This is a route I particularly enjoy, in fact I’d done it as a perm in the spring to see it under green(er) conditions. It’s still pretty in the fall though, and there’s the fun of more company when it’s run as the official brevet.
There was a pretty sizeable turnout, and I got to chat with a variety of characters – er, rotating cast. heh – as we rolled out. The flat start kept a pretty big group together for a while, then some sorting by pace started to spread things out.
Outside of Livermore I rode briefly with El Toro, who was saying he hadn’t been on the bike much recently, but even at that seemed to be moving along pretty well. Sounded like he wanted to get through before he thought better of it. The first climb – ohhey when was there a fire here? – was made much more pleasant by the company of GB and Indre on their tandem.
Enjoyed the super fun descent, then grouped up with Brad and Jason for the roll past the motocrossers, the Lab, and over to Tracy. Along the way we expanded to include Renee, EricM and Therese.
Jimmy’s One Stop was still pretty mobbed with randos, but I was in no rush, so enjoyed the socializing while I found a snack and purchased it. The clerks seemed bemused by the colorful horde.
Eventually rolled out with Jason, Ann, B(ryan)FK and his wife, Amy, and spent the rest of the ride with them.
More Tour de Valley to the next stop in Patterson. Ann and I went to Starbucks, crossing paths with Captain Conspicuity, Juliayn, John and several others. (Still looking for the collective noun for randonneurs.) Jason and the Koolsgores went to KFC – Jason wanted a GoCup for his cup holder. He and Bryan were on their townie bikes.
From Patterson we headed out over the Aqueduct and on to the ride’s namesake road. It was a beautiful meander up the canyon, with notables including, but not limited to – more motocrossers, goats, and a landlocked boat. The climbing into the hills is mostly gradual, but there is a steeper section as you get toward the next stop at The Junction. When the road started tipping up, Jason started to whinge. He asked if his nose was bleeding. I don’t know. Wipe it. If it’s red, then yeah, it’s bleeding. If I’d been a little quicker I would have doubled back and punched him in said location. Hard. Enough to make said condition true. Yes. Happy now? Of course he managed to perk up and get the county line sprint just over the crest of the hill. Dang, I really should have punched him when I had the chance.
HEY THERE’S A SLIDE AT THE JUNCTION! Is that new? How had I missed it before? Sarah (in motorcycle gear, no less(!) – she’d ridden up with Alfie and Michael, Sarah’s Michael also showed up while we were there) was the only one who came over to try it out with me. What is it with the rest of you people??? I guess everyone was enjoying their sandwiches and beers too much. But I did that too. Oh and speaking of enjoying themselves, there were a couple of ladies all gussied up – or was that dressed to the nines? – middle of nowhere chic I think EricM called it, and a couple of fellows who’d apparently been there all afternoon whooping it up. I kept trying to get a picture of them without being too obvious but couldn’t quite pull it off.
From The Junction a bit more climby stuff on Mines Road. On the first one I wasn’t sure if Ann would like some company or to roll by herself, but had the revelatory thought of hey, why don’t you ask her?! Which I did, and we ended up having a lovely chat. She’s always so upbeat and positive, it’s really inspiring.
We interrupt this programming for a great Ann story – hanging around after the end of some ride (which one in particular is escaping me now) and she had champagne, which many of us think of as more of a special occasion sort thing to do – someone said something about celebrating, she said, “there’s always something to celebrate.” Why yes, there is. I’ll drink to that!
And… returning to Mines Road. We’d grouped up with Amy, and the guys were somewhere ahead. We eventually all regrouped, then were losing light and it was starting to get a bit chilly. We stopped to put on more clothes and reflective gear. Darkness fell before Livermore, but there were some great views of the lights twinkling in the distance.
Once back in town we retraced our steps to Pleasanton, picking up EricM and Charlie, the Redding Randonneur, along the way. Charlie was pleased to be riding with a group and not be lanterne rouge. Bruce, one of the creators of the route and the Dixons were there at the finish control! Good times. Excellent route, beautiful day, fun company. And OH! I almost forgot, this was my R12! If the word whoopdeef**ingdoo didn’t already exist, I’d have to make it up.
Ride date: November 7, 2015