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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Berkeley Hills Redux

After the fiasco from 2 weeks ago, I've been raring for a re-match of the Berkeley Hills ride. Mike Samuel wanted to show me his new tandem, so we negotiated for a meeting at Rockridge today. Well, Mike waited until the night before to put together his S&S coupled tandem, which resulted in a complete fiasco to the point where he could not show up.

The folks who did show up: Greg Merritt, Yoyo Zhou, Tracy Ng, and Matt Vera. Eva Silverstein carpooled with me up to Rockridge BART. It was overcast with very low fog when I left my house in Sunnyvale, but by the time we got to Rockridge it looked like it was going to lift. Nevertheless, by the time we started riding it was still foggy and there was none of the brilliant views we got two weeks ago.
From Berkeley Hills

Tracy and Matt had showed up expecting an easy ride, but with the tandem missing and Greg present, the pace went up several notches! We hammered up to the intersection with tunnel road, waited a few minutes for Tracy and Matt, then hammered up Tunnel road, and waited some more, and then took off on Grizzly Peak Blvd, where we finally got some sunshine!
From Berkeley Hills

Unfortunately, the fog returned once we descended into Tilden Park, and Inspiration Point provided no inspiration for us, being completely fogged in as well.
From Berkeley Hills

Greg had to leave at this point, and Tracy looked like she had been run a little ragged, so I provided directions to the Lafayette BART station, and the group was now down to Yoyo, Eva, and I. We climbed the 3 bears in overcast conditions, and Eva got her first on-the-road flat tire. The fix didn't take long, but in the process we discovered that the cone springs on her quick release had been reversed. No wonder the wheel wouldn't go in like it was supposed to!

By the time we climbed pig farm hill the sun had slowly started to come out. Reliez Valley Road was a fun descent as usual, and the rollers to get to Reliez Station Road was just as fun. Entering the bike path, however, we were greeted by a full dose of sunshine. I had never seen the bike path this pretty: leaves were strewn all around, and our tires made a wonderful crackle sound as we rode through them. The afternoon light lit up the yellow leaves all around us, and the earlier fog seemed to have depleted the bike path of other users, allowing us to enjoy it almost all to ourselves. I was almost sorry to leave the bike path for Moraga Commons, hungry as I was.

After lunch, we proceeded up Pinehurst, a beautiful road surrounded by redwoods, and still wet from the morning fog as it would not see sun all day. When we got to Skyline we were impressed by how pretty it now was. We could see all the way across the bay, and see San Francisco, the Golden Gate, and the Bay all under a marine layer that was white. It was stunning. We stopped for several pictures but the images do not do the reality justice:
From Berkeley Hills

We got down Tunnel road for more pretty views and got back to the car around 4:15pm. What an amazing ride. I've now banished the ghost of all the failures to make it up to Berkeley for a ride this year!

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