Here’s the ride listing:
Sun Jun 2 3/LT/28 Pinole for Coffee
Join Sherie and me on a relaxed (10mph average) ride out to Pinole, along San Pablo Dam Road and Pinole Valley Road, from Orinda BART parking lot (NW corner, where Second Saturday Ride meets). Our goal is to get some riders who may cringe at riding the hilly ‘bears route’; but who would like to do about 30 miles to maybe get back into riding again. Faster riders are welcome, too. Bring a friend. Meet 9:45 a.m. for 10:00 a.m. rollout. Optional lunch at Orinda Square (Greek Cafe, Nation’s burgers, Subway) Leaders: Sherie Reineman <bikedive at mac dot com>; Jim O’Melia <jimomelia at rocketmail dot com>
it was a fun day. we had 14 riders. As you can see from the ride listing, it was intended as a “beginners’ out-n-back”, we headed out from Orinda as a generally well-seasoned T/TM paced lot, soon spreading lengthwise along SPDR as several of us kept getting held up at all the red lights getting out of Orinda and past Wildcat/Bear Creek Rd. Did i mention we had two tandems? Zoom Zoom!! yippee…..!!!!
Maybe the turnout of experienced riders had something to do with the fact that the elevation gain in the posting erroneously as a “3”, calculated from a first-time attempt at a mapping program by Jim, and showing 1700 ft of climbing, and many erroneous little spurs and U-turns….and the fact that my email server had dropped Jim’s note with ride description into my “Junk” folder, and when i did finally find and look at it, the high number did catch my eye, but my mind didn’t connect (as in “well, Bears loop is about 1650 ft, and it has Castro Ranch Road AND well. THE BEARS!)…. so right off the bat, i’m putting in this disclaimer that really, the ride description should really say “1.5/LT/28” (not “3/LT/28… which is already sort of an oxymoron by definition!).
Here’s the “hill”:
At the beginning at least 5 riders were asking, “so, we go to Peet’s?”… and we had made much ado that we were doing the coffee ride, but not the “Peet’s” coffee ride, as our destination was the Bear Claw Bakery in downtown/oldtown Pinole. This was recommended by my co-leader, Jim, who had devised the ride after having visited the bakery on more than one occasion on a Wednesday ride. And we also had a historic mural hunting reason to go there…. and that was worth it (oops, didn’t take any pictures this time… one more reason to do the ride again and go back..)
Well, i suppose it was the sign in the pictures in Yelp “Hot Coffee, Fresh Baked Goodies Every Day, Open At 6am” (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-bear-claw-bakery-pinole?select=tsY7HoQL5FTSG7YtgGDGUQ#cuj6O1R-h0Y1_n6Itp3STA) and hand-painted gilding on the window “Fresh Bread – Friday Sat & Sunday – Zach’s Bread Rack” (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-bear-claw-bakery-pinole?select=tsY7HoQL5FTSG7YtgGDGUQ#Vemkd1nt1I1X7kZ9OlwEcA) that drew my attention away from the fact that the days/hours both on Yelp and on the bakery’s own website do indeed specify “closed Sundays”… (oops, a detail i thought my co-leader had checked ahead of time when proposing ride and date. In any case, today Jim and I were both pretty much leading “from the rear” with most of our brood in the “faster riders welcome” category, so when i pulled up (about 5 minutes ahead of Jim & Lynn), the rest of the group was hanging around on the sidewalk in front, where i found out “closed Sunday”…..ooops! Back to Ride Leader School for me! So collectively, we made the decision to head back to the old standby, Pinole Peet’s, where we all enjoyed delicious iced coffees and other somewhat sinful seasonal variations of that basic brew….. i think Rose’s “Coconut-Mint Freddo” wins the prize for the most delicious and hedonistic concoction. I do love the coffee at Peet’s, so wasn’t totally disappointed that we had to detour there for our coffee break destination. I will note, however, that the bear claw i sampled there was fresh but nevertheless somewhat like sawdust, so lacking in filling…. i mean really, isn’t the filling and flaky, buttery layers (as shown in the pictures for that offering at the Bear Claw Bakery: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-bear-claw-bakery-pinole?select=tsY7HoQL5FTSG7YtgGDGUQ#tsY7HoQL5FTSG7YtgGDGUQ) the whole point of a bear claw?… so, note to self: list the ride again, but on a Saturday!
Conversely, when tweaking the cue sheet/map, i did verify the restaurant days/hours for the various options for post-ride lunch in Orinda (http://www.orindatheatresquare.com/index.php/dinning/petra-cafe and http://www.yelp.com/biz/petra-cafe-orinda-2), and based on that info was telling people that the Greek place would be closed on Sunday….but lo and behold, when we arrived at the Orinda Theater Square we were delighted to find that Petra was in fact open and serving its usual delicious and reasonably priced fare (Lynn & I had the calamari salad, healthy and yummers! some of the most tender calamari i’ve ever had and served on a generous portion of chopped, crispy romaine w/ red onion and crumbled feta with a nice olive oil-based vinaigrette!; i sampled Fil M’s stewed lamb dish and it was delicious, too… i think everyone was happy with the post-ride meal).. and despite the intended destination being shuttered, I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed the ride, too. I certainly did! Good company, perfect weather and enough miles (and one small hill) to make me feel happy i decided to ride my Serotta instead of the commuter/MTB…. almost felt like a bicyclist again! (Note to self… my toes are still black & blue from the downhill hike from Mt.Diablo on the day of the ToC…. more noticeable in my Sidi shoes than in the commuter Keen sandals i’ve been used to lately)
Thought i’d further test that feeling by going home via Wildcat/Spruce, but in light of my recent neck/spine condition, decided at the last moment (i.e., literally at the intersection of Dam Rd and Wildcat), to keep going straight and head home the longer/flatter way, staying on SPDR all the way into and through El Sobrante, then the “stop sign route” home… I’m thinkin’ halfway through it that this might have been a mistake… wind in my face the entire length of Dam Rd, plus the horrible gravel-strewn shoulder in the section between Valley View Rd and Appian Way, and icky Sunday afternoon traffic in the commercial section (PLUS more wind) to and beyond Amador Street. Then after going up and over the little bump to Knott Ave on Key Blvd, slower and more dodgy than ever along the Greenway from Del Norte BART to where it ends for construction at Stockton. I bail to the smaller surface streets (Kearney, Elm, etc… stop sign city every block!!) to El Cerrito BART where the Greenway is once again open (until Portland Ave), for the short few blocks back along Masonic etc to my house. I know better, just take Richmond Ave, much smoother and faster!
anyway, for a 28.7 mile ride, i ended up getting 47.5… felt good.
time to make dinner, and yeah, i took a few photos (even a 2 second video), here they are: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFHEHVT
(Steven L, thanks for posting yours, too!…. Steven has graciously granted permission to share the photos he took here on my blogpost. Here’s a link to those (thanks, Steven!):https://plus.google.com/photos/114735798838960205312/albums/5885010431214533313?authkey=CO7Lm9Wkk6utywE.
i see neither one of us took any of the wonderful murals in the little alleyway at the Bear Claw Bakery & Cafe… one more good excuse to go back!).
(stats: 47.5 mi, 12.1 mph, 34.6 max, riding time 3:13:05)… disclaimer, everything but the total mileage is what my odometer sez for 39.11 of the ride, between when i switched it back on just before Castro Ranch Rd and when I returned home, so the actual mph for the whole ride is probably higher, and i’m not sure what hill i went down to make the max 34.6 ….(Castro Ranch Rd, i guess…. wheeeeeeeeeee!!!)…