April 21, 2018

Sounds of Spring

Oh, that enticing ribbon of road! One rider claimed to see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierras in the distance, but there was too much haze for me. I was tempted, oh-so-tempted, to head down the other side of Patterson Pass, but that was not part of today's plan.

View to the east of wind turbines and green hills from the summit of Patterson Pass Road, Livermore, California
Another rider matter-of-factly identified the repeated trill of a nearby western meadowlark. They'd seen peacocks, too; I had recognized their cries but I didn't catch a glimpse. None of us could miss the spectacle of hundreds of red-winged blackbirds swarming in a brushy field we'd passed. What a cacophony!

Frogs croaked, goats bleated, sheep baaed, wild turkeys gobbled, cattle mooed, cyclists panted.

By the time I reached the base of Morgan Territory Road, I had recovered enough to make the turn with the rest of the group. Why not?

View to the west of green hills and grazing cattle from the lower portion of Morgan Territory Road, Livermore, California
Why not? Because I had climbed the front side once before (and I remembered it well).

But, here I was, again. When I met an SUV coming down the steepest section, I stopped debating whether to attempt it. [I walked.]

View to the north of a rocky peak and green hills, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, Livermore, California
I wondered at the rocky peak in the distance, so clearly visible from the park where we'd stopped, just past the summit.

Close-up of orange California poppies with pep's bicycle in the background, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, Livermore, California
The green hills will fade to gold all too soon, and the poppies will shed their petals and seeds.

Our return via Collier Canyon Road was unfamiliar, and unexpectedly lovely—a very pleasant surprise.

I've been commuting by bicycle with more determination, and it is paying off. My most challenging ride of the year: 43 miles, 3,090 feet of climbing, with no regrets.

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