Willow Park

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
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Tomorrow's forecast calls for rain so I decide to go for a ride out on Redwood Rd to Willow Park Golf Course.
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I head out from my house and take Los Angeles Ave to Spruce St. The climb up Los Angeles is four blocks long. The grade on the first block ranges from 5-7%, thereafter it increases to a steady 9% all the way up to Spruce.
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I make a left to continue on Spruce St for the next 1.3 mile. Spruce is a very gradual climb from this point. The gradient up to Marin ranges from 5-7% then eases up to a very gentle 3-5% up to Grizzly Peak. There is a slight increase as you pass Northhampton up to the Dorothy Bolte Park.
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The gradient on Grizzly Peak Blvd heading north ranges from 2-5% and is a bit over 4 miles long. For the first couple of miles, you ride through the residential neighborhoods along the ridge. After you cross Golf Course Dr/Centennial Dr, the grade is at a steady 4-5% all the way to the first outlook area. You get some pretty fabulous views of the cities below! Water and restrooms are available at the Steam Trains parking lot. After that point, it's a fast descent down to the intersection of Fish Ranch/Claremont. I continue on Grizzly Peak and ride along the ridge. Once again, the views are just outstanding!
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**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image
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Grizzly Peak takes me to my next turn on Skyline Blvd. Water and restrooms are available at Sibley Park. For the next 4 miles, the terrain is slightly down hill with a few rollers and short climbs all the way to the Chabot Space and Science Center. Water and restrooms are available at Roberts Park. The descent on Skyline is fun! There is a sharp left turn as you approach the guardrail; watch your speed! I take a left turn at the traffic light to continue on Skyline. It's a very fast run to Redwood Rd.
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Heading east on Redwood Rd from Skyline is a blast! This is another one of my favorite descents in this area. It's really fun and fast; the fabulous road conditions makes it just about perfect too! The climb on Redwood starts after you pass Pinehurst Rd. From this intersection, it's a little over 7.5 miles to Willow Park. You're on rolling terrain and in the shade all the way to Bort Meadow. Once you pass the staging area, you are fully exposed to the sun. On a cool day like today, it feels great but on a hot sunny day, it can be torturous! The gradient ranges from 5-7% all the way to the top. Beware of the false summit! The road levels out as you near Marciel Gate. It's a sweeping fun fast descent for the next 3.5 miles to the golf course.
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Water and restrooms are available at the Willow Park Golf Course. You can purchase sandwiches, french fries, drinks and other food items at the coffee shop.
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I head back out on Redwood Rd. I can see that the clouds are slowing moving in and it feels a bit cooler. The climb on Redwood is a bit steeper and longer on the return. The gradient ranges from 6-7%. You do get some great views of the San Leandro Reservoir and the surrounding hillsides.
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After coming down Redwood, I head north on Pinehurst Rd. The climb from this side is very short and not too steep. There is a little lip as you approach Pinehurst Gate, it maxes out at 8%. The road narrows on the down hill along with some very tight turns; proceed with caution and watch out for all the debris and gravel!
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The climb on Pinehurst from the intersection of Canyon to Skyline is a little over 4 miles. This portion of Pinehurst is absolutely beautiful! The lower section follows an old railroad grade through the redwoods. The temp actually dropped 10 degrees here. It was 62 on Redwood,it's now 52! The climbing starts when you reach the left hairpin turn. The gradient increases to 5% and steepens after the right hairpin turn along the guardrails. For the next quarter mile, the gradient increases to 9% and maxes out at 12% as you near the top.
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I continue on Skyline back to Grizzly Peak. I make a quick pit stop at Sibley and eat a banana for the last climb back home. The climb up Grizzly from Claremont to S Park is about 1 mile. The gradient hovers around 5-6% and eases up as you near the Steam Trains. It's nothing but down hill all the way home.
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There's nothing better than being able to leave from my house and ride around to explore the East Bay Hills and beyond. The Bay Area is a great place to be!
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56 miles with 5330' of elevation gain
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Weather: Sunny, cool and hazy. Starting temp of 56 reaching a high of 62 on Redwood and dropping down to 55 on the return home.
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Did you notice that I have 2 dopey head shots of myself? There are subtle differences in the pictures. Can you pick them out?

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