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Exploring trails on my own!

I decided to check out what I call "the Benicia hills!" It is the open space/farming land north of Benicia, between Vallejo and Lake Hernan.

I ride from home so I need to make sure that I have enough energy to come back home…

A bit nervous as I don’t have a clue what I will find, how those trails are but full of excitement for been out there pedaling!

I will be on the Bay Area Ridge trail, to get to the headrail I follow a route that I do many times to get to Benicia area, through Vallejo’s streets. Reaching the entrance through a parking lot on Rose Dr; then you are right there!, the hills in front of you!

A small hill, going up from the start! The beginning are a couple of zig zags and, a sort of a straight section, with an 11.3% incline grading on a 0.66 km/0.41 mile distance, as per strata’s calculations!

I’m already puffing when a reach the first crest! I have a quick chat with a guy hiking that tells me, he used to ride bikes around here but no any longer… I think he had his 2 knees with those fabric supporters around them… also he warns me to go slow as the trail is quite rutted out… Oh sh… what have I done, where did I come?…

Never mind, I’m committed know, my mind is already set to do the trail all the way to Ascot Pkwy entrance… and when my mind is set to reach a point I have to achieve it!!

Slowly follow the zig zag down, I crossed the guy a couple of times as I do stop to, ether asses the trail, to get my nerves to settle down!, to take pictures or just to look around me! It is a beautiful, a bit of haze in the distance and it is so nice to be out here! No cars, no people, no much city noises!! The rolling hills are so green these winter days!

As it’s said: What it goes up, goes down! Well… and up again to the next crest through a couple tricky zig zags (for my biking experience…), I walked one or two.., I’m very proud to conquered the other corners! Claiming some straight sections to reach a marking post and trails going to different areas; I turned to the left.

Another challenging hill (for me!), zig zags, straight trail with a 10.9% grade… and the last bit of 12.6%… I walked some meters here and there…, by the time I reach the bench I’m supper puffing! There is no room in my chest for my very accelerated heart!

Wow! The views all around are gorgeous! Lake Hernan down there; lots of black cows spotted around, grassing!; the open cut mine to the northeast showing the bright colors of its rocky walls! Vallejo City and the north of the San Francisco Bay; mountains all around! So pretty!

Now is going down time… I don’t like speed so this is going to be tricky… the distance to the head trail on Ascot Pkwy is way shorter so the grade will be greater… and!, to make it worth I take the wrong trail…! The one that goes pretty much down the slop… the short cut, the one with no zig zag… but I was already riding down…, no returning now… Hands on both breaks I managed to reach the trail with the zig zags! Only then I realized that I have taken the wrong path though it wasn’t that bad! I enjoyed it!

Then you follow a bit up through more zig zags!, to the crest of the last little hill, now I can see Ascot Pkwy!

But, I still have to go down hill… I walked all the corners of the zig zags here, I’m not confident enough to ride down on tight corners… and walked other sections as well!

What a great ride!

I’m glad most of the way home is sort of down hill! Overall a 19 km/11.8 mile ride!

Two days later!, I take on exploring the other section of these rolling hills!

From the entrance on Ascot Pkwy (from home) all the way to Lake Hernan!, under a gorgeous, warmish sunny afternoon!

Claiming up to the first crest on an 11.2% grade section, this time I followed the actually right trail, the one with the zig zags, to the top. I did manage to ride all the way up only getting of the bike to do the tight corners on the firsts zig zags! A good spot for picture taken!, catching up my breath, to appreciate the beautiful views!

Following the ridge with slow inclines here and there reaching the maker where I turned left the first day!, again… following the trail to the left going towards Benicia; when suddenly the hill seems to do not have a slop on the other side… mmm! You can’t see the slop at all… I’m in trouble here… I should’ve turned right to go down on the zig zag section that I already knew but wanting to “explore” and trace new trails… I ended up in this slop with a crazy down hill incline… I’m walking!… ha! Ha! Ha!

I did walk all the way down to the intersection where I will turn left again. This down hill was -18.5% grade in a 200 m/0.12 mile distance… my legs where hurting from just walking down…

Now the trail follows the contour of the suburbs, to your right a continuos fence line of all type of materials, to the left open space and green rolling hills! Slow ups and downs, a section with fence to both sides and again more open space! It is so pretty! Farther ahead, it is a section of the trail where there is not slop on the left side… it is not a cliff but nether a slop… my vertigo quickly kicks in…, I have to concentrated hard not to fall to the left… scary for me but I managed!

Crossed a couple of hiker, very kin to encouraged me to keep going, “you doing well”! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Happy to be back to known land!, at the intersection of Benicia Community Park. From there to Lake Hernan and back home along Lake Hernan Rd, Ascot Pkwy and Redwood Pkwy!

So happy for the achievement of exploring, riding on my own!; such wonderful exercise!

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