30 December 2017
4/C/57 actually 30 miles – 5,350 actually 3,000 feet climbing – BART Warm Springs to Mount Hamilton Foothills & Back
This route took advantage of the fairly new BART station in Warm Springs/South Fremont at 45193 Warm Springs Boulevard, which opened for service March of this year. I planned on a completely new route through Alum Rock Park and approach to Mount Hamilton, but fate was not kind.
Well, to be succinct, the turnoff from Sierra Road at Mile 13.4 does exist, but unfortunately leads to a barricade. No deviation or alternative route exists for cyclists, so I was forced to return to San Jose down Sierra Road. From there, I simply returned to the original BART station at Warm Springs, thus shortening the route to 30 miles and 3,000 feet elevation gain. Well, it was a recce after all!
After leaving the train station around 0900, there were only 6 ½ miles to turn onto Calaveras Road. Traversing through Ed R. Levin County Park, I eventually reached the junction of Calaveras- and Felter Roads. A large, orange sign is posted there, that advises the Calaveras Road closure past the reservoir will continue until 30 September 2018. Further up Calaveras Road is a barrier halfway across the road, that some cyclists ignore, only to turn around at a more restrictive barrier 6 miles down the road.
I continued on Felter. The scenery is beautiful, but there are pitches of 10% thrown in. One might admire a mansion set on a hill that appears to be far up in elevation. Then one realizes there is only one road and that the climb past the mansion is meant for you. So one settles into a steady rhythm and occasionally glances into the valleys, virtual ravines, with some horse farms.
Eventually, I reached the turnoff to bring me to Alum Rock Falls Road and the Alum Rock Park. After an initial rough tarmac, I was riding on smooth blacktop of a more recent vintage. Every 200 yards there is a speed bump, painted white, without a cutout for cyclists, so I had to reduce speed. The steep decline would not permit jumping such an obstacle. That is where I reached the aforementioned barrier and the location where my carefully laid plans came apart. Now I had to climb the occasional 15% incline to reach Sierra Road again. No sign is posted at the junction to warn of this barrier.
Once I reached the summit point of Sierra Road and a lookout point there, I was able to see San Jose shrouded in fog far below me. I spoke to a park ranger there and he advised me there will be no transit past the barricade for the foreseeable future. Apparently, there has been a landslide there. I thanked him, but did mention the lack of a dead-end sign or similar.
I will have to devise a route, which would take me/us through Alum Rock Park as originally intended. Certainly performing this solo ride spared others from an abbreviated and partially aborted route, but it also shows that one cannot rely on Google Maps and RideWithGPS alone. We shall see if that is even possible, perhaps approaching Alum Rock Park from the South rather than the North.
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