14 April 2018
3/C/68 – 3,200 feet climbing – BART Walnut Creek, Behind Morgan Territory over Patterson Pass and to Dublin/Pleasanton BART
Byron Road between Miles 29 to 39 is very busy with traffic and supports only a narrow shoulder for half its overall length. Options to get off this road are limited, but further study of the map reveals some alternatives. The next ride on this route will be amended accordingly, which will remove 5 of 10 miles on this busy stretch of road.
We had three members show up:
One rider from Alameda Velo showed up, looking for his mates. After disparaging our choice of using BART, the invitation to join us was withdrawn by default.
We proceeded to the Fruitvale BART, to find all ticket machines back in operation. We transferred trains at the 19th Street station and started the ride from Walnut Creek BART at 0900. The weather was nearly cloudless and with hardly any wind, which made the climb up Patterson Pass later on much easier. We made good progress, but stopped in Clayton (Mile 11) for a quick break. The section behind Morgan territory (Miles 16-29) was as scenic as ever, however all the trees had lost their bloom, thereby removing the magical quality from what we saw during our last ride through this region.
We crossed Vasco Road at Mile 29 and embarked on unknown roads until we reached the environs of Patterson Pass (Mile 44). The town of Byron and its highway are congested with traffic, including trucks, and so is an area to be avoided. We hugged the shoulder, where it existed, and tried to stay bunched as a group. We managed alright, but to say that his was enjoyable would be a stretch. Thankfully the Byron Inn Café appeared at Mile 32 and my two friends sat down for a second breakfast. The waitress was very friendly and accommodating. As I gingerly walked with my cleats across the tile floor, a local yokel asked ironically, “You need help?”. I did not even look at him.
Finally, we were able to turn off Byron Road at Mile 39 and we made our way to the approaches to Patterson Pass. Surprisingly, I reached the summit at Mile 50 first and hung out at the rest stop established there for the Cinderella Century riders. Though some pitches approach 15% gradient, I still felt relatively fresh. The temperature up there reached 84 degrees, so there was some sunburn on face and forearms. Mike walked the last section, since he did not have enough range on his gears. I suggested he swap out his cassette as an essential investment. David just took his time, and he took me up on the suggestion to eat something before continuing on the descent.
We hung a left at Mile 52 on Cross Road to reach Tesla Road and eventually the Iron Horse Trail to the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. By the afternoon the trail was mostly deserted. We boarded the train just before 1500 and returned home without incident or flats.
With the changes I have made, this route will cut out half of Byron Road. This reduces overall distance by 1.4 miles to 66.6 miles and increases climbing by 153 feet. I am certain I will do this ride again.
For the amended route, refer to:
TeamAlamedaPO Box 1216Alameda, CA 94501