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Grizzly Peak Century - CycleCentury

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Moraga, California
United States
Grizzly Peak Cyclists
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
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Pre-race routine:

This is the 3rd weekend in my final build phase for Lanzarote. This ride was a perfect fit since it's 112 miles and very hilly - 8550' which, believe it or not, is still less elevation than Lanzarote. It was 3 weeks out from Lanzarote so it was perfect timing before I begin my taper.

Let's talk about food! I don't eat a lot of red meat, but we've had our new ceramic BBQ/smoker (the Big Green Egg) for a couple weeks and we haven't even used it yet.

So, DW and I decided we're going to grill on it the night before our ride. I watch the instructional video while she dashes off to Mollie Stone's to pick up some food. We bought some hardwood lump charcoal (briquets aren't good enough for this grill!) and get to lighting it. DW bought some sirloin steaks and some veggies to grill (portobello mushrooms, onions, orange peppers, zucchini). Also have some brown rice (have to have carbs of course). Steaks are prepared with just kosher salt and some pepper. I get the grill nice and hot to 650 degrees (this grill heats up quickly). Toss the veggies on and the steaks. Let the steaks sear on one side for 2-3 minutes, flip them, sear them on the other side for 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it cook to temp (targetting medium rare).

Of course, this is the first time we've cooked on this grill and one of the few times I've ever cooked a steak, so all was not perfect. The outsides of the steaks were cooked perfectly (thank you 650 degree heat), but I overcooked the steaks so that they were medium/well. Argh. The flavor on them was excellent, but the meat was also really, tough. No wonder they were on sale... Plus, I scorched some of the veggies because 650 degrees is just too much heat. Oh well, at least the flavors were good (unlike our culinary misadventures with steak after IM Cal and before Tierra Bella).

We pack up the car, have the water bottles prepped, and coffee prepped (we bought some f-ing expensive Kona Peaberry at Bad Ass Coffee in Santa Cruz last weekend on our way back from the Big Sur Marathon). We're in bed by 9pm and soon enough the alarms go off at 5am.

I'm making coffee (the Kona Peaberry) and toast (3 Seed bread from Vital Vittles). I use some swedish gooseberry jam (bought at the european grocery in Carlsbad) and DW uses some German honey (also from the european grocery); it's opaque off white colored, but one of the tastier honeys we've had.

Always tricky to try to figure out what to wear for these long rides. It's going to be cold at the start of course. I'd been watching the weather forecast all week and it was going to be a nice sunny 80, but when I checked again yesterday, the forecast was for decreasing clouds through the day, high of 70 (not so bad) and winds. Normally, I wear my desoto 400-mile bibs for long rides, but I wanted to try out what I'd wear at Lanzarote, so I put on my Zoot/Gu tri shorts and then put on a pair of cycling shorts over that. my plan at Lanzarote was to not do a full change in T1 (and then again in T2), but just pull on cycling shorts over my tri shorts, cycle in that, and then just pull them off in T2. I figured I better try riding this way at least once before the race. Wore my Louis Garneau shark tri top since it has the biggest pockets of all my tri tops, arm warmers, and a lightweight shell. That should be enough to keep me just warm enough for the start.

We head out around 6:00am drive out to Moraga to the Campolindo High School for the start and make good time. It's just after 6:30am. Fortunately, since DW and I are together and are technically carpooling, we get to park in lot.

We step out of the car and it's quite cold and quite windy. Sun has risen, but it's fully obscured by cloud cover. Ugh. We look for our water bottles, but we forgot to pack them. D'oh. I have my Profile Designs aero water bottle and DW has a bottle of Odwalla that she brought for breakfast, so we make do with that. We're assuming since it's cold, we won't be sweating as much.

We head down to registration. First it's the green wristband on the left wrist for food and SAG and we receive our patches. Then it's over to the line for commemorative socks (yellow) and the T-shirt I ordered. Quick trip to the bathrooms, fill up with water, and we're off just a bit before 7am.
  • 00m
  • 112 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

The ride actually consists of two loops, a 73 mile northern loop in the morning, lunch, and then a 38 mile loop in the afternoon. It's a tough century+ ride with approximately 5750' on the first loop and a total of 8550' for both loops. DW and I would ride together for the first loop and then at lunch, I'd go on to do the second loop.

It's cold and windy, but we're glad to be on the bike so we can at least start warming up. We head out on Moraga to Canyon and there aren't very many riders on the road, so it's good that it's not too crowded. We turn northward on Pinehurst (will be turning south here on the afternoon loop). This stretch is somewhat familiar because we've done it in the reverse direction on the Best of the Bay Century last year. It's a nice ride on these back roads. We pass some other cyclists and are passed by many. We start some climbing. We continue upward to Skyline and keep climbing and then it's onto Grizzly Peak Blvd. It's very misty/foggy (with significantly reduced visibility) and windy and cold. The trees have condensation which drips into big damp spots on the road. For the first couple puddles, I'm behind DW, but with spray kicking up from her rear tire, I quickly learn to stay offset from her when we go through these. We continue onto Wildcat Canyon and arrive at the first stop almost 20 miles into the ride.

It's crowded here. This is what I dislike the most about organized rides - the crowds. last week, I was very lucky because it was a small event and the week before, i was out front of most everyone so never saw anyone. not here. We take our time a bit here. Coffee and food (banana nut bread mostly for me). Bathrooms. And we're on our way.

A little climbing from here, but mostly down, down, down Wildcat Canyon Road.Sun is finally coming out and one of the woman riders nearby begins singing out "Here Comes the Sun." We end up down at San Pablo Dam Road and head north where we get to ride along the resevoir.

We keep heading north through Pinole, then Hercules and actually pass the neighborhood where I bought the Cannondale DW is riding from someone on craiglist 2+ years ago. Funny. We keep heading towards Martinez where the big refineries are, have a couple climbs, and then arrive at the next rest stop at Port Costa.

First order of business is to get in the line for the port-a-potties. It's sunny and warmer now, so i venture to take off my shell and arm warmers. Then we head over to the food. Great spread. The fresh strawberries were so ripe and delicious. Had some bananas, some baked goods, and gatorade. and then more gatorade. When we went to go back to our bikes, I saw two more cervelo's racked next to mine (not tri bikes though). Chatted with one of the cervelo guys for a bit as well as someone else wearing a Mt Diablo Challenge jersey which DW and I did last year.

We head out and it's climb, climb, climb up McEwan hill. Passed by plenty of folks and passed a few folks. It's very picturesque here in a rural/parkish way. As we get to the top, a lot of riders are there probably waiting up for their buddies to regroup. We keep going and it's one of those hills where as you approach the crest, it's steep enough down that you can't see the road down until you're over the crest.

It's pretty much downhill for the next 5 miles. Then it's another climb up Pig Farm Hill (didn't see the pigs) and another downhill and then another climb up Mama Bear. It's windy and cold here at the top, so DW I stop briefly. She takes some Tylenol since her back is hurting a bit and I put on my jacket again for the descent. Down we go and we're at the next rest stop in Briones park.

Here, I see that they have boiled potatoes so I salt those up and eat four of them. There's some V-8 juice so I have some of that (more salt). We're only 10+ miles out to get back to the high school to finish the first loop so we're making decent enough time so that I won't miss the cutoff to start the afternoon loop. We ride up to the port-a-potties (up at one of the parking lots), do our business, and then we're off.

It's a brief downhill and then we get to climb Papa Bear. Up, and up, and then down, down, down. Then we head south towards Orinda. Then we get to Moraga Way so we're getting close to the return. Moraga is pretty nasty since it has no shoulder at the final stretch so they take us around on Rheem which feels a little bit like ream, because we're just a couple miles from lunch and they throw in another climb. DW and I got separated at the light so I just went ahead and waited for her at the top. Then we go down and around and we're back at the high school for lunch.

It's about 1:15pm or so. There are a lot of cyclists already here, but there is no line for the food, which is good. A pretty good spread - there was a chinese cabbage salad, rice, cous cous, chiken, grilled marinated veggies, cookies, sodas, joint juice, and on. Tasty fare for a bike ride (certainly won't have the luxury of doing this during an IM!). I wolf down my food and check with DW to see if she wants to do the second loop (she doesn't).

I go to the bathroom, fill up my water bottle with Joint Juice, and then head out for the afternoon loop (about 1:50 pm). It's windy, very windy. Most everyone is struggling, but I just pop into aero and I'm flying by everyone, that is, the few that are doing the second loop. i see some people coming the other direction and I'm wondering if they are already finishing up the second loop or are just random riders.

It's back onto Canyon and at Pinehurst, I make a left to go south (instead of the right we did in the morning). I'm slowly picking off riders here and there. Then it's a turn onto Redwood (yes, woods were beautiful here) with some climbing and then onto Skyline which means...surprise, more climbing (and downhills, and climbing). I slowly pick off a few riders by gaining slowly on the climbs and picking up a lot of speed on them (full aero) on the downhill banzai runs.

Then we wind through some roads and then into Knowland Zoo. Funny. I pass a couple on the climb and at the top, there are a group of cyclists resting/waiting up for others. i continue on down and out of the zoo.

Then it's on to some busy streets (106th, MacArthur) and fortunately I see another cyclist ahead who navigated this since it's a little tricky. I follow him and catch up to him. I'm not sure how to maneuver through here so I just pace behind him for awhile. When we're supposed to turn left onto Lake Chabot Rd., he stays in the right hand lane and pulls over at a coffee shop where other cycles are parked.

I go on alone and it's up, up, up to Lake Chabot. this is pretty cool since I've never been to Lake Chabot. Finally, I see Lake Chabot and it is lake picturesque as you'd expect.

Then it's on to some other roads. i catch up to a guy and we're both stopped at a light. We chat a bit. I ask where the heck we are since I've never cycled anywhere near here and he says we're in Castro Valley. When the light changes, i take off. A couple turns and then I'm briefly on a road called Seven Hills Road. "Seven Hills" is NOT the name of a road you likely want to be on at mile 95 of a ride, but so be it. In any case, some climbing follows and I'm nearing the next aid station. When I started this loop, I had delusions of skipping this aid station, but the way I'm feeling now, I'm definitely going to stop here for a bit.

I pull into the aid station and there are 30-40 riders already here. i have 2 small cups of gatorade. I head to the food table and have some baked goods and fruit (I'm actually still kinda full from lunch). i head to the bathroom. Afterward, I head back to the food and grab some potato chips (you know, those thick cut, wavy ones). I have some more gatorade and chat briefly with one of the guys there who explains the remaining ride to me (two more climbs). I'm always surprised how much time people spend at aid stations. Of course, they may be resting or socializing, but I didn't see more than a handful of riders leave while I was there. I'm not one to dilly dally so I'm off again.

I head downhill, full aero and it's not long before I speed by the cyclists who left just a bit before me. Then it's onto Redwood for some climbing. This goes on for awhile and I'm passing people here and there. i finally pass another guy on a tri bike. he's on a Kestrel. He looks like he's hurting. i say to him "this is a hell of a ride to do on a tri bike" and he says back "yeah, especially if you're not used to doing hills!" Up, up, up and then some rolling downhills and then finally the downhill descent.

It's pretty zig zaggy. i soon catch up to a couple cars which are stuck behind another cyclist who is taking the downhill very conservatively. nothing I can do, but just relax. Down, down, down. We're all stuck behind the guy until we turn onto Pinehurst. I pass him and start climbing again. it's up, up and I'm still feeling decent and with the whiff of the end being near, I feel good.

It's down and then onto Canyon and then another short hill and I'm back to civilization again. I'm back in Moraga and it's pretty much a straight shot on Canyon which becomes moraga to the high school. I pull into the high school. It's a little after 4:00, maybe 4:15.
Post race
Warm down:

I don't see DW in the courtyard, so i know she's at the car. i grab some more joint juice and then ride over to the car. We pack the bikes. I stretch. i change clothes and then we're headed home!

Last updated: 2008-05-01 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 112 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: There are two routes to choose from: 73 miles (5750 ft. climb) or 112 miles (8550 ft. climb). The 112 mile route consists of two very hilly and scenic loops, one before lunch and one after. The first (or north) loop (73 miles) climbs the east side of the Oakland-Berkeley hills via Pinehurst Road, then follows the crest North into Tilden Park. (In 2008 we return to our classic route for this segment: Grizzly Peak Blvd north all the way to Spruce St, then ride the full length of Wildcat Canyon Rd.) It then drops down alongside San Pablo Reservoir heading North to the edge of the Bay and the Carquinez Strait. From there it climbs McEwen Road for a run down into Franklin Canyon and Alhambra Valley, then over Pig Farm Hill and through the hills around Briones Regional Park and Reservoir. Finally, one more climb on Rheem Blvd. takes you back to the start for lunch. Here are links to the the north loop map (PDF) and the the north loop cue sheet (PDF). The second (or south) loop (38 miles) circles Redwood and Anthony Chabot Regional Parks via Skyline and Redwood Roads. Here are links to the the south loop map (PDF) and the the south loop cue sheet (PDF).
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2008-05-05 6:39 PM

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San Francisco
Subject: Grizzly Peak Century

2008-05-05 6:59 PM
in reply to: #1383398

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Woodland, California
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
8550'???  Holy crap.  Nice job!!!!
2008-05-05 7:17 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Subject: ...
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2008-05-05 8:59 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
Once again, mighty impressive! Kudos, Donato.
2008-05-05 10:03 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Berkeley, Calif.
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century

Wow! Awesome ride. I've done lots of these loops in small sections, and I know how brutal they can be, even if you're just doing them in 20- or 30-mile chunks. I'm super impressed that you tackled all of that in one day.


2008-05-05 11:12 PM
in reply to: #1383398

SF Bay Area, CA
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
Three weeks, three rides... and a marathon to boot. You're ready for Lanzarotte IM!

2008-05-06 9:21 AM
in reply to: #1383398

Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
You picked a cold day. I live on that hill on Rheem, but I don't try to bike it. I've run it a couple of times, but it's nasty.

Great race!
2008-05-06 9:22 AM
in reply to: #1383398


Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century

Oooh, especially nice job on the food report--love the photo. BTW--I can't grill a steak to save my life. DH is a vegetarian, so sometimes when he goes out of town I give it a whirl. I might as well order in...


You are awesomely fit for IM Lanzarote! 

2008-05-06 2:08 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
Solid stuff Donato. Good luck with the steaks next time.....
2008-05-06 6:28 PM
in reply to: #1383398

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2008-05-06 6:51 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Santa Cruz, California
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
FABULOUS RIDE! I didn't know this was going on...and in Moraga. Some beautiful country..and the food looked mighty good, too! Congrats on your finish!

2008-05-06 7:11 PM
in reply to: #1383398

NorCal, near Lake Tahoe, Ca
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
I'm exhausted just reading the ride report. Good job, Donato!
2008-05-06 7:29 PM
in reply to: #1383398

So Cal.
Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century

Thanks for such a descriptive report. 

8550?, you're an animal, Donato.

2008-05-07 9:10 PM
in reply to: #1383398

Subject: RE: Grizzly Peak Century
Great race report, Donato! The food pic looks fantastic!
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