Friday, December 23, 2011

Diablo on the Dirt…..

Last Sunday after church, I talked Jerry and Paciano into joining me on an exploratory ride up Mt Diablo on the mountain bikes. I’ve ridden this mountain a bunch of times, but always on the road. And it’s always tough….

I knew that the trail version of this climb would be tough. My hope though was that with the lower gearing afforded by the mountain bike, it wouldn’t be quite as bad as the road bike with a compact double….(funny, as I type this I’m surprised it sounded so logical in my head)

We started at the Athenian school at the bottom of the hill and followed the road into the park. Just past the entrance to the park, the summit trail is just off the left side of the road. I assumed that we would be following a nice wide fireroad from here up the mountain. Boy was I wrong. The first section as you turn off the pavement is a fun, swoopy singletrack that weaves along the canyons for about a mile. It was a very pleasant surprise!
At the end of that though, you cross a bridge and turn on to a fireroad that goes up…..and up….and up some more……eventually popping out on pavement up near Rock City.
We did stop once on the way up to take pictures (not because my heart was going to explode or anything, just to take pictures) but other than that, it’s a tough upward slog which should pay off nicely when we come back down.

From just above Rock City you cross the road and get back on to the Summit trail and continue up. Nothing steep or crazy, but up, always up until we came to another scenic stop where you actually look down on Rock City and most of the bay area.

It was here that we decided to turn around. I was told (with the promise of death and dismemberment if I failed) that I had to be home by 4:30 in order to take the grandkids to the Zoo Lights and I wasn’t about to risk raising the ire of my wife, daughter and grandkids.

The benefit to all the climbing was that now and for the next 5 miles we could get away with pretty much not pedaling at all….and it was awesome! The fireroad is wide, offers lots of little bumps and ledges to get air if you’re in to that kind of thing and offers a great sightline so there’s very little fear of running in to a hiker or cyclist coming up the trail.

Sooner than I would have thought we were back at the wooden bridge where we crossed over to the singletrack back to the start. I had really enjoyed the singletrack section on the way up never really realizing that it was slightly uphill the whole way. It was only as I continued to need to use my brakes on the way out that I realized it was even more fun going this direction. The trail just swoops and swerves along the edge of the hillside following the contours of the canyon…’s like an E ticket ride at Disneyland (although hardly anyone even knows what that means anymore)

We arrived back at the parking lot grinning from ear to ear, tired but totally wishing we had time to go further and explore more of this amazing park.....a 10 mile ride wasn't nearly enough for a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, but it would have to do....I had grandkids that were expecting me....

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