nice too!
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Thanks to Jane for leading this impromptu ride. It was wonderful to be able to get out and ride on such a gorgeous day!
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4 people in attendance; Jane 1, Jane 2, Jean and myself.
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48 miles with 4941' of elevation gain.
I think this would qualify as a 5 rating on the GPC scale.
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Weather: Fabulous! Blue skies, sunny and cool. Temps ranging from the low 50's to the low 60's.

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