Ride Recap – HCC Saturday Ride – 02/28/2015 – Nifty Five Fifty (5000 ft in 50 miles with Walls!!)


Ride recap by Chris B.

What’s up HCC!

This past Saturday the HCC decided to change things up with a slightly more difficult ride compared to last weekends ride. A climbers delight type ride with Andy M’s Nifty Five Fifty ride. Which would serve up 5500ft climbing in 50 miles.

The group met up at the usual meet up spot, the Hercules Starbucks at 7:45am. We had a solid group of dozen including a new rider Megan who joined the group on this ride. Welcome Megan!!

After a quick meet and greet the group departed the Starbucks at about 8am. It was a cool slightly overcast day in the morning with a possible chance of rain in the forecast, but that didn’t hold the riders back from hitting the road towards Pinole.


The pace through the Pinole Valley was a nice and easy social pace as the group was in for a big day of climbing. Starting with the infamous Mama bear climb and Happy Valley climb. Great way to warm up!

At the top of the Happy Valley climb the group would regroup for a quick snack break. Then a nice fast descent to our next climb the big boy El Toyonal/Lomas Cantadas (aka the toenail climb).

This climb is not for the faint of heart! It’s a 3 mile climb with 1,236ft of elevation gain and avg. grade of 7.6% with some sections in the 15% range. Talk about rule 5!


After the lung burning climb the group would take a well deserve break at the Berkeley Steam Trains for snacks and bottle refills.

Then it was on to our next climb a short climb up to Volmer Peak. This one didn’t disappoint with a wall at its steepest 28% grade! Ouch!


We did have a slight mishap on the wall as Jeff clipped a tree limb which slowed his momentum and he fell. Happy to report he was uninjured.

After taking in the nice summit view of the San Francisco Bay and a quick photo op it was time to head to the next climb the mighty Centennial Boulevard!


But first, what goes up, must come down with a nice fast descent from Grizzly Peak to Claremont. From there the group took a nice social pace as we made our way to our next climb Centennial Boulevard.

Centennial Boulevard is a brutal 1.7 mile climb to Grizzly Peak with and avg. 8.8% grade with pitches in the 18% range. After this punishing climb the group would split up at South Park and Grizzly Peak with some of the group going for a second helping of
Centennial Boulevard Bunch of SAVAGES!!

The rest of us would finish our ride with a nice ride through Wild Cat Canyon and a final climb through the three bears rollers.

When we reached Pinole Valley Rd. it was a quick return to Hercules to end this rewarding ride!! I want to give Ronald Magcauas props who broke a cleat during the ride and did all the climbs having to stay seated well played sir!!

Next weekend we have another climbers delight ride with the Arlighton/Lafayette loop. So get your climbing legs ready!! Until the next ride HCC! Rubber side down!! Cheers!

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