23 December 2017
3/C/60 – 2,900 feet climbing – Recce! BART Walnut Creek and Behind Morgan Territory
This route took advantage of the extended start point in Walnut Creek and some new roads (Miles 26-50), without the need to resort to carpooling.
The inclusion of Kirker Pass Road (Miles 45-50) made this an altogether more enjoyable experience than the stressful 10-mile grind up Vasco Road. There was no rumble strip to contend with, hardly any debris and a nice smooth shoulder. The main danger was glass shards on the various bike paths once entering the environs of Antioch and Pittsburg.
I proceeded to the Fruitvale BART to take the 0823 train to the MacArthur station, walked across the platform there to the next train and eventually exited the Walnut Creek BART station at 0900. The weather was cold, ranging from 42 to 52, but it was sunny and there was no appreciable wind chill to contend with. With fleeced bib tights, cold weather booties and a winter jacket I was well insulated, but I did not need a face shawl.
Soon I had discarded my winter finger gloves to give me better control over my shifting and also quickly found the junction to the Iron Horse Trail leading over Ygnacio Valley Road. It was nice to be ripping through Marsh Creek Road after reaching the summit at Mile 15, but I did not push it.
The actual recce started at Mile 26. I had reconnoitered the critical turns with Google Map’s Street View, but two incidents did lose me some time, overall about half an hour. The first was a flat at Mile 35, the rear tire of course. This time I took proper precautions not to trigger the Di2 rear derailleur crash protection, but I noted the prevalence of broken glass on the Mokelumne- and Delta de Anza Trails. One must be very vigilant. Cursing the drunks that smash bottles does not help in this regard.
The second challenge was finding the trail head for the Delta de Anza at Mile 42. A new shopping center with a CVS store has been built on the corner of Somersville and Buchanan, obscuring the trail behind it. One must go on the sidewalk against traffic to find the trail. Thankfully I knew what to look for, when I saw the familiar above-ground pipe which meanders alongside this trail in some sections. There will be no need to overcome these navigational challenges on the next occasion.
The remainder of my excursion was a breeze. Kirker Pass Road is easy to negotiate. At the summit, a small detour of one mile onto Hess Road marks a quiet farm and convenience store with a Coke dispenser from the 50’s. It was nice to see two beautiful horses greeting the farmer with neighing and prancing when he came out on his ATV. The descent was fast. At 1400 I had already reached the BART station at Walnut Creek and I was home at 1512.
This ride is a winner. If one starts at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, the total ride becomes 93 miles with 3,050 feet elevation gain, but one can always end it at Mile 76 and return from the Walnut Creek station. Starting rides from BART stations further from home base is not an expensive proposition and allows one to explore many new roads, that otherwise are only infrequently visited.
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