Spring 2021 Century-Prep Ride Series
So, you're comfortable on bike rides of up to 25 miles, and you've always wanted to ride a century, but weren't sure you could? Or maybe you've ridden longer distances in the past but you've been dormant for the winter and now you'd like to get back in shape? If yes, this ride series is for you!
This spring, GPC is giving a series of two warm up rides followed by seven rides for intermediate bicyclists who want to build stamina and increase range. The rides will be on nine consecutive Sundays, starting in March, and will gradually progress in distance from about 25 to about 55 miles. All are over moderately hilly terrain, similar to that of our Century, and they cover many of the classic loops of the East Bay. Those who complete the series should be well-prepared to ride at least the 76-mile (metric century) loop of our Century in May, as well as many other great club rides.
The two warm up rides start at 10am and the remaining seven rides in the series start at 9am, and almost all start at BART stations to encourage auto-free transit. It's easy to take a bike on BART; we recommend you learn how. Using BART can greatly expand your riding area and give you the flexibility of beginning and ending a ride at different places.
Everyone is welcome at the ride series. There is no fee and no need to sign up in advance. Later this year we will give a gentler series of 'Novice Rides' aimed at encouraging less experienced cyclists to stretch themselves a bit.
The Ride Leaders
Each ride will have several club members designated as leaders. They will have planned the route, printed cue sheets or maps, and will have everyone sign in. The ride leaders will guide people through the route, make sure no one is left behind due to mechanical or physical problems, and/or suggest a 'bail-out' route to those unable to complete the ride. We encourage calling the leaders in advance with any questions about the ride. In addition, other GPC members will be on the rides to offer assistance, helpful hints, or just moral support.
Each rider is responsible for bringing a suitable bicycle. For the century-prep rides, a road bike is recommended but not required. No safety inspection will be performed, but riders with obviously unsafe bikes will be discouraged from participating. Bicycles should be lubed and tires fully inflated to the pressure marked on the side of the tire. Riders are encouraged to carry a basic tool kit with at least a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and pump. Assistance from GPC members will be available for roadside flats and adjustments.
Bicycles are vehicles operating on public roads and must obey all traffic regulations, including traffic signals, pedestrian and other right-of-way rules, lane indications, and plain common sense. Riders should remain single file unless conditions clearly permit otherwise. Ride series and Century participants must wear approved bicycle helmets. The first two rides are preceded by optional safety sessions.
Riders should carry at least one water bottle and drink regularly, and also carry an energy bar or similar small snack. Longer rides usually have a food stop, so bring money or lunch. Clothing is a matter of personal preference. Lycra is not required; however, riders should choose clothing that won't chafe and should dress in layers to be prepared for all reasonable temperature extremes. Rain cancels the ride. If weather is questionable, call a ride leader.
2021 Century-Prep Ride Schedule
Sun Mar 7 - Warm Up Ride #1 SPDR and Wildcat
A few low hills, 25 miles
Wipe off the winter dust and join us for the first of two Warm Up Rides that will help get you ready for the Century Prep Ride Series. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at North Berkeley BART. Ride to San Pablo Dam Rd and climb Wildcat Canyon to Spruce; then return to BART.
Sun Mar 14 - Warm Up Ride #2 Tunnel Rd and Pinehurst
Hilly, a few steep ones, 25 miles
Get ready for the Century Prep Ride Series with the second of two Warm Up Rides. Meet at 10:00 a.m. (careful, Daylight Saving Time begins today) at Rockridge BART. Climb Tunnel Rd to Skyline, continue to Redwood, then climb back to Skyline via Pinehurst, which is the first big challenge of the Grizzly Peak Century! Descend Shepherd Canyon back to Montclair Village and back to BART.
Sun Mar 21 - Ride #3 The Bears and a Bit
Moderately hilly, 27 miles
Meet 9:00 a.m. at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride north on Camino Pablo/San Pablo Dam Rd, then clockwise around the hills known as The Three Bears, then counterclockwise on the little-traveled El Toyonal loop to return to BART.
Sun Mar 28 - Ride #4 Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak Loop
Moderately hilly, 30 miles
Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak Loop Meet 9:00 a.m. at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will tackle Pinehurst, Skyline then Grizzly Peak, following the route of the century. We will then descent Wildcat and return to Orinda BART.
Sun Apr 4 - Ride #5 East Bay Hills
Moderately hilly, 35 miles
Meet 9:00 a.m.at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride north on Camino Pablo, climb Wildcat Canyon, Grizzly Peak Blvd, Skyline Blvd, descend Redwood Road, then return via Pinehurst, Canyon, Moraga Way.
Sun Apr 11 - Ride #6 Three Small Walls
Moderately hilly, 40 miles
Meet at 9:00 a.m. at El Cerrito Del Norte BART, east side station entrance. Ride San Pablo Dam Rd to Appian Way, through Pinole and Crockett, climb McEwen (small wall #1, the hardest climb of the century!). Return via Martinez, Alhambra Valley, Pig Farm Hill (wall #2), El Sobrante, and Hillcrest (wall #3).
Sun Apr 18 - Ride #7 Morgan Territory
Moderately hilly, 52 miles
Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pleasant Hill BART Ride goes clockwise around Mt. Diablo via Morgan Territory Road, which is a fairly difficult climb.
Sun Apr 25 - Ride #8 Century South Loop
Moderately hilly, 44 miles
Meet 9:00 a.m. at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will do the old, traditional South loop, not just the out-and-back that the century now does. Ride to Redwood Road and the Grizzly Peak Century South Loop through the zoo, past Chabot Park and back.
Sun May 2 - Ride #9 Century North Loop
Hilly, a few steep ones, 48 miles
Meet 9:00 a.m. at Orinda BART west parking lot. We will ride the Grizzly Peak North Loop starting with San Pablo Dam Road, Castro Ranch Road, scenic San Pablo Blvd, Carquinez Scenic Drive, McEwen, Alhambra Valley followed by the Three Bears.