I’ve been on the road a lot…I’m in Pleasanton, CA now. To make travel a little more enticing, I’ve been bringing the Ritchey Breakaway with me on some of the longer trips. For this trip, I headed out on the weekend. I did a great century ride on my own on Sunday. I was searching for routes to do on my own, and found the Valley Spokesmen website. They’ve posted a ton of route sheets for rides in and around the San Francisco Bay area. They’re based in Dublin, which is very close to Pleasanton where I’m staying. I came across their route sheet for the Hekaton Hilly Century and knew this was going to be the route for me!
The day started out cool and drizzly…wet enough that I decided to wait a bit before hitting the road. I got a later start than I wanted, but I still knew I’d have time to finish before dark. So I hit the road as the clouds parted and the blue sky emerged. I started from my hotel in Pleasanton and headed towards Castro Valley. My turnaround point would be in Berkeley. Here’s a shot somewhere before I hit the Castro Valley area.
The ride out to here was very easy-going…a great warm-up! Nothing to steep, just gradual hills. It turned out, that the entire ride was full of hills. A few were really steep, but for the most part, the grades were quite manageable.
While riding through the Castro Valley area, I was able to get a nice shot of Lake Chabot off in the distance.
The day was wonderful! The temps were probably in the mid to upper 70s for the day. Apparently the area had a horrible heat wave the week before with temps in the 100s. Mother nature was kind to me and I got to enjoy something much better.
I continued toward Redwood Regional Park, probably my favorite section of the ride. There were canopies of trees throughout, beautiful colors, and tight twisty roads that were an absolute blast to ride.
I continued my way toward Berkeley. The skies weren’t quite as blue, and a haze was starting to appear in the distance.
Once in the Berkeley area, I caught a glimpse of the San Francisco Bay, but it was difficult to see the water through the haze.
While the hills appeared subtle, I noticed at this point that my legs were becoming weary. I’ve got a triple on the Ritchey, but to this point, I’d been riding the big ring up front and the middle ring with a pretty strong ring in back for most of the climbing. I was not starting to find myself using easier and easier gears in the rear. Still no baby ring though!
The climbs started getting tougher past Berkely, and there was one point where some serious leg tightness set in. Part of this may have been the need for more water, not sure. But after one climb, my legs didn’t want to work anymore, so I took a break to just stop and stretch. I saw these guys during this break.
I wanted to get closer, but my legs were too tired. Did you know that ostriches make a growling sound? I didn’t. These guys were growling at me a little bit. Guess they didn’t want me coming too close. This was the point where I should have gotten some water. I was running low, but thought there were some strip malls coming up soon, so didn’t try to get water at this spot. Turns out what looked like some strip malls on Google Maps were actually gated communities and homes. I biked past, still with water, but at this point I was definitely sipping lightly. I made it to a stable and filled up with water from an outdoor hose.
This was a nice loop that brought me back through many regional parks in the area and then through San Ramon to Dublin and back into Pleasanton.
I really enjoyed the ride and I’m glad I got the opportunity to do this. I missed seeing Matt at the finish line for the Vapor Trail 125, but he did very well and I thought about him throughout my entire ride. He called when he was finished, and I still had about 28 miles to go on my ride. It was a relief to hear from him and know he was safe and had won 1st place singlespeed!!