Oh No, It’s Another Bike Post!

View from Artist Point on Mt. Diablo State Park.
View from Artist Point on Mt. Diablo State Park.
Photo by Joe Lewis.

I was talking with Julie and Maya last night at dinner about a program I was listening to on our local NPR station (“Forum” with Michael Krasny), and the topic was about our society becoming a nation of braggarts — especially on social media. And by “social media” they were talking about Facebook. I’m not going to turn this into another Facebook rant, but I will point out that one of the reasons I stopped posting images of my bike rides and MapMyRide stats on Facebook was because I felt it was kind of showing off to people who mostly couldn’t care less about me huffing and puffing around Contra Costa County on my bike. In short, I felt like I was bragging. Both Julie and Maya disagreed and said they like seeing updates from their friends when they are out and about — which I suppose is why social media is so popular.

Well, this blog has been about a lot of things, but from time to time, it’s about bicycling. And for some of you (Julie, Gina, Cherry, Jason, Andrew, Jeff, Eric and Scott) have read my blog for a long time, so you know what you’re going to get when you drop my little slice of the Internet. And today, it’s all about a good bike ride…

Off I went on my bike with James — a friend and neighbor of my brother, Steve. James is pretty hardcore when it comes to cycling. He’s on a team, has been racing for years, and is pretty engaged in the sport, the culture, and the gear. To say he’s a good rider is an understatement. But one of the things about biking (if you want to get better at it) is to cycle with folks who are better at the sport than you are. And so it goes with James.

Our workout took us up the south gate side of Mt. Diablo (also known as the “Danville side.”) It’s not as steep in parts as the north gate side (also known as the “Walnut Creek side”), but it’s still challenging. We went to just a little over 1800 feet to Rock City and to a place where James and his wife got married a few years ago (“Artist Point.”) It’s also noted as the area where my mom and step dad declared their love for each other back in the ’70s. Artist Point has a great view and it’s not difficult to see why it’s a favorite for hikers and lovers.

I wasn’t feeling much love when I got there, however. My knees were kind of aching, I lost about 5 pounds in water weight going up the mountain and was kind of spent. But, I recovered quickly and we headed back down — but not before snapping a couple of pictures.

Sucking in air before leaving "Artist Point" on Mt. Diablo State Park
Sucking in air before leaving “Artist Point” on Mt. Diablo State Park

The obligatory "pic" with James doing his best Mickey Mouse impression.
The obligatory “pic” with James doing his best Mickey Mouse impression.


On the way down, we were moving at a good clip (30 mph at various points).  Once we got down to the bottom of the hill and cruised through the “old money” community of Diablo, it was back to Danville.  However, we added another hill to the return trip.  There’s a road in Danville called El Pintado Road that is kind of a mini Mt. Diablo.  The hills are about the same grade, there’s definitely a cardio workout, but it’s a relatively short climb.  After climbing mini Mt. Diablo — also known as “Mormon Hill” because the street names have very Mormon sounding names. To wit: Brigham Drive, Logan Court, Timpanogos Lane. Well, after riding Mormon Hill and feeling like we needed special underwear to truly be worthy of being in that space (kidding, of course), we dropped down to Danville Blvd and headed back to James’ house. Overall, a really good ride.  About 25 miles, a good amount of climbing, and I was able to keep up with James…well, for the most part. Tomorrow, he asked if I was interested in a 33 miler to Sunol. I’ll most likely do it…if it’s not raining.

The big hill and the mini hill...
The big hill and the mini hill…








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