Anne has done Cinderella, a woman-only organized ride, a number of times, mostly with Ruth in a trailer, or this year in a rented tandem (ours was still on order). We’ve also done our own version a few times. Today we did it again.
For 2019, the Cinderella organizers shook up the route. Instead of starting at the Alameda fairgrounds (at about 7 o’clock of the loop), the starting point moved to Los Positas College (at 12 o’clock).
It was cloudy and a bit chilly as unpacked the bikes, but as soon as we started rolling the sun came out and it warmed up. The new starting point means an immediate gentle climb out of the hills.
We rode through the canyons and ranches with a slight headwind, to get to the more populous Danville and San Ramon. This section, while fine enough roads, is a slog and not especially attractive, other than the concrete creek of the Alamo Canal. The new route puts this in the middle third, instead of the last third, which makes it much more tolerable.
We stopped for lunch at Val Vista Park. There was great selection of playground equipment but it was nearly deserted on a lovely Saturday.
Getting back to it, we cut through residential Pleasanton, climbing short hills and enjoying matching short descents. Max likes going fast on the downhill, and pedals furiously to go faster. He helps a bit on the climbs, but I wish he had the same enthusiasm.
Leaving Pleasanton behind, we made a more direct eastward path along the vineyards towards Livermore. The wind was on our backs, the sun was out, and it was a lovely ride. We stopped at a gas station to use the facilities and buy some cold drinks.
One of the unfortunate changes in the route is the loss of climbing Cross Road, instead turning early at Greenville. Cross Road is a more interesting climb, although it’s also longer.
Then it was time to head back. This was formerly the middle third, now the ending. The flat landscape, ranches, and now more intense headwind made for a long ride. It started cooling off, which combined with the wind to get Ruth complaining even with a fleece jacket and arm warmers (for the tour we’ll have a rain jacket too, which should help with wind).
We had a bit more climbing to do. More than one was declared “the last climb” when enlisting little legs to help. None were especially steep or long, but I was starting to tire.
Finally we turned back towards the college and our stop point. That gentle climb at the beginning reversed into a fast downhill back. We had turned, and the canyon funneled the wind to be on our backs, helping even more. The last few miles flew by.
The day was long, although typical of what we’re planning for the Washington tour in August. The next ride won’t be for a few weeks, but it will probably be our first fully loaded training ride of this season.