Fake Cinderella 2019

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.

Bay Loop, Heat Edition

This ride gets closer to the real thing for this summer’s tour. There wasn’t much climbing, but we had more distance, and Anne carried closer to real touring load.

The Chariot trailers that we’ve always pulled a kid in have doubled as cargo trailers, while I’ve also carried bags front and rear. This summer we won’t be bringing the Chariot, so we need to figure out how to replace the capacity. We bought new panniers and a trunk bag for Anne to carry on the tandem. The trunk held food, and the panniers had some tshirts as a simulated load.

The forecast was for heat, so we tried to get an early start. As usual, we were only partially successful, but we did start rolling before 8.

We meandered our way through Newark and Fremont to get to Paseo Padre and some mild climbs. Max was pretty excited about going fast down hill, though I had a hard time getting him to pedal forwards on the uphill.

In Milpitas we got off the road and onto the Bay Trail. Anne had moved the hitch from her other bike, so could take both kids (Ruth on the tandem, Max in the trailer) to make a long train of awesome.

It started heating up as we worked our way past the landfill and water treatment facilities, which Max declared (accurately) was super stinky.

We hit some construction in Alviso (and borrowed their port-a-potty), but Anne found a way around to the Alviso Marina County Park for a food stop and water refill.

Then it was back on the Bay Trail and the hard packed path between Moffett Field and the bay. The heat continued, but we had a light breeze to help.

Then it was through an office park, where Max’s trailer clipped the curb on a corner of a path, stopping Anne’s bike suddenly. I was a bit ahead and heard an “oomph”. By the time I got back they were all ready to go again. I later heard that the tandem fell over; Ruth managed to hop off like magic, but Anne bumped her leg and chin. She didn’t break the skin, but probably has a bruise by now.

I took Max back and we continued on our merry way, though East Palo Alto. We could see smoke rising up from the trees. As we got closer, we saw fire trucks and the source. There was a grass fire in the field at 84 & University.

The heat continued to rise as we crossed the Dumbarton Bridge and worked our way back home. When we got home the temperature had risen to 93.

The heat got old, but I’m glad we got the miles in. Both kids were cooperative throughout the day. Anne was carrying close to a full touring load. I should probably start doing the same.