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  1. #1
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Our own little last minute century of NorCal BFers

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    Yep, a great day on the bike. My (much more amateur) photos from the ride: DPC_3-16-14 Slideshow by gw_12 | Photobucket

  3. #3
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Hey! I like those too. But next time if you could photoshop me into looking my cyclistic I'd be happy.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    The usual suspects. The usual foolishness.

    I did notice, however, that MyLi'lPony had the good sense not to tag along n this one.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post

    I did notice, however, that MyLi'lPony had the good sense not to tag along n this one.
    She told me that she'd done Diablo the day before and didn't need a century, but we'd better not get lazy and bail out after some 50 or 60 miles she'd have enjoyed riding. So when it got hot and I got tired I dared not turn back.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
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  6. #6
    blt
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    I know someone whose parents live in Diablo Grande, if I ever need 1.5 miles for a century, I'll have to remember to have him make his parents tell the gate guard to let me in.

    The stunning canyon is a reminder that if this were 500 years ago, we wouldn't be in a drought. It is only a drought because there are tens of millions of people in the state who need water. The rest of the living things, plants and animals, have enough. Well, they would have enough if there weren't any rivers or streams dammed up by humans. Nature can easily take a couple of years of precipitation that is well below normal, if it isn't too close to zero. After all, on average, about half the years are below normal precipitation years. Things are exacerbated in Central/Northern California because even when it isn't raining at all, as was the case in calendar year 2013, water continues to be shipped to SoCal. After all, even with normal or above normal precipitation, there isn't enough water for all these people unless we store it somewhere. Nature's calendar year 2013 drought is over. The human drought is not. Not that I advocate getting rid of all the humans in California as a solution, it wouldn't exactly be in my interest.

    Reading of your century does make me think that I should do my planned metric century while the canyon is still nice and it isn't too hot -- I want to ride from my home about 12 miles to the intersection of Tesla and Mines, out to the Junction and down Del Puerto Canyon, then my wife can neet me for a late lunch and drive me home. That's about as ambitious as I can get right now.

    Anyway, always enjoy reading about the rides and seeing photos.

  7. #7
    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    Brangus: Animal breed
    A Brangus is a hardy and popular breed of beef cattle, a cross between an Angus and a Brahman. An animal eligible for registration as a Brangus cattle is 5/8 Angus and 3/8 Brahman



    So now we know what brangus out to Crows Landing.
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    I looked up Brangus when I got home too :-).

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    Senior Member Midland's Avatar
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    Good ride with smart, fun people. Always love San Antonio Valley. Great pics Glenn, but when were you ever behind us? ha ha.
    ride, enjoy, repeat

  10. #10
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    Despite having lived in Pleasanton for almost two decades, I never ventured into Del Puerta Canyon. I'll be back in the area the first weekend of May, and HAVE to ride that area, especially after viewing all of the photos on your blog. Traffic wise, how is the ride from Livermore on Mines to the Junction? I would probably be riding Saturday morning. My son, who lives in Livermore feels that it's too dangerous to bike. Any info is great appreciated! BTW, really enjoy your blog.

    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post

  11. #11
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on the area, but the ride up Mines is a very popular cycling route. I'd call traffic light. You get motorcycles and a few horse trailers, but not a ton.
    Does your son ride a bike?
    A quick peek on Strava show that climb up to the junction was has 5530 Attempts By 1695 People
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  12. #12
    blt
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    I’ve been on Mines a lot, sometimes to the Junction, more often to the top 5 miles short of the Junction, sometimes turning around earlier, almost always on a Saturday. Everything is relative, but I think Mines/San Antonio Valley Road from Livermore to the Junction is pretty safe. Traffic is quite light once you get past the Del Valle turnoff.

    On a Saturday, once past the Del Valle turnoff, you’ll see more bikes and motorcycles than any other vehicles. You also might see the occasional parade of sports cars, or single sports cars. It is mostly joy riders out there on a Saturday, whether human powered or not, whether 2 wheels or more. The earlier in the day you go, the fewer motor vehicle joy riders (in the cold of winter, most cyclists don’t start too early, there can be icy patches early in the morning in winter, but as things warm up, most will get early starts to avoid the heat). The closer you are to Livermore, the more you’ll see vehicles going to or from ranch property, the occasional horse trailer, but there aren't that many properties out there, there can only be so many vehicles. Occasionally, there will be a Saturday morning where an event is starting at the Boy Scout camp around 14 miles from Tesla, and then you get some more SUV’s and Mini-vans on the road, but those vehicles tend to drive safely and slowly on a road they’re not used to that seems to them like a scary road to drive, and it never seems like a lot. There are stretches of one lane road, but mostly reasonably wide one lane (after all, if cars are coming the opposite direction from each other, they need room to pass). I feel safer on my bike in the one lane stretches than I do in my car.

    Of course, you always hope nobody crazy is coming the other direction, but on any road with vehicles, you always hope nobody crazy or drunk comes your way. Full disclosure, awhile back, maybe 8 years ago, a solo rider on a weekday ride went missing. After a lot of searching, he was found off the road hidden by plants, dead, an apparent hit and run victim. I think he was around 15 or 16 miles south of Tesla. A couple of years ago, I was around 17 miles south of Tesla when a CHP patrol car passed me slowly, then eventually came back the other way, then passed me again then and back the other way again. I was worried he was looking for another missing bicyclist. As I came back towards Livermore, down around the 19 mile mark, the CHP car was parked by a tow truck that was trying to pull up a motorcycle that had gone off the road down towards the arroyo. The incident had happened awhile earlier and the rider had been OK enough to get someone to take him to a hospital. It does make one think, man, if that guy was so out of control that he couldn’t even keep himself on the road, what would happen if he had come upon a bicyclist?

    In all my times up there, however, I’ve never had vehicles that scared me. I was riding Redwood Road last Saturday, and 3 or 4 sets of motorcyclists were being somewhat crazy and one pair especially scared the snot out of me worse than I’ve ever been scared by vehicles on Mines, as they took a right-hand curve really close to the right edge where I was riding.

    With respect to non-traffic issues, I have been scared by animals going across the road in front of me, most notably a hare and a bobcat. Also, during a rainy winter, you may find a couple of spots where rocks spill out into the road, but not a danger if you're going uphill, and if I'm going downhill, I've seen them on the way up and know where to look for them and not ride too fast around the curves they are lurking behind. Of course, there are those who will ask, "What's a rainy winter?"

    All I have is my personal experience, and based on that, I think traffic wise, Mines from Livermore to the Junction feels as safe as any route I ride. It is a fun ride.

  13. #13
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nielsp03 View Post
    Despite having lived in Pleasanton for almost two decades, I never ventured into Del Puerta Canyon. I'll be back in the area the first weekend of May, and HAVE to ride that area, especially after viewing all of the photos on your blog. Traffic wise, how is the ride from Livermore on Mines to the Junction? I would probably be riding Saturday morning. My son, who lives in Livermore feels that it's too dangerous to bike. Any info is great appreciated! BTW, really enjoy your blog.
    The roughly 3.5 miles of Mines Road from the Tesla Rd intersection to where the road to Del Valle Regional Park takes off (where you turn left to stay on Mines) can be busy on weekends, especially three-day weekends, including a fair number of boats and Winnebagos. There is a decent shoulder pretty much that entire stretch, so it is more annoying than anything. One caveat: I would beware of being on that stretch of road the last hour or so before dusk on a weekend day. That is when you have the greatest likelihood of drunk drivers on the road who have been on the lake all day getting sunburned and knocking back more brewskis than they recall. I grew up on that stretch of Mines Road, and at least one carful of such folks per year wrapped themselves around a tree on our property.

    On the rest of Mines Road, traffic ranges from light to all but non-existent. So, with the one caveat above, I would say go for it. Once you have done the hardest climbing (two miles or less starting roughly a mile past where you turned left to stay on Mines Road) and get back to where the road and the Mocho Canyon narrow down, it is some of the prettiest riding around, especially during the green season.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. Being here in Wisconsin, I won't be in shape for a century by May 3rd (just 129 miles to date for the year). I've decided to ride from The Junction to Patterson, refuel, and ride back. My son does ride, I recently bought a Domane 5.2, and shipped him my 2004 Trek 5000. All I need to find out is if it's okay to park at The Junction for a few hours while we ride. Naturally we'll dine there upon our return.

  15. #15
    blt
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    That would mean an "upside down" ride, going downhill first and finishing with the long uphill slog back up Del Puerto Canyon. Wouldn't be my preference of a way to go, but maybe you are good with that. You can drive to Patterson faster than you can drive to the Junction (and more safely), and you could ride up to the Junction, refuel, and ride back down the Canyon. Of course, if you drive to the Junction, you get to see what you missed by not riding that road.

    Now, if you had someone who could drive to Patterson and pick the two of you up, and drive you home, then Livermore to Patterson via the Junction would be a nice ride.

    You do need to be in shape for the ride to the top of Mines, even if you are not riding a century. As bikingshearer said, the steepest stretch is about 1 3/4 miles starting about a mile past the Del Valle turnoff. There is one fairly short similarly steep pitch right before the summit. I think total elevation gain from near downtown Livermore to the Junction is around 3,100 feet (that includes the hill you have to climb after you get to the summit of Mines/San Antonion Valley, go down some, and then back up before the final descent into the valley/Junction), and that is just a hair under 30 miles.

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    That's invaluable information, thank you. I will reverse the course, and park in Patterson and begin there.

    Quote Originally Posted by blt View Post
    That would mean an "upside down" ride, going downhill first and finishing with the long uphill slog back up Del Puerto Canyon. Wouldn't be my preference of a way to go, but maybe you are good with that. You can drive to Patterson faster than you can drive to the Junction (and more safely), and you could ride up to the Junction, refuel, and ride back down the Canyon. Of course, if you drive to the Junction, you get to see what you missed by not riding that road.

    Now, if you had someone who could drive to Patterson and pick the two of you up, and drive you home, then Livermore to Patterson via the Junction would be a nice ride.

    You do need to be in shape for the ride to the top of Mines, even if you are not riding a century. As bikingshearer said, the steepest stretch is about 1 3/4 miles starting about a mile past the Del Valle turnoff. There is one fairly short similarly steep pitch right before the summit. I think total elevation gain from near downtown Livermore to the Junction is around 3,100 feet (that includes the hill you have to climb after you get to the summit of Mines/San Antonion Valley, go down some, and then back up before the final descent into the valley/Junction), and that is just a hair under 30 miles.

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    If you are looking for an excuse to ride Del Puerto, and Diablo Grande should you choose the metric, there is an organized ride on June 20th - the Canyon Classic, that starts in Patterson. The ride doesn't get as many riders as it should, the folks putting in on do a great job of organizing it. I've done it the last 2 years. The first time the wind kicked my butt, the second time was the hottest day of the year. My garmin read 108 coming back down the canyon.

  18. #18
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nielsp03 View Post
    That's invaluable information, thank you. I will reverse the course, and park in Patterson and begin there.
    The Patterson-Junction-Patterson out and back is a great ride. It's pretty and there usually is not much traffic.

    If you choose this ride, be sure to bring plenty o' water. The county park (Frank Raines) does not have any, unless they've fixed it up in the last couple years. There is a water bottling operation that has a spigot of their high-magnesium water (by design) just off the road to the left almost exactly where the road begins it's steep stretch to the top of the canyon, but I'm not sure it's always on. (The dirt road to the facility is pretty obvious, the hose is not - it's on the other side of a bush or tree as you look from Del Puerto Canyon Road. Pull a few feet onto the dirt road and you will see it.) You can get water at the Junction, but be a mensch and buy something from them, too.

    Most of the ride out Del Puerto Canyon from Patterson is a gentle climb with a few very short pitches. It is certainly that way all the way to Frank Raines. The one truly tough part starts a few miles (don't recall exactly how many, but on the order of magnitude of three or so) past Frank Raines. Trust me, you will know it when it starts. Unlike most of the gentle climb, the steep climb is exposed to the sun and can feel like a reflector oven - be prepared. The climb is roughly two miles (again, I do not recall exactly). There is a nice two or three mile drop on the other side to the Junction that is a lot easier to climb back up than the Patterson side was. After that, Easy Street back to Patterson.

    On the descent back toward Patterson, you will encounter cattle guards, also called Texas gates in some parts. If you aren't familiar with them, they are a big hole the entire width of the road covered by railroad rails running crossways across the roadway. You will have seen them on your way up. Cross them at as close to 90 degrees as possible (meaning both as straight up-and-down on the bike as you can as be and having your wheels contacting them at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible), just like you would at a railroad crossing. Get some weight off your butt and prepare to have your arms and legs be shock absorbers. Do this, and they should be no problem. (If for some reason the cattle guard is wet, the 90 degree rule is critical.) You really don't have to slow much if any to cross them safely, but if are like most people, you will instinctively brake before them. Just don't brake on them.

    Patterson itself is often windy, especially in the afternoon. However, once you are a mile or two up Del Puerto Canyon Rd past I-5, the wind usually is not a big factor.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  19. #19
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    Fantastic description, thank you bikingshearer! BTW, apologies to cccorlew for hijacking your post. Your blog, and photos inspired me to plan this ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
    The Patterson-Junction-Patterson out and back is a great ride. It's pretty and there usually is not much traffic.

    If you choose this ride, be sure to bring plenty o' water. The county park (Frank Raines) does not have any, unless they've fixed it up in the last couple years. There is a water bottling operation that has a spigot of their high-magnesium water (by design) just off the road to the left almost exactly where the road begins it's steep stretch to the top of the canyon, but I'm not sure it's always on. (The dirt road to the facility is pretty obvious, the hose is not - it's on the other side of a bush or tree as you look from Del Puerto Canyon Road. Pull a few feet onto the dirt road and you will see it.) You can get water at the Junction, but be a mensch and buy something from them, too.

    Most of the ride out Del Puerto Canyon from Patterson is a gentle climb with a few very short pitches. It is certainly that way all the way to Frank Raines. The one truly tough part starts a few miles (don't recall exactly how many, but on the order of magnitude of three or so) past Frank Raines. Trust me, you will know it when it starts. Unlike most of the gentle climb, the steep climb is exposed to the sun and can feel like a reflector oven - be prepared. The climb is roughly two miles (again, I do not recall exactly). There is a nice two or three mile drop on the other side to the Junction that is a lot easier to climb back up than the Patterson side was. After that, Easy Street back to Patterson.

    On the descent back toward Patterson, you will encounter cattle guards, also called Texas gates in some parts. If you aren't familiar with them, they are a big hole the entire width of the road covered by railroad rails running crossways across the roadway. You will have seen them on your way up. Cross them at as close to 90 degrees as possible (meaning both as straight up-and-down on the bike as you can as be and having your wheels contacting them at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible), just like you would at a railroad crossing. Get some weight off your butt and prepare to have your arms and legs be shock absorbers. Do this, and they should be no problem. (If for some reason the cattle guard is wet, the 90 degree rule is critical.) You really don't have to slow much if any to cross them safely, but if are like most people, you will instinctively brake before them. Just don't brake on them.

    Patterson itself is often windy, especially in the afternoon. However, once you are a mile or two up Del Puerto Canyon Rd past I-5, the wind usually is not a big factor.

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    I really owe it to myself to come in live in NorCal for 6 months or so before I come to room temperature.

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