This ride starts in Fremont, California. I live about a 2 1/2 hour drive from there but there is family in the area. So, Saturday morning I headed to meet my daughter who is in the midst of moving. Her cousin and her two young boys were at the Subway where we met. After a quick lunch, we headed for the storage unit and started moving stuff around so we could get to Jess’ stuff. Although there really weren’t that many boxes, it was a hot, humid day so by the time we hauled everything up three flights of stairs, we were all hot and stinky. I’m glad we didn’t have to move any major furniture! That’ll come later and young, strong men for hire will do that.
So, the new place is a one bedroom. I brought my sleeping pad and bag thinking I’d sleep in the front room. Jess thought we could share the bedroom so I set up in there. She warned me the cat snores. Well, it wasn’t the cat keeping me awake. I eventually fell asleep but didn’t get a good sleep partially because, even though the cat didn’t snore, he did ‘cat around’ a lot that night.
Early Sunday, we all got up and dressed (well, Teddy wore his birthday suit as always). Then Jess drove me to the ride before she headed off to begin her day.
I walked into Registration and heard, “Nikki!” Following the sound of the voice, I spotted Al Q waving at me and sitting next to him was Becky S. What a great way to start the ride. After a quick hello, I headed out. And who should I see (we almost bumped into one another) but Barb Q. A quick hug and she went in to register. Saw her two more times during the ride.
The first part of the ride is fairly easy…but then, the turn onto Calaveras Road. Calaveras means skull in Spanish. Sometimes when riding portions of this road, I think I may expire and all that’ll be left of me is a skull. The first bit is steep but there’s a rest stop where it levels out.
Dennis, Carrie, Andy, Ken L. were all there to greet me! OK, maybe that wasn’t the reason they were there but it was nice to see each of them.
Continuing on Calaveras, it climbs again and then comes The Wall. A bonus this year was being able to ride this portion of the road as it has been closed to all traffic except the workers who are repairing the dam which creates Calaveras Reservoir. No workers on Sunday so we really did have the whole road! This was nice for climbing The Wall as folks could take as much of the road as they needed to get up it.
Once past The Wall, the rest of this section is mostly downhill and scenic. The hills were green, the yellow mustard flowers were blooming, the blue reservoir was lovely. I noticed the soil and rocks are more of a dusty tan as opposed to the red we have at home.
I’m guessing we had 10 miles of road to ourselves. It was the highlight of my ride this year.
At the next rest stop, in Sunol, I saw Joyce T. and John D. We shared a story or two before I moved on. Thus far, I hadn’t even looked at the route sheet or road markings. So it was a good thing one of the volunteers was at the Verona Bridge to guide complacent riders (ahem). At least I woke up and saw the arrows on the road for the turn onto Sunol-Pleasanton Road. To the left, to the left. That was a change in the route I wasn’t expecting.
Riding in the Sierra foothills must be doing me some good as the climb over Dublin Grade was not as long as I remembered it. After the final rest stop, the climb on Palomares loomed. Its been too long since I’ve done that climb. I remember it being much longer and steeper. So the top came as a bit of a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.
The drop down to Niles Canyon was fun but ended too quickly. From there its a quick run to Mission Blvd and then south to where it all began early in the day. I debated just going back to Jess’ place but wanted my lunch at the end of the ride. Total miles were 68 and I felt good when it was all done. However, a few hours later (not even the next day) my muscles were telling me they’d had a good workout. Getting older…not so great.