History of the SFR Del Puerto Canyon 200km

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Rob Hawks

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Oct 5, 2021, 1:20:52 AM10/5/21
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Way back, in the early years of RUSA, many regions only listed at most four events: 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and by early summer, most regions were done for the year. In the middle of the Aughts, this began to change and regions began to expand their calendars into the later months of the year. In 2008, SFR extended the brevet year into October by offering the Winters 200km for the first time, and in 2009 offered a November 200km which that year was a 2nd iteration of the Point Reyes Lighthouse 200km. In 2010 the November brevet was the Two Rock/Valley Ford 200km. In 2011 though the November offering was a new-to-SFR 200km route: The Del Puerto Canyon 200km. This route became the de facto November 200km route through 2019, after which, all calendars unfortunately seemed to have more than 12 pages, and little seemed normal any more.

The Del Puerto Canyon 200km route first existed as a perm route, created by Bruce Berg. In 2009 and 2010 groups of SFR members would ride this route as a perm in November and December so it seemed naturally suited to become a regular Fall SFR brevet route. Right from the start, this brevet would draw pretty large turnouts. The first year, 2011, there were 90 riders who participated. With only one exception, 2017, the start roster was always over 100 riders, ranging from 101 to 131 starters. In 2017, the regularly wonderful Fall weather was not so wonderful and that ride began in rain and as a result there were quite a few no-shows at the start. In 2020, the route was listed twice on the calendar, but the March edition was cancelled by the stay at home orders stemming from the pandemic and brevets had not resumed by November either. Finally the route was run again this May, but with the smallest turnout ever of 23 riders.

Before the route became a RUSA permanent, it was a club ride that started and ended in Livermore and in between went out into the agricultural landscape of the Central Valley, from Tracy southward to Patterson, then climbed the canyon from which the route gets its name, before the return on Mines road. To make the 200km distance, the start was moved to northwest Pleasanton, and a traverse of the flat suburban terrain allowed for a lengthy warm up outbound and a much less challenging final leg to the finish.

As an early November event, the first 10 miles or so for nearly all iterations have been in finger numbing cold but the common pattern has been mild weather through the afternoon, often under gorgeous blue skies. Well, most of the time.

As mentioned, there is a fair bit of flat across the route. Riders don't really notice just where the first climb begins, given the ever so gradual elevation gain but 13 miles in that changes and it now hard to ignore the Coral Hollow climb. A gloriously fast descent past the ATV park and a long, long gradual downhill lets pacelines form that cruise along at 25mph for miles. One small bump and then riders are dumpted into the Central Valley on the verges of Tracy. Long stretches on straight roads leads riders back toward the edge of the hills to the west where the canyon opening brings riders up past a failed attempt at orchards, and finally into the canyon itself. Once more the climbing is almost imperceptable and for almost 20 miles riders can keep a steady pace. That changes though and gone is the 2+% grade, replaced with a wicked stretch of 10% or more for about a mile and a half. Most riders have regained normal breathing rhythms by the time they reach the Junction Bar and Grill where the penultimate control is.  From that control there are two peaks to climb, one nearly getting to 3000' in elevation but following that is a super long, mostly downhill run back toward Livermore.

This route brings back many familiar faces year after year. Nearly half (224) of all riders that have ever ridden the brevet (556) have done it twice or more times. The total number of finishers is just shy of 1000 (991) so this November we are likely to pass that threshold. Here are the most frequent riders on this event:

HAWKS, Rob 9
ANDERSEN, Carl 8
KILGORE, Bryan 8
SCHROER, Sarah 7
UZ, Metin 7
LARSEN, Eric 6
MCCUMBER, Kaley 6
MERRITT, Greg 6
MONTENERO, Ernesto 6
PHAM, Irving 6
PIERCE, Jason 6
POTIS, John 6
SYMONS, Andrea 6
CURD, John 5
FRIEDLY, Gabrielle 5
GOLDENBERG, Benjamin 5
JOHNSON, Ken 5
MARSH, Jesse 5
MARSHALL, Eric 5
MCKENZIE, Paul 5
SOKOLSKY, Larry 5

It is possible that the order above may change a bit after this November, as a few of the names above have retired from riding brevets.

Sixteen times riders have completed the route in under 7 hours, with the fastest time being 6:38. The average finishing time is 9 hours, 20 minutes and the median time is 9:18. In 2011, one rider finished in 13:29 and another came steaming in one minute later.

Megan Arnold

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Oct 5, 2021, 10:57:19 AM10/5/21
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Rob,

Thank you for the history and statistics! This route is also wonderful to do in the spring when the hills are green (assuming there's been rain...) and wildflowers are out!

Which, speaking of rain and water supply, it's been mentioned on this list that the days for this route may be numbered, unless you go aquabike, as there is a proposed reservoir that would put a stretch of Del Puerto Canyon Road under water. https://delpuertocanyonreservoir.com/
About Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir. The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir would be located in Del Puerto Canyon in the Coast Range foothills west of Patterson and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, just west of I-5.
According to the timeline on the above webpage, it would now be in the "Design and land acquisition phase" but there were some objections to the project in general and to the Environmental Impact Report in particular, and I believe at least one lawsuit filed against it, but there doesn't seem to be any recent news about what happened with any of that.

- Megan

Greg Merritt

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Oct 5, 2021, 12:25:59 PM10/5/21
to San Francisco Randonneurs
From the 2017 edition, at the Junction control:


-Greg

Eric Linser

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Oct 5, 2021, 12:47:12 PM10/5/21
to em...@hotmail.com, SF Randonneurs, rob....@gmail.com
There is also a fascinating write-up on Del Puerto Canyon here: https://thevalleycitizen.com/del-puerto-canyon-then-and-now-a-controversy/  There are also some disturbing things that have occurred on the road too (search 'del puerto canyon murders' if you have an penchant for such). Cycling-wise, an arduous climb on a hot day. The Junction bar & grill should be open so a great stop to refresh after Del Puerto Canyon. 

Excerpt from article (from link above):  The flowing artesian well was an important stop along “La Vereda de Montana” or “the Mountain Trail,” that was used by cross country Native American and Mexican travelers between Northern and Southern California who wanted to make their way through the Diablo Range undetected. The hidden trail through the lower Gateway and along Del Puerto Creek was a natural pathway that connected travelers with Adobe Springs, the San Antone Valley, and La Vereda Montana.

Indians looking to escape the coastal missions were also able to ditch Spanish search parties in the mazes of the mountains here, giving credence to their description of the mountains being “of the devil,” hence the name, “Diablo Range.”  Tributaries of the canyon with names such as “Hideout Canyon,” “Murderer’s Gulch,” and others allude to their mysterious pasts.

Following the Spanish and Native American era in the canyon, Mexican horse drovers from Sonora Mexico—including the infamous Joaquin Murrieta—traveled through the Gateway from the 1820s when the land was Mexico, up until United States occupation in the early 1850s.These skilled horsemen utilized Del Puerto’s many “box” canyons to stash wild mustangs until gathering them for the annual drove of up to 300 head south through the mountain trail to the next watering hole, and eventually to their hometown in Sonora, Mexico where the healthy mustangs would be sold.

I look forward to riding the route again November 6th. 

Eric Linser



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Rob Hawks

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Oct 5, 2021, 12:55:40 PM10/5/21
to Drew Levitt, Megan Arnold, SF Randonneurs
There is an SFR member who is pretty up to date on the details and i recall, maybe even correctly, him saying that the reroute would happen first so access to the route may not be as threatened as one might worry.

Rob


On Tue, Oct 5, 2021, 9:50 AM Drew Levitt <drew....@gmail.com> wrote:
Without commenting on the merits of the proposed reservoir project, I'd note that the project includes a rerouting of the lower stretch of Del Puerto Canyon Road - about the bottom 6 miles or 1/4 of the road. See PDF page 45 of the final EIR: https://delpuertocanyonreservoir.com/assets/pdf/reports/Del-Puerto-Canyon-Reservoir-Final-EIR-Vol-I.pdf Some quick poking around on Google Maps suggests the mileage (and maybe the elevation) of the new alignment would be similar to the current route. D

On Tue, Oct 5, 2021 at 7:57 AM Megan Arnold <em...@hotmail.com> wrote:
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Greg Merritt

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Oct 5, 2021, 1:21:34 PM10/5/21
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What disturbs me to this day is the racist alternate name of the Gray Pine (*igger Pine) on a sign of a ranch on Mines Road just a bit beyond the Cal Fire station as you return north on Mines Road.

-Greg


Rob Hawks

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Oct 5, 2021, 4:36:23 PM10/5/21
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I had forgotten that RUSA's database stores results using the person's name at the time of submission, and it doesn't change this when the rider has updated their name in the RUSA database. As a result, there are a number of 'Jim' and 'James' for the same person, and 'Buzzy' and 'Buzzy Thomas' entries for the same person and in my spreadsheet the pivot table doesn't merge those for the counts. I've cleaned up what I can and below there will be an updated table. I'll also update any totals expressed in the text if needed. (no, I can't sort by RUSA number because there are over 100 entries for riders that were never RUSA members, so the sort field is name.)

rob

On Mon, Oct 4, 2021 at 10:20 PM Rob Hawks <rob....@gmail.com> wrote:
Way back, in the early years of RUSA, many regions only listed at most four events: 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and by early summer, most regions were done for the year. In the middle of the Aughts, this began to change and regions began to expand their calendars into the later months of the year. In 2008, SFR extended the brevet year into October by offering the Winters 200km for the first time, and in 2009 offered a November 200km which that year was a 2nd iteration of the Point Reyes Lighthouse 200km. In 2010 the November brevet was the Two Rock/Valley Ford 200km. In 2011 though the November offering was a new-to-SFR 200km route: The Del Puerto Canyon 200km. This route became the de facto November 200km route through 2019, after which, all calendars unfortunately seemed to have more than 12 pages, and little seemed normal any more.

The Del Puerto Canyon 200km route first existed as a perm route, created by Bruce Berg. In 2009 and 2010 groups of SFR members would ride this route as a perm in November and December so it seemed naturally suited to become a regular Fall SFR brevet route. Right from the start, this brevet would draw pretty large turnouts. The first year, 2011, there were 90 riders who participated. With only one exception, 2017, the start roster was always over 100 riders, ranging from 101 to 131 starters. In 2017, the regularly wonderful Fall weather was not so wonderful and that ride began in rain and as a result there were quite a few no-shows at the start. In 2020, the route was listed twice on the calendar, but the March edition was cancelled by the stay at home orders stemming from the pandemic and brevets had not resumed by November either. Finally the route was run again this May, but with the smallest turnout ever of 23 riders.

Before the route became a RUSA permanent, it was a club ride that started and ended in Livermore and in between went out into the agricultural landscape of the Central Valley, from Tracy southward to Patterson, then climbed the canyon from which the route gets its name, before the return on Mines road. To make the 200km distance, the start was moved to northwest Pleasanton, and a traverse of the flat suburban terrain allowed for a lengthy warm up outbound and a much less challenging final leg to the finish.

As an early November event, the first 10 miles or so for nearly all iterations have been in finger numbing cold but the common pattern has been mild weather through the afternoon, often under gorgeous blue skies. Well, most of the time.

As mentioned, there is a fair bit of flat across the route. Riders don't really notice just where the first climb begins, given the ever so gradual elevation gain but 13 miles in that changes and it now hard to ignore the Coral Hollow climb. A gloriously fast descent past the ATV park and a long, long gradual downhill lets pacelines form that cruise along at 25mph for miles. One small bump and then riders are dumpted into the Central Valley on the verges of Tracy. Long stretches on straight roads leads riders back toward the edge of the hills to the west where the canyon opening brings riders up past a failed attempt at orchards, and finally into the canyon itself. Once more the climbing is almost imperceptable and for almost 20 miles riders can keep a steady pace. That changes though and gone is the 2+% grade, replaced with a wicked stretch of 10% or more for about a mile and a half. Most riders have regained normal breathing rhythms by the time they reach the Junction Bar and Grill where the penultimate control is.  From that control there are two peaks to climb, one nearly getting to 3000' in elevation but following that is a super long, mostly downhill run back toward Livermore.

This route brings back many familiar faces year after year. Nearly half (222) of all riders that have ever ridden the brevet (526) have done it twice or more times. The total number of finishers is just shy of 1000 (991) so this November we are likely to pass that threshold. Here are the most frequent riders on this event:

HAWKS, Rob 9
ANDERSEN, Carl 8
Kilgore, Bryan 8
McCaw, Richard 7
Ross, Roy 7
Schroer, Sarah 7
Uz, Metin 7
Clarkson, Bryan 6
Feinberg, Brian 6
Larsen, Eric 6
MCCUMBER, Kaley 6
Merritt, Greg 6
MONTENERO, Ernesto 6
PHAM, Irving 6
Pierce, Jason 6
POTIS, John 6
Sexton, Robert 6
Symons, Andrea 6
Beckham, Jon 5
Curd, John 5
Friedly, Gabrielle 5
GOLDENBERG, Benjamin 5
JOHNSON, Ken 5
Klein, Ann 5
MARSH, Jesse 5
Marshall, Eric 5
McHugh, Matthew 5
McKenzie, Paul 5
SOKOLSKY, Larry 5
BEATO, Keith 4
BERKA, Becky 4
BEVAN, Roland 4
Brier, Bill 4
BUDVYTIS, Gintautas 4
BUNTROCK, Robert 4
CARLSON, Drew 4
DRISCOLL, Tom 4
DUNCAN, Scott 4
ELGOOD, Mark 4
EMERSON, Ken 4
GAO, Teng 4
GOURSOLLE, Kitty 4
Hicks, Craig 4
HOMRIGHAUSEN, Mark 4
LAW, Todd 4
LAYN, Fred 4
MERRILL, Peter 4
Meskienyar, Qasim 4
Moyles, James 4
Myers, Sandra 4
MYSZA, Michael 4
PLACIAKIS, Vidas 4
PLESKOVITCH, Lyresa 4
PLUMB, Alex 4
POLETTO, Massimiliano 4
REDMOND, Robert 4
ROGERS, Phil 4
Theriault, Michael 4
WALKER, David 4
WILSON, Bruce A 4
Wilson, Charles 4

Megan Arnold

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Oct 6, 2021, 8:32:14 AM10/6/21
to Rob Hawks, Drew Levitt, SF Randonneurs
ah, that makes sense. It's not a major road, but I suppose it should have occurred to me that they wouldn't just flood it with no alternative. although that sure is what the picture on the web page makes it look like is going to happen. Maybe they were trying to keep the visual simple?

- Megan


From: Rob Hawks <rob....@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 9:55 AM
To: Drew Levitt <drew....@gmail.com>
Cc: Megan Arnold <em...@hotmail.com>; SF Randonneurs <sfra...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [SFRandon] History of the SFR Del Puerto Canyon 200km
 

jinu...@gmail.com

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Oct 6, 2021, 2:23:09 PM10/6/21
to San Francisco Randonneurs
I'm sad I didn't get to ride the Spring Del Puerto this year.  Looking forward to doing this as a perm in the future - I imagine a green Del Puerto is amazing as mentioned above.
- JinUk

Drew Levitt

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Oct 11, 2021, 11:18:26 AM10/11/21
to em...@hotmail.com, SF Randonneurs, rob....@gmail.com
Without commenting on the merits of the proposed reservoir project, I'd note that the project includes a rerouting of the lower stretch of Del Puerto Canyon Road - about the bottom 6 miles or 1/4 of the road. See PDF page 45 of the final EIR: https://delpuertocanyonreservoir.com/assets/pdf/reports/Del-Puerto-Canyon-Reservoir-Final-EIR-Vol-I.pdf Some quick poking around on Google Maps suggests the mileage (and maybe the elevation) of the new alignment would be similar to the current route. D

On Tue, Oct 5, 2021 at 7:57 AM Megan Arnold <em...@hotmail.com> wrote:
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