Thursday, March 6, 2008

Weekend Ride on East Bay Hills

The weather was so nice on saturday and my girlfriend and I haven't gone out for a longish ride for a couple of weeks, so after picking up some usual produces at the farmers market we set out for a longish (60 miles) hilly ride near Berkeley. I took the Romulus and she took her Torelli. In order to store all our energy bars and other incidentals such as sunscreen, camera, electrolyte tablets,etc. I put my Baggin's Little Joe on the Rom. It's the first longish ride I did on my Romulus after I built it up on Christmas Eve (I didn't have fenders on it and we have had some much-needed rainy days here in N. California).

We started in our house in downtown Berkeley, rode up the Berkeley Hills on Spruce and when we get to Grizzly Peak, took Wildcat Canyon through Tilden. After descending to Sam Pablo Dam road, we went up the Pump House Grade (the backside of Papa Bear). We attempted the nicely shaded and twisty Happy Valley Road for the first time and both liked it. It's steeper than pump house, but not as bad as some of berkeley's "death hills" (Centennial, South Park, Claremount, and Lomas Contadas, just to name a few), and it's really beautiful for various type of tall trees around. We turned around at the top and retraced our steps back to Bear Creek Road. I thought about descending on the other side of happy valley to Lafayette, but since I don't know the roads around there so well we decided that it's best to trace back. After refilling our water bottles at the Briones Park continued toward Alhambra Valley Road.

We climbed Pig Farm hill and then went through Lafayette to Reliez Valley Road. After the climb at Reliez Valley road, we rode the Lafayetter-Moraga trail back to Moraga. At this point and 5 major hills later, both of us felt a little tired especially since we haven't ridden this type of distance for a few weeks. The last climb awaited us was pinehurst, and while it is not easy, it is one of our favorite climbs anywhere. We pedaled and chatted on the narrow road leading up to the hairpin turns on topic of when a cyclist can legally take the lane, and what we should do when my parents arrive to visit later that day. The climb was pretty ok, after the second hairpin turn, we muscled up the steeper sections and got back to Oakland. Descending Tunnel Road is fairly pleasant at this hour as the sun began to set and the temperature wasn't as low as we expected.

The romulus did fabulously. My old 59cm rode well, but this 57cm version fits me like a glove. It is comfortable and still very responsive when i want to accelerate. Climbing on it is very pleasant. i am very happy with the component set as well. The Rich-built Riv stock wheels (Velocity synergy on XT hubs) are very nice. Overall, I am very happy with the bike. Now that spring is here, I expect to take it out for longer rides more often.