Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Wyatt and I start out from Martinez to meet the group at the Lafayette-Moraga Trail parking lot for a ride out to EJ's Cattle & Feed in Livermore.
We take Olympic Blvd to Tice Valley Blvd.
**Photos may be enlarged by clicking on the selected image
There is a brief pit stop at the Tice Valley Community Center. Water fountains are also available.
We continue on Tice to Meadow Rd and take Castle Hill to Danville Blvd. The next 4.5+ miles on Danville Blvd is pretty flat; actually there's a slight incline of up to 2%. Danville Blvd becomes Hartz Ave as we make our way through the downtown area filled with restaurants, cafes and boutiques.
We take Hartz Way to Laurel Dr, Sycamore Valley Rd and Camino Tassajara. For the next flattish 7+ miles, we ride pass the residential neighborhoods of Danville, San Ramon and Blackhawk. The pavement is great along this whole stretch of road and the shoulder area is plenty wide for bicyclists.
Camino Tassajara curves to the right as you leave the residential neighborhoods and the nice shoulder area is gone. Be on the alert, traffic can get pretty busy here! This area of Tassajara has several horse ranches and boarding stables along with some orchards. I also recall seeing a swim center.
We take the left turn at the first traffic light at Highland Rd. Your shoulders will immediately loosen up as make your way through this quiet country back road where cars are few and far between. The sunny exposed road makes it a bit more challenging on a hot summers' day. Be sure to have plenty of water on hand! The hills are dotted with old barns, farm houses, ranches and cows.
We stay on Highland for 4.5+ miles to Manning Rd. The terrain is mostly rollers with a few short climbs in between; it's nothing too steep. After crossing Carneal Rd, you get a blasting fun descent all the way to Manning Rd. There is a short climb as you make the right turn on Manning; then it's pretty much flat all the way to Carneal Rd. It's a nice little lollipop loop.
We take a right on Carneal Rd and arrive at our designated lunch stop: EJ's Cattle Feed Store. There is a nice shaded patio area with several tables and chairs; you can purchase cold drinks and snacks from the outdoor vending machines. Water and a porta-pottie are available on site.
Ed has set up the kids' playground and sandbox again. He's getting the place ready for another summer of "a day in the country." There's a petting zoo, a play area with a huge sandbox and a picnic area with tables, benches and BBQ grills. The general store has kids' knick knacks and other fun stuff. Reservations are required.
I see Ed walking around and he takes the time to give me a big warm hug as we exchange greetings.
After lunch we continue on Carneal rd to Collier Canyon Rd. There are a few short climbs on Collier before the fast descent back to Highland Rd.
Highland takes us back to Camino Tassajara and from there, we just reverse the route back to Danville Blvd and take Lancaster, Lilac and Newell back to Olympic.
Wyatt and I continue on our way back to Martinez.
Thanks to Nancy and Grace for leading today's ride! Another thanks to Nancy for providing us with morning treats of banana nut bread and Twizzlers!
~26 people in attendance with 2 tandems
Extended route: 66 miles with 2782' of elevation gain
Original route: 47 miles with 1401' of elevation gain
Weather: Sunny and HOT! Starting temp in the mid 70's and reaching the high 90's by mid afternoon.