10 March 2019
3/A/51 – RECCE – Planned was an 81-Miler BART Walnut Creek-Antioch-Pittsburg-Martinez
Link for ride: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29411742
This reconnaissance was a success, never was lost once. I just as diligently followed the weather forecast on various apps and judged the chances of rain to be isolated and few. At Mile 49, I was proven wrong and so had to curtail the ride 30 miles short of my actual goal. This shortfall will be rectified on the next occasion. That will remain a recce, as a few miles of unknown roads remain.
Nobody joined me on this excursion, though I delayed the start to 0900. I was able to catch the Fruitvale BART early enough to depart Walnut Creek just before 1000. Though it was mostly cloudy, the sun shone here and there, and I felt fairly confident I would not end up in a deluge. Admittedly, the roads were still fairly wet, but they became drier as the day progressed. By the time I hit Marsh Creek Road, the street was dry and free of debris.
Trees have started to bloom and in two weeks’ time the scenery should be spectacular. There was very little traffic and hardly any cyclists. At Mile 30, I hit Marsh Creek Trail in Brentwood, followed by Big Break Trail, both unknown to me. There were three sections that required some additional portage or sidewalk navigation, since the trail path system is not complete. Once I had to go up a small embankment and lift the bike over a wooden fence, on another I was obliged to hop some curbs over a median. Thankfully, I had scoped out these potential obstacles on Google Street View.
The day was becoming gloomier though. A wall of rain was bearing down on me and it did not appear as a localized shower. The optional lunch stop at Mile 49 in a Subways shop became my refuge. The radar app on my cell phone displayed a wide and extended system of rain heading North. Rather than getting completely drenched, I decided to abort. Thankfully this route offers many bailout options. From the sandwich shop to the train station at the Pittsburg Center BART was only 2 miles.
I had to wait about a half hour for the first shower to pass. I made it to the BART station before the next rain came through. I arrived only slightly moist, but did incur a rear flat tire. I decided to change tubes at my arrival at the Fruitvale BART station, since I had a few trains to catch. I believed it would only be one transfer at MacArthur BART, but it ended up being three; there was a small feeder train bringing passengers from Pittsburg Center to Pittsburg/Bay Point. It did get pretty cold on that exposed platform, as I had to wait another half hour for the regular train.
I installed a new tube at Fruitvale BART and noticed another dark-grey rain front approaching Alameda. I reached home at 1600 without being rained on, but the tire was getting soft again. Whatever I picked up in Pittsburg was one of those small, hidden items that work their way into the tire at every revolution.
This route is to be tackled again, this time in better weather. I just had to get out again, after being cooped up indoors too long. In fact, I have a longer 90-mile route planned in the same region, however passing over Kirker Pass. Perhaps in two weeks, when everything is in bloom and the birds are nesting.
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