Saturday, April 30

LandPaths/Activist ride

26 miles, 4-1/2 hours, ^280 feet^ cool riding, over-cast, little wind

LandPaths, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, Santa Rosa city parks department and others covered their due diligence needs by sponsoring a ride from City Hall to points west.

Recumbents, arm-power, wheel-chairs, pedestrians, and vanilla bikes took part. Walkers and chairs went down the Greenway. Bikes and one recumbent went to CATZ coffee shop in Sebastopol.

I and another bike went to the fruit and veg market just outside of town. I continued north to Occidental road and returned home via the Willowside Middle School plant sale. Found a good, large sized water bottle from a local bike shop as I left the sale.

Wednesday, April 27

Tailwind friends

25.6 miles, 2 hours, ^300 feet^

Clo-Terium May 1st
Clo-terium May 1st, courtesy Bike Peddler

I risked a 50% chance of rain and did the Sonoma commute today. A lovely tailwind made the 12.8 miles in the AM easy. South of Glen Ellen I heard VOICES. Looking back I saw a pair of fast riders I had had whiz by several times. With the help of the wind and a slight downhill I hit 22 MPH as they passed me. Time enough to learn they were also commuting and one had NorCal Velo shorts on.

Also saw they blew through the STOP signs at the Sonoma development Center. BAD boys, what would the Ruggles (owners of NorCal Cycling) think of you, setting such a bad example for all the developmentally challenged kids there?

The Ruggles operate the bike shop on College Avenue that is more oriented to road bikes. They are opening their big new store very soon.

Monday, April 25

Coleman Valley Round Trip

20.5 miles 2.75 hours ^2722 feet^

Sunday the 24th I "led" a SRCC club ride. I had proposed a small set of rides into the lovely and very hilly land west of Occidental. This area has the second highest rating for hilliness and I felt was being avoided by new riders.

At the 9:00 AM start four other riders were waiting. One was a lady with a mountain bike ready to go down Willow Creek road; 20 miles and 1700 feet of rutted dirt road. Another was a local from Joy Road who had just joined the club. He went out to the coast and home along Hwy 1 and Hwy 12. The other two were veteran riders I knew. One went out to the coast (Hwy 1) and back as I did (much more slowly). The other stayed with me to the coast then took the 30 mile option over Hwy 1, Bay Hill road, Hwy 12, and the bohemian Hwy (shudder) to the start.

After having company to the coast I returned at a pace suitable for nature viewing. Red Columbines and other flowers were still in good form. An interesting clover had a red/magenta core cored with white tips. This clover was tough enough to be growing through fresh asphalt in places. A turtle and a pheasant were also seen.

Wednesday, April 20

Profile Fun

Found I could click on my profile words and get a list of bloggers with similiar interests. Of all bloggers, found 8 listed mining. Only one said anything about ral mining. "She" lives in one with hot wind problems. (I recommended a look into Hilsch vortex tubes.)

Time Trial

6.95 miles, 45 minutes, ^850 feet^

Did the climb up Adobe Canyon Road to the park at the end. Easier the second time. Fitter and mentally set. As I learn the way down, I descend faster. The fire road to the mountain top needs knobbier tires than I have. Will set up VELOLOGGER to save this road as a fixed course. Keys sticky, system gets that way when it's been on too long.

Tuesday, April 19

Wine Scouting

25.4 miles, 2 hours +/-, ^300 feet^

Passed three tourist cyclists preparing to check wine and olive oil tasting room just south of Glen Ellen on my way home. Decided to do a little wine tour of my own.

As mentioned before there are many wineries along my current commute route. I used the word scouting, not tasting, as I do not drink or even taste while riding or driving. I stopped at two wineries that I haven't visited in years; Mayo family winery and the Wellington winery.

The Mayo Family Winery tasting room was just being set up as I rolled in. They were pouring a dozen or so types that day, mostly '02 and '03s. They had an undated Zin port my spouse can try later. The Wellington people had the usual pinots, zins, and merlots as well as a white port and a zin port that had had its fermentation stopped with 7 year old Cognac rather than the usual grape alcohol. I hadn't heard of that before.

Saturday, April 16

Fresh Meat

31 miles; 3 hours; ^200 feet^

I'm supporting a 300K Brevet this evening so I only did the easy club ride in Windsor this AM, with 10 extra miles done to and from the route.

The route ambled through the suburbs and vineyards around Windsor. A lady showed up "On an impulse" with a borrowed bike. Her chatty enthusiasm drew in other riders like vultures to fresh meat. People talked about clothes, bikes, used bikes, bike fit, bike routes, and anything they would get her to talk about. She liked to talk too and it was entertaining to hear her verbally running over one male rider who kept interrupting her so he could talk.

Near the end of the ride I pulled along side her and asked, "Do you feel about talked out?" She indicated that maybe she was. I replied, "Well, many people like to see a new rider, it lets us tell our old stories all over again." She smiled.

Friday, April 15

Glen Ellen

25.6 miles; 1:50 hours; ^300 feet^

This was a basic Friday commute off of Hwy 12. The trip back I pushed it more than usual, as I had to get to Monte Rio by 1:30 PM.

Flushed a covey of quail as I passed the Dunbar school. The surprise made them seem loud—not as loud as grouse, though.

Thursday, April 14

Up, Up, and down

31.75 miles; 3:52:30 time; ^2800 feet^

The forecast yesterday was for less than 40 degrees, and the spouse volunteered to drive me to Sonoma so I could just ride the warm leg of the commute; the return home.

I saw this as an opportunity to catch up on my elevation gain. The Hwy 12 route home can go past Cavedale Road which leads to Trinity Road which comes back to Hwy 12. So Be It!

The turn onto Cavedale came at mile 4.5. After a quarter mile or so the real climb started. About 90% of the climb was spent in my 3 lowest gears: 19, 21, and 24 gear/inches. Speeds stayed at 4.2 to 4.6 mph. (Any faster and I promptly went over my aerobic threshold.) Every half mile or so I'd stop and have a drink of water.

At my second stop a lovely updraft was supporting a group of vultures right next to the road. Seeing these superb gliders at 15 feet or less was a thrill. I doubt they would have stayed there for a car.

At mile 4.3 I saw a lady ahead walking up the hill. A moment later the first car I'd seen on the hill came past her. "Now there is a traffic jam," I called up to her. She nodded and kept walking. I caught up with her when she stopped to check her mail at mile 4.6. We had a good chat while we both caught up with our breathing.

"This is the end of the major climb" she assured me. She had trained on the hill for a charity bike ride and had hurt her knees. Well golly gee, I thought, what a horrid place to start training. We discussed the excellent wild-flower show. I mentioned biking up Trinity Road on my way to a Christian retreat when in high school. "Oh, I know that place. It was sold ten years ago and had been a place for drug dealers and a brothel at times since then. It is up for sale again."

The grade did ease off for a half mile but bit back just before the top. Normally I don't like to go into oxygen debt on a long climb but if a good stopping place is just ahead, I will. That happened just before the top at mile 5.8. I put on my sweater for the descent ahead. A drop, short climb and another drop brought me to Trinity Road. My front brakes may still be squealing but at least they work somewhat.

A mile down the hill a FLAGMAN AHEAD sign warned me of road work. The guard stopped me, called ahead, then said I could go but watch out for the Toyota. Around the curve I found another worker had stopped the Toyota to let me go by. At the bottom of the work zone the guard there had halted all traffic until the cyclist (ME) could go by. What service!! None of the motorists honked or shook their fists. Humor the loony cyclist perhaps or just a bunch of nice people. At the bottom a short semi trailer had pulled off of Hwy 12 blocking Trinity Road. I waded through the mud on the roadside and continued north.

I found that the climb had worked my legs to the point that I could not go much over 12-13 mph. Five miles later, in Oakmont, I started to recover. Took the long cut through Spring Lake and Howard Park for variety. Got home and took a long soak in the tub.

Sunday, April 10

Uphill by Bike and Bus

22.44 miles; 2hr, 56 minutes; ^1780feet^

The SRCC had its Pine Flat Challenge today. 70 miles from town to the top of the climb and return. I was not interested in the miles, just the altitude. As an experiment in savings, I took Sonoma County Transit Bus 60 to Healdsburg and back. The driver admired the lighting system on the bike and we chatted for most of the trip north.

I started at 170 feet across the road from my spouses' car dealer. Up to 200, down to 176, then 214 at the base of the climb. I was there some 10 minutes early and found the letters P F C for Pine Flat Challenge chalked by the bridge marking the base of the climb. The letters were next to a chalked starting line.

I figured they had started already and said that to a rider who rolled up. He took off quickly and I followed him after having some more water. Most of the climb was spent in my 4 lowest gears. One to two miles later several small groups blasted past me. Even a support car. Then others came by one or two at a time. "Oh yes," the stoker on the one tandem told me "We all started a couple of minutes after Noon".

I continued, drinking and nibbling on a Powerbar. At 5 miles from the bottom I checked my time, distance and the bus schedule. If I had continued I might have made mile 6 but going to the top at mile 7 would have made me late for the 2:06 PM bus. Next bus; 4:34 PM.

I could have made the whole climb by getting home later than I wanted to. Next time.

The descent was just within the capacity of my brakes, large, thick cantilevers. I kept it to 16 to 22 MPH for safety's sake. (Stopping at 5 miles also got me off the hill before the hot shots tried coming down at 30 plus MPH.) I waited almost 30 minutes for the bus, Mile 6 would have been OK.

A genuine loony tried to get on the bus ahead of me. He had a grubby skate board, a cheesy guitar with several missing strings, sun shades with lenses shaped like little grey aliens eyes, and several eyes tattooed on his scalp. The driver, Leo, would not let him board for free. The loony finally threw what he thought was a terrible epithet at Leo, "CAPITALIST" and stomped off. When I got off I complimented Leo on how he handled the whacko.


36.34 miles; 3:04 hours; ^500 feet^

Skipped the club ride; spouse and I were recycling not cycling.

Later at 3:00 PM went out to put on some miles. Good climbs were more miles away than I wanted. Started up Old Red towards the Mill Creek climb just to have a direction to start in. Was caught and politely passed by a trio of lady racers. I could have drafted them (with their permission) but was working into a Zen mood.

West on River Road. (For those out of the area River Road follows an old railroad grade. FLAT.) Saw the miles were going well so decided for Martinelli Road. Quiet and lovely road. High point for me (see my bio) is the quarry at the south end. A short grunt up Hwy 116 into Forestville and the north end of the Joe Redota trail is available. I had hit 38 MPH going down the hill last month and was pleased to see that I didn't need the granny going up. I am making some progress.

The trail was busy compared to Martinelli, Pedestrians or bikes every 1/4 mile. Just south of Graton a hand-lettered sign on the side of the path said
Range eggs $X.xx/dozen, Ring Doorbell
I had kept up on the fluids and took a bite of a POWERBAR each time I hit the top of a rollie. Never felt too tired.

Passed through Sebastapol and turned back towards Santa Rosa, staying on the Joe Redota Trail. This trail is also on a railroad grade like River Road, the difference being the Redota Trail followed a local farm freight line over hill and dale twisting like Chubby Checker. The River route was a major passenger line before WWII and was as flat and straight as it could be made.

Nearing Santa Rosa I passed two ladies rolling slowly along. One called after me admiring my dark Red/Pink shorts. I thanked them and said I commuted and needed high visibility. The second asked where I got them. Southern California, I said.

"That figures!" caught up with me as I disappeared ahead of them.

Thursday, April 7

Mild Adventure

25 miles, 2 hours

I've said it before: "An adventure is what happens when you don't plan well." (Quoting George Mallory of Mt. Everest fame.)

Starting in Kenwood with a 30% chance of showers, I felt my lower colon rumbling as I rolled south, a warning that I could not make it to the store in Glen Elen. Having commuted for many years I had noted every single possible emergency toilet place on the whole run, so backup plans were already in place. A work crew 1 mile south of town had installed a porta-potty, behind a gate, But I had located the gap in the fence. Fortunately no one was around—I rolled through the gap, parked out of view of the main road, found toilet paper there, finished, and pedaled away staying in truck tracks on the dirt road.

Heading north again saw rain over Sonoma Mountain, ahead and upwind. As the first drops fell I peeled off the sweater and put on the TYVEK coveralls I'd found last week.

Six miles later the rain stopped and the sun came out. Off overalls and three miles to the finish. The suit acted more like a wet suit. At least it kept the chill off. As the ultramarathoner Lon Haldeman has said, "No rain gear can keep you completely dry, just warm-and-wet. I can live with that."

Wednesday, April 6

Adobe Canyon and errands

7.93 miles, 50 minutes—and about 1000 feet ^climb^

Too cold to want to commute this morning. I took the bike along and stopped at the Landmark Winery on the way home. The winery is just off of Hwy 12 in Kenwood and is by the bottom end of Adobe Canyon road. The road climbs to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The gatekeeper said his shack was at 600 feet. Oh sure, and the base is 400 feet from a topo map. I hadn't just climbed only 200 feet. I'll check it later.

I went another 1/4 mile to the Ferguson Observatory at the end of the pavement. Dirt roads go on up to the ridge overlooking Napa Valley and to the top of Pine Mountain at 2700+ feet. I turned around and imitated a dropped rock. The pavement is better than Los Alamos road but the descent is still too twisty to really open up.

Also ran errands by bike: 5.74 miles, 45 minutes, total of 13.5 miles today.

Needed to visit the PO to drop off a letter to a local quarry operation saying I'm interested in being Weighmaster at one of their road works—got the hint from the leader of the last Tuesday night dinner ride.

Then went by the mr regular office to drop off a receipt to be reimbursed. I love it when they reimburse in cash. I would like to give a link to them, but the one time I tried to send the manager an E-mail it messed up my system—still have not gotten it fixed.

Tuesday, April 5

Toxic waste ride

25 miles

(Coming up with titles is fun.) Last week I found one of the white Tyvek® coveralls worn by vineyard workers when they are spraying. It had been rained on for several days, so I didn't mind using it. This AM it was 38 degrees, the coldest yet that I've tried to ride here. I pulled on socks, shorts, and T-shirt. Then bike tights and long sleeved shirt. Then the Tyvek® coveralls, which I covered with my 25 year old Performance rain jacket. Gloves were a pair found by another volunteer on Saturday. Basically, only my head had any chance to get cold.

I started a bit late and caught up with the AM rush south down Hwy 12 into Sonoma. Wide shoulders and a rolling downhill let me pass some 50 to 75 cars. A fix-it truck I passed three times going south later passed me going north. The driver beeped and waved.

The forecast is for scattered PM showers Wednesday. I am considering driving from Kenwood north one mile to the Landmark Winery parking lot then going up Adobe Canyon road to the gate house at the state park entrance. That gives some 1200 feet of climbing. If weather cancels, this route allows a RAPID bailout if it starts raining on the way up.

Monday, April 4

Wheezing Hills

18 miles, 3.5 hours—and 1200 feet ^up^

The Santa Rosa Cycling Club has started an altitude gain challenge for April (April Alpina), having just finished a mileage contest in March. I signed on for 15,000 feet, the minimum. The commute generates 200 to 700 feet, depending on where I start.

It is going to rain for 3 days this week so I went out looking for some climbing this afternoon: over Montecito Heights (200'), up Los Alamos to Cougar (800'), and back over Montecito (200').

The climb up Los Alamos takes 5 miles to get to the top at Hood Mountain State Park. I am fit enough to try it, but about 1 of the 2 miles I made was in my lowest gears. Approaching Cougar (Lane? Road?) I noticed that whatever doctors have been hearing in my left lung for years was getting really loud. Try holding your upper teeth on your lower lip and sucking air though the gap—sounds like the breathing of a guy I heard on his death bed. My pulse was near max as I was having to stop every half-mile or so, but no heart-attack feelings. My breathing was getting towards max flow as my chest muscles and diaphragm really loosened up. That was when I heard the "strangled squirrel" sound. Until I get the problem, if it is one, fixed I'll regulate my climbing rate to prevent that sound.

I sanded my squeaking front brake pads, put on a wind breaker, and started down. Got maybe a quarter mile before the front brakes started squeaking again. As this road is rough and has a lot of sharp blind curves I didn't let the speed get much over 25 mph. Even with full medical coverage I didn't feel like going around a curve at 40 and hitting the back of the FedEx truck I knew was on the hill. Back on Montecito I did manage to hit 36 in a 35 zone.

I will keep looking for those good descents!

Creek cleaning

8 miles, 45 minutes

Rode down to the park built along the creek through town. Met a dozen and more volunteers as well as the city works man responsible for creek affairs. We spent 2-1/2 hours pulling trash plants like ivy and fennel. One guy found a hypodermic syringe, which I put in a safe place. Later I passed it to the city worker who safely removed it.

On the ride home people (mostly women) were working in their yards.

Friday, April 1

Joke Entry, Not.

24 miles, 2 hours 4 minutes

Have I lost my sense of humor? My spouse led me to a long list of April First joke postings on BlogCritics. I could usually see why they were funny or why they would get the goat of an intended victim but I found it hard to even crack a smile at most of them. I have said that I am an analog type person; I sometimes react better to physical jokes. A trace of potassium permanganate in the food that gives the victim green urine, or a layer of fabric between two layers of thin pancake batter that produces an uncuttable pancake is more my speed.

Friday is limited by my work schedule. The basic half commute from Kenwood. Given lots of time and better weather I took a route that avoided Highway 12. Near the Hannas Boys Center I found three pairs of classic burlap sandbags WITH sand. Emptied two and took them. At least one local quarry will let locals have a few bags of sand or other sizes of aggregate in return for a couple of 6-packs of pop or a little chocolate. Too much trouble to charge for such a little amount. Coming back stayed away from Hwy 12 again and, yes, the back roads are still hard on the rump but at least you can look at the scenery.