Monday, June 20

Hilly! Race?

Sunday the SRCC had a strenuous loop ride around the south end of the Maacama ridge. The other eight riders might have been considering the TERRIBLE TWO, I just wanted to finish. The route went from just south of Kenwood, thru Sonoma, turned east into Napa Cty, north along the east side of the ridge, then back over Dry Creek Rd and Trinity Rd to the start. Making it interesting for those strong riders were 5 added out-and-backs up the ridge that doubled or tripled the climbing. I just did the basic loop which was an announced option.

At the 9:00 AM start I found I had left my new helmet at home. The leader said since I was doing the "flat" option we would likely pass each other along the way. Got it in One. I kicked off at 9:45 and went straight for Sonoma down Hwy 12; a commuter route not recommended for fun cyclists. I skipped the Lovall Valley loop and made a water stop at one of our favorite wineries, HOMEWOOD, where I learned they would be releasing their Late Harvest Mt Veeder Zin on August 13th. As I left the parking lot I looked right before turning left and saw the Gang of Eight waiting to cross the nearby State Hwy 29. I was caught a mile later and the leader said, "It looked like the plan worked." as he passed me.

Ir was four miles later over into Napa County before they disappeared ahead of me. I stopped on Old Sonoma Road at my 20th mile and had a sandwich. The group was doing the Henry Road loop as I passed it 2 miles later. I neverr saw them again. Still it felt good to know I was on the course with them. I feel better on a ride if I am part of something, even when I don't see someone all the time. I passed the Patrick Road and Redwood Road turnoffs and started the long grind up the Mt Veeder road. A small vineyard on Mt Veeder is the source of the Zinfandel mentioned earlier. Mt Veeder Also contained the epicenter of the 5+ quake that damaged the town of Napa several years ago.

Every 5 to 10 minutes cyclists would pass me going either way. Up hill ones were always friendly, downhillers were silent and casually dressed on low-level bikes.
Perhaps the silent ones found it hard to talk to someone who was earning his way to the top. There were 2 miles of gentle rollies after halfway along the road then a brake screeming waste of energy down to Dry Creek Road. Two miles of sweat up to the final loop of Wall Road where I stopped for my second sandwich (mile 40). The four solo riders who passed climbing the hill all asked if I was OK. I just waved the food and said OK. One guy descending went by at 30 to 40 MPH. One doesn't chat with people going that fast.

The county line was half a mile later and the road changed to a gentle climb. For another half mile until nearly the true summit there was the strange phenomena of dual numbers on the mail boxes. Someone assigning numbers on the Napa side of the hill had kept going into Sonoma County, 6900, 7000, 7100 ... The Sonoma side went all the way to the county line. Curious.

The road dropped gradually to the junction with Cavedale Road then "Katy bar the Door", There was a sign warning 12% grade next two miles! More screeming brakes, good thing I was alone. Finished and went home.

The route plan was a good idea. If I can ever settle my work schedule a month or more in advance. I will lead some similiar, if shorter, rides for the club.


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