Saturday, I met Tracy at his house and we started out on what was to be my longest ride since the Solvang Century back in March. We were to meet up with Mike along the route then loop together a couple of my favorite rides for an estimated 75 miles. This was to be the official start of my actual "Training" for the California Coast Classic.
Sidenote – don’t ya love how people write in their blogs about other people as if you’re supposed to know them when it’s obvious that you don’t
Anyway, Tracy and I started out on Union City Blvd to the Alameda Creek trail which is a nice, flat, multi-use trail where we got a good warm up just spinning along. (Ok he was just spinning, I was actually working pretty hard and trying not to show it.)
Part way down the trail we met up with Mike and continued on out to Niles Canyon.
Niles Canyon is one of my least favorite rides since it’s narrow, can be busy and is usually one of those roads where people feel the need to go really fast. The problem is, Niles is also the main way to get to two of my favorite roads, Palomares and Calaveras roads.
Well, we headed up Niles to Palomares for the first climb of the day. It’s a nice road, with hardly any traffic and has a decent climb for the first half of the route. The back half is a fast downhill followed by some rollers that allow you to really make good time. I felt good and we hammered it out pretty quickly.
This road dumps you out onto Dublin Canyon which is also a decent road. It’s a little busy, but has a nice wide shoulder and is another long slow climb followed by a nice long, fast downhill that takes you to Foothill road and after a while in to Sunol. Mike just wasn't "feeling it" so he and I just took our time and cruised up this. Tracy decided to work a little harder and was soon a speck in the distance.
It was here that we parted ways with Mike as he had stuff that actually needed to get done on Saturday and was getting ready to spend Sunday down south looking at colleges with his kid.
After a Gatorade and some Nutter Butters….(a peanut butter cookie that looks like a peanut...some marketing guy definitely hit a home run with these things) Tracy and I headed out for the rest of the ride.
In my opinion, Calaveras Rd is one of the bay areas nicest bike rides. Winding through the canyons east of Fremont, Warm Springs and Milpitas, it has very little traffic, provides some good climbing, and goes through some pretty country. There’s a bald eagle’s nest out there near the half way point. Unfortunately they weren’t home when we went by.
Towards the end of Calaveras Rd, before you get to Ed Levin Park, there’s a nice, steep little downhill. It's not very long, but it's pretty dang steep. Tracy, feeling all full of spit and vinegar I guess, suggested that we get to the bottom, turn around and climb up the “wall”.
The funny thing is, when we got to the bottom he must have forgotten because he just made the right turn and kept going. I had to yell to get his attention and remind him that he wanted to climb back up. Luckily he heard me, because I know he would have been disappointed had we forgotten to climb that little gem. It was here that it dawned on me that I was getting tired. I tried to stand during the climb and immediately started to cramp so I sat, downshifted and spun my way up the hill.
(I actually spent the rest of the ride right at the edge of cramping and needing to back off regularly when I'd feel them flaring)
The last part of Calaveras before we head back north is a nice long, fast downhill back to civilization, traffic and people…..I’ve found I really enjoy downhill more than uphill.
From there it’s all city roads, Warren Bl provides a nice little climb then it’s Mission Bl all the way back to Union City. the section of Mission that goes up to Ohlone really sucks because it's long and straight and you can see the hills coming)
We came back through the town of Niles which was closed down for a hot rod show and where we actually saw some guy walking his pony on a leash.
All in all, we ended up with 74 miles and 4300ft of climbing. The question now is can I do this 8 days in a row????