The day started out freezing cold, windy and damp. We were in a damp mist riding up Pinehurst which turned into a fairly thick fog when we reached Grizzly Peak - so much for the great views, oh well. The mist was so thick we were rained on passing under the eucalyptus groves along GP. All in all, it was pretty neat. We dawdled at the first rest stop at Tilden park and decided to take it easy on this ride and make it a tour de bakery. I nearly froze to death on the descent down Wildcat, geeze it was cold!
It was much nicer cruising down San Pablo Dam Rd but the ever-present headwind made it a bit slower than I'm used to.
We stopped at a Starbucks in Hercules and lounged about for quite a while. It was sooo nice to get out of the chilly wind!
Back on the route we encountered a boy (maybe 18 if a day) on a loaded touring bike on the first day of his trip from El Cerrito to Chicago. Sweet kid, hope it goes well for him.
We dawdled again at the rest stop in Port Coasta, immediately after which we had the joy of climbing McKewan Rd. Jeeeezzz. For yucks I had the gradient indicator on, lots of 12%-plus. I saw 16% a few times. (Oh, and for the benefit of a certain person on TE, I climbed a great deal of it at under 3 mph, and I was oh-so-grateful for my 26/28 gear. :p """" )
We headed along Alhambra Valley Road, which I always like - it's one of the places I'd like to live if I won the lottery. I've never done it in the south-west direction. We climbed Pig Farm Hill the long way. Although it's significantly steeper in the other direction, I much prefer that other way since you get the climb over sooner and then you have the long fun descent. But this way wasn't bad, and it was actually over sooner than I expected.
My lack-of-training really caught up with me on the Bears. The wind really got to me and I got super tired near the end of the first climb (mama?) and couln't wait for the rest stop at Briones. That stop perked me up a bit but not a lot, and I still slogged up papa.
Heading down papa we passed by a very bad looking accident. I heard the sirens up ahead and then I turned a corner and came upon a bunch of stopped cars and a couple of police cars blocking the road on either end of the scene. I couldn't see over all the vehicles and the crowd of people forming, and my heart was in my throat when I asked a guy by the side of the road "was it a cyclist?" I'm a bit ashamed to admit I let out a silent prayer of thanks when they guy responded "yeah, a motorcycle". I rode by the scene and the crumpled-up motorcycle was in the middle of the road and the poor guy was laying in the road being tended to by a small group of people. (According to a short report in the Contra Costa Times, the motorcyclist had hit a stopped car. His injuries were quite serious and he had to be airlifted to the hospital.)
The rest of the ride was thankfully without incident. Cyndi and I were both wearing down, and Kim mentioned the last climb on Rheem was pretty steep, so we took a detour and continued down Moraga Way & took a left on Moraga Rd back to the start. Not only did we miss out on the last climb, we had a blissful few miles of tailwind to take us to the finish.
A nice ride with excellent company :)