If you read Part One of my trip, you probably don’t want me to revisit my complaints about riding a heavy bike.
I had all the reasons in the world to take the next day off, but sneaking another ride in over new ground proved to be enough of a temptation I couldn’t resist.
Although I lived in the East Bay for six years, little of it was done by bike, at least one that could handle any serious climbing.
Last year I was pleasantly surprised to ride by the Redwoods and since I was staying nearby in Castro Valley, I wanted to have that opportunity again.
On top of my tiredness, I was a bit constricted by the fact that I needed to be showered, packed and arrive at Oakland Airport to pick up my wife and CV Jr. by nine o’clock.
I set my alarm for 5 a.m., but I somehow woke up on my own earlier than that which is a wash in terms of productivity at that hour.
My route was mainly up Redwood Lane which other than seeing thousands of rides going that route on Strava, I didn’t know much else.
Leaving pre-dawn, I was a bit scared of early morning traffic even with lights, but with no cars passing after a considerable amount of time, I accepted that this would be a nice quiet ride on this Veteran’s Day.
Normally, it can be tough riding at dark when there are no streetlights, but since my start involved a lot of climbing, I didn’t have to worry too much about cracks in the road.
Did I mention I was riding 38s?
The slow pace dictated by the ascent was welcoming as the elevation not only opened up the surrounding landscape, but allowed me to focus on the rising sun.
Not a good camera at speed day.
One of the most underrated things about the Bay Area is the expansive greenbelt that surrounds all three major cities.
This allows for miles of wide open space as civilization gets packed below.
Not only did the sunlight start to reveal the reservoir below, but also an endless stretch of rolling hills to the east.
Along the way, I passed a couple of entry points to Chabot Park, but my real interest was continuing on to the Redwoods.
I had a slightly chilly descent for two miles that placed me at the intersection of Pinehurst Road, part of the gorgeous route I descended last year.
Man, I was super curious to explore more there, but being in a positive mind frame, I told myself that gave me another reason to return.
My prized Redwoods started to appear shortly after, as did the entrance to Redwood Regional Park.
Even the park’s sign feels woodsy
Needless to say, I had the park all to myself which was a perfect way to experience it.
Sure, there were park benches and playgrounds sprinkled in, but all under the cover of trees.
It felt like being in the Pantheon, but with no one else.
Bike small. Trees big.
I didn’t go deep, but I really didn’t have to.
There was the 8.2 mile Ridge Trail Loop which I could have ridden, but it was lightly muddy which wouldn’t have played well going to the airport and time was becoming a factor too.
That was fine because even the few minutes I spent there enough.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what if I lived here again? Would I just keep coming back day after day?
The convenience of such a place so close to an urban area seems unreal to the point that you think one of those science fiction portals were involved.
As I started my return, I could stop using words like dawn and sunrise to describe the surrounding as it truly felt like morning.
The sunlight softened the edges of the foliage as time and speed weren’t considerations as I headed back down.
Just a morning palette of greens and yellows.
Sure it was just twenty five miles not at my best, but it was a great way to cleanse the lungs for the start of the day.
Does this mean CiclaValley is thinking about changing zipcodes?
No, I love it here too much.
But if I ever had to leave, I wouldn’t have to think long and hard where I’d go.
Tomorrow: Berkeley Family Ride