October 22, 2011

Wheels for Meals Ride

We did the Wheels for Meals Ride for the second year in a row. The bike ride benefits the Meals on Wheels Program in Alameda County. Again there was a 15 mile ride, a 35 mile ride and a 70 mile ride. We did the 15 mile ride last year and had planned to do a longer one this year but because we would be doing this the day before a race we decided to do the 15 mile ride again. We pre-registered online for $20 per person and were glad we did because the event sold-out. We drove out to Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area and paid the $6 entrance fee. There are several paved and unpaved parking areas at the park and we ended up parking in a dirt/gravel lot. We got our bikes and gear together and rode over to the check-in area. In attempt to avoid congestion, the three routes were given a designated hour to be able to check-in and start the ride. We were able to check-in and start our ride between 9am and 10am. At check-in we received bibs for our bikes and a color coded wristband that matched our route markers on the ride. The route markers for the 15 mile ride were green so we followed the green route markers on our ride. The wristband would also be needed after the ride for our t-shirt and lunch, both of which were included as part of the event fee. There was water and bagels available before the ride. After check-in we got back on our bikes and headed through the parking lot and up our first hill to make our way out of the park. The route for the 15 mile ride was very similar to last years route. First we headed east on Stanley Blvd which was under contruction. Because of the construction we rode on the street itself instead of on the bike path we used last year. We then rode through some quiet and beautiful residential streets in Livermore. After about five miles we reached our first rest stop at Charles Borromeo Church. The volunteers here were dressed up in a patriotic theme, even the dog had a costume. They offered water, lemonade, candy, fruit and PB&J mini sandwiches. We had some snacks and rested in the shade for a few minutes before continuing on our ride. After a short while we found ourselves riding on Vineyard and Wetmore bike paths where we were rewarded with great views. After climbing and descending we found ourselves at the second rest stop. This stop was at Sycamore Grove Park. The volunteers here had decorated the area with a Hawaii theme and wore island attire. They had Hawaiian themed music playing as well. There was water, fruit, candy, jerkey and PB&J mini sandwiches. After another brief break in the shade we hopped back on our bikes and on the bike path. After some turns we made a right onto Isabel Road and continued on the bike path until we reached Stanley Blvd. We turned left here and road back to Shadow Cliffs. As we rode back to the Lakeside Picnic Area there were volunteers cheering us on. We found a spot for our bikes in the "Bike Parking" area on the grass and then picked up our event t-shirts. We then lined up for our BBQ lunch which consisted of ribs, sausages, chicken, muffins, potato salad, coleslaw and fruit. We took a short walk to a shaded picnic table and enjoyed our food. We passed by the sponsor booths on our way back to our bikes and then rode back to our car to head home. It was a great event again this year. It was very well organized and the weather cooperated-it was wam and sunny. We will definitely participate again next year, maybe we'll even do a longer ride.

Wheels for Meals Website