New Year's Eve Ride: Marshall Wall

Friday, December 31, 2010
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Click here to watch a video of today's ride. We hope you enjoy it!
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Today, we meet up on Miller Creek Rd in San Rafael for a New Year's Eve ride. Water and restrooms are available at the community park.
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I'm leading the group out to do the Marshall Wall loop to close out the year and to ring in the coming New Year. This is one of my favorite routes in Marin; there's something for everyone; flats, rollers, hill climbs, secluded roads and beautiful views of Tomales Bay. The ride is just about perfect, not too short and not too long. There's even a lunch stop!
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Michael's plan for today does not include riding in the COLD, so he is our SAG and photographer for the day. His itinerary also includes a hot breakfast of pancakes, eggs & bacon at the Pine Cone Diner in Point Reyes Station whilst the group is busy pedaling along Lucas Valley to Nicasio and the Cheese Factory.
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**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image
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Michael spots us on the climb up Marshall Wall.
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He also catches a rare sighting of GPC cyclists riding in a pace line; and all together at that! It looks pretty cool from a distance. We are heading south on Hwy 1 from Marshall to Point Reyes Station. We turn on Mesa Rd to take the back way to our lunch stop at the Bovine Bakery. The food of choice for many was a HUGE slice of pizza.
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We continue on Pt Reyes-Petaluma Rd to Nicasio Valley Rd. There is a brief regroup in Nicasio.
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We head up Lucas Valley Rd for the final climb up to Big Rock. The few sunken utility covers on the descent have been patched over and it's nothing but fun all the way back to the cars.
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Much thanks to everyone for coming out to join me on this ride! A BIG "THANKS" goes to Michael for taking all the pictures and putting the video together! What a great way to end the year.
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HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
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12 people in attendance with 1 tandem
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62 miles with 3498' of elevation gain
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Weather: COLD with overcast skies, but that's okay, I'll take that over rain any day! Quiet and calm on the climb up Marshall with south winds blowing along Hwy 1. Starting temp of 39, reaching a high of 46 in Nicasio and dropping down to 43 at the finish.
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**For more info and pics for this route, check the Blog Archive from November 2010: Post Thanksgiving Ride: Marshall Wall
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Year End Riding Stats: 10,634.20 miles with 673,335 of climbing

Crockett Hills

Friday, December 24, 2010
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Michael and I ride out from the house and take Los Angeles and Spruce up to Wildcat. The ride I'm leading today meets up at the Island Picnic Area in Berkeley. Water and restrooms are available.
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We head down Wildcat for a brief regroup at the intersection of Bear Creek and San Pablo Dam Rd. I pick up a few riders here.
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We head up Bear Creek Rd to do a counter clockwise loop of the Bears. The climb up Papa Bear is much longer and the gradient is steady at 6-7%. A restroom is available at the EBMUD staging area. The drop down the other side of Papa Bear is a blast! We ride pass Briones Regional Park, water and restrooms are available there. The road flattens for a bit before the next few climbs up towards Mama Bear. There are some nice views of the reservoir along the way.
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After descending Mama Bear, it's a pretty fast run all the way to Alhambra Valley Rd. We continue on Alhambra Valley for the climb up Pig Farm Hill. The climb starts off gradually at 5-7% then increases to 10-13%. You get a little break before the road tilts up again. The gradient maxes out at 13-14% as you near the top.
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The temp drops as we head down the other side of Pig Farm. We continue on Alhambra Ave into Martinez to Franklin Canyon Rd. Franklin Cyn is a bit deceiving, it looks flat but there's a steady 2% incline all the way to McEwen Rd.
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There is a brief regroup at the corner of McEwen and Franklin Cyn. This area is socked in with fog! The climb up the south side of McEwen is about a mile long with the gradient being around 7%; it's much easier than the climb up the north side. McEwen drops us onto Carquinez Scenic Dr. The next few miles on Carquinez Scenic take us into Crockett. You can purchase snack foods at J & L Market on Pomona; other food options are also available as you get further into town.
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Our destination lunch stop is at Crockett Hills Regional Park. Water and restroom are available.
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We continue up Crockett Blvd to Cummings Skywy. The climb on Crockett Blvd is about 1.7 mile. The gradient starts off at around 6-7% and increases to 9% as you near the top. The next few miles on Cummings is slow due to poor visibility and head winds. The fog is super thick! I have to remove my sunglasses in order to see the road ahead of me.
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We take Franklin Canyon back to Martinez. From there, we continue on Alhambra Ave to Alhambra Valley Rd. The climb up the east side of Pig Farm is much easier with the gradient being around 7-8%.
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We cross Bear Creek Rd and continue on Alhambra Valley. The sun is trying to peek through the clouds and the hillsides are turning green. It's all very beautiful!
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We take Castro Ranch to SPDR.
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The climb up Wildcat Canyon is 2.4 miles long. The first mile is the steepest part, the gradient ranges from 7-9%. Once you pass El Toyonal, the gradient eases up to around 3-5% all the way to the top; Inspiration Point. On Wildcat, after you pass the Botanic Garden, there is a short steep climb back to the Island Picnic Area.
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Much thanks to everyone for taking the time to join me on this Xmas Eve ride!
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13 people in attendance with several folks dropping off at different points along the route.
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Original route: 58 miles with 5237' of elevation gain
Extended route: 68 miles with 6144' of elevation gain
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Weather: COLD! Morning sun turning into cloudy skies in the afternoon. Dense fog with increasing winds in the west Contra Costa area. Temps ranged from 47-53.