A whirlwind 2016 Errandonnee

When MG over at the Chasing Mailboxes blog announced the start of this year’s Errandonnee Challenge, I knew I wanted to join in on the biking and errand running fun! I immediately started to make plans and, after not being able to participate last year, I was super excited to finally complete the challenge.

Of course things are rarely as easy as what we plan. On the first day of the challenge, it started raining. Soon, an atmospheric river settled over Northern California, and flash flood warnings were issued. Then actual flooding started, mudslides happened, and trees toppled over into roads and onto houses. Being a Californian, I already don’t like being out in cold or wet weather, and there was just no way I was going to cycle in the crazy storms that we were having. Though we desperately need the rain, I hoped that it would clear out with enough time for me to complete the challenge. After 7 days, I was sure I was going to miss out on being able to participate in the challenge. Finally, though, after 9 days of rain and with 2 days left in the challenge, the weather finally cleared up. “Two days”, I thought, “can I actually complete all 12 errands in such a short amount of time?” I wasn’t sure, but I was sure going to give it a shot!

Well, a whirlwind 48 hours passed and I’m happy to report that I got in all 12 errands!

On to the nitty gritty!

Bike ridden for all errands: My trusty commuter and general stuff-hauler, a flat-black Trek 7.2 FX. For the challenge, I used a Green Guru Carbon Cooler 22L pannier that I picked up at the REI used gear sale last year for $20. It’s the perfect size for hauling around the stuff I need for work and any purchases I make while on the go.

Total mileage for the challenge: 31.1

Day 1: 3/14/2016

Errandonnee #1: Work or Volunteering

Distance: 6.5 miles

Destination: Bus depot

I rode to the downtown depot to catch the bus to work. This multi-modal commute has been the way I’ve been getting to work during the shorter days of fall and winter, when the 16 mile ride to my workplace is just too far to do in the dark mornings.

Observation: The time change has made it so that this shorter commute into downtown is almost entirely in the dark. I’m looking forward to the longer days of spring and summer when the mornings are light earlier in the day.

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No more rain but still cold and windy on this morning’s commute.

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Parked outside of Salazar Hall. The bike racks are pretty much empty due to spring break.

Errandonnee #2-4 (Wildcard, Arts & Entertainment, Social Call)

Distance: 10.3 miles

Destination: Sebastopol, CA

#2 (Wildcard) – After work, I needed to chip away at the planning for my upcoming John Muir Trail thru-hike before meeting the husband for his weekly billiards league night and an ice cream date, in nearby Sebastopol. I decided that I wanted to do my hiking research over a delicious pint of beer and figured it would be best to centralize these errands, so after work I rode out to Sebastopol, via the lovely Joe Rodota Trail. I took the long way through town, riding through Florence St., a residential street famous for having Patrick Amiot sculptures in many of the front yards. Having had my fix of art gawking, and wanting a reasonably quiet spot to research for my hike, I rode over to one of my very favorite beer spots in Sonoma County, The Garden. This little gem is the taproom of a local co-op, Community Market.

Observation: All of the rain we got has made for some of the most luscious and vibrant greens I’ve seen in a long time. Also, I love that each time I visit The Garden, they almost are almost never offer the same beers.

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Views along the Joe Rodota Trail.

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One of the many Patrick Amiot sculptures on Florence St. in Sebastopol.

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Reading and planning over a pint of Berryessa Brewing Company’s Rye Ryerish.

#3 (Arts & Entertainment) – Leaving The Garden, I made the short ride over to the Sebastopol Plaza to meet the husband at the Old Main Street Saloon, a little hole-in-the-wall bar. I always have a blast watching the team shoot pool. Husband did ok, winning 3 out of the 5 matches he played.

Observation: The Old Main is, unfortunately, not as divey as one would expect. Having a thing for dive bars, I was a bit disappointed.

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#4 (Social Call) – After the match, the husband and I had a late-night ice cream date at our favorite place, Screamin’ Mimi’s, which is conveniently located just across the plaza from the Old Main Street Saloon. I enjoyed a small sundae, which I sometimes think I order just to get the amazing house made maraschino cherry that comes on top of it. The husband enjoyed a scoop of his usual, Mimi’s version of mint-chip.

Observation: The first thing you notice when walking into Mimi’s is the amazing and overwhelming scent of freshly made waffle cones, which the shop makes continuously throughout the day. The scent lingered in my hair after leaving the shop!

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Date: 3/15/16

Errandonnee #5-8: Work or Volunteering, Store, and Personal Business

Distance: 6.7 miles

#5 (Work or Volunteering): Another commute to the downtown bus depot. I left extra early today because I had several errands to run before catching the bus.

Observation: Good to see several other bike commuters out on the streets today.

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The Humboldt Bike Blvd. is my preferred route on my morning commute.

#6 (Store): I stopped at the Safeway that is on my commute route to purchase a yogurt for breakfast.

Observation: There were a surprising amount of people in the store even though it was a touch before 7 a.m.

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Good bike parking at Safeway! 

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#7 & 8 (Personal Business): I continued along my usual route but made two quick stops before arriving at the bus depot. First, I headed to the Post Office. My FasTrak transponder had recently stopped working so FasTrak sent me a new one. I had to mail the old one back to them so that I would not incur a fee for not returning it. After the post-office, I headed over to the the downtown branch of my bank to make a deposit through the ATM.

Observations: I don’t usually have time to make it to the post office during their retail hours, so I was happy that the downtown branch has a self-service kiosk. My bank is next-door to a frequently visited local brewery, Third St. Aleworks. When I passed by, I noticed that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary with the release of their 20th anniversary ale. I made a mental note to stop in soon to sample their special release.

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Post office. No bike parking nearby but also no people nearby. Felt safe enough to leave the Trek by the door while I mailed my stuff.

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Errandonnee #9-10: Non-store errand

Distance: 1.2 miles

#9 (Non-store errand) – Today, I didn’t have enough time in the morning to throw a lunch together so, when twelve o’clock rolled around, I needed to actually leave my office (a rare occurrence) to obtain food. Since it’s spring break at the University where I work, almost all of the dining venues on campus are closed. The one venue that was open didn’t sound appealing so I headed off campus, just across the street, to a local Korean/sushi joint.

Observation: I got there a bit after noon, expecting the restaurant to be super busy, but was surprised to find that I was the only person there. Must be because the students are gone for the week.

#10 (Non-store errand) – After packing my to-go order in my pannier, I headed across the plaza for a quick stop at a Redbox kiosk to pick up a movie to watch that night. I found several options but settled on Bridge of Spies.

Observation: I don’t usually see many interesting-to-me options in the Redbox, but I was pleasantly surprised to find several movies that I would like to rent. I debated renting more than one movie, but knew that I wouldn’t have time to watch more than the one.

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My to-go lunch order sitting in the top of my pannier, while stopping to rent a movie.

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BBQ chicken and spicy tuna roll combo, enjoyed back in my office.

Errandonnee #11: Personal Care

Distance: 0.5 mile

I had an acupuncture appointment after work and not having enough time to get to my appointment after work via my bike, I rode the bus to downtown Santa Rosa from my office and then biked over to my appointment.

Observation: There is no decent bike parking close to my acupuncturist’s office. I had to walk a block over to lock my bike up.

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Errandonnee #12: You carried WHAT home on a bike?

Distance: 5.9

After my acupuncture appointment, I headed north to pick up some ravioli for that night’s dinner, before heading home. I stopped at Canevari’s Deli, a Sonoma County institution that’s been churning out fresh made ravioli for over 80 years. I picked up an order of cheese ravioli to accompany the chicken I planned to make for dinner.

Observation: Though it was near closing time when I stopped in, there were several customers ahead of me and many things were already sold out. A testament to the deliciousness that Canevari’s serves up.

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Cheese ravioli; ready to cook up at home.

2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge Recap

When I started this year’s coffeeneuring challenge, I really intended to post about each individual ride, but, I just haven’t been feeling much like blogging these days and it sort of fell to the wayside. Good thing I had to do some kind of recap of my coffeeneuring rides to satisfy the challenge requirements, otherwise I don’t think the blog would’ve been updated quite so soon!

Well, it was a great season of coffeneuring. I got to visit some new places and some old favorites. I ended up riding a total of 67.5 miles.

On to the rides–

No. 1: 10/4/15

Blue Beagle Coffee

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 8.5

Strava Route

I took the long way to my neighborhood coffee joint, cruising along rolling Faught Rd and looping back via Old Redwood Highway. Blue Beagle is located in a strip mall, and unfortunately, the entire complex does not provide any bike parking. The café does have a couple of outdoor tables, so I just tucked my bike behind one, against the front window, while I ordered. Safe enough. Blue Beagle is a really cute cafe with plenty of comfortable seating. They are well known for their pie, but I arrived about a half hour before closing and was disappointed to find that they had sold out for the day. It was a surprisingly hot October afternoon so instead, I ordered an iced green peach tea and relaxed outside for a while before lazily riding home.

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No. 2: 10/8/15

Brew Coffee & Beer

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 6

Strava Route

Since I was heading out on vacation in two days, I employed the Vacation Rule for this ride. I stopped at this newish spot close to downtown, on my way to catch the bus for work. I rolled up to find that bike parking was available, but it was a rack that wasn’t actually bolted to anything – not very secure. I was able to lock up to a sign post in front of the café, though. I arrived just after opening and was the first customer of the day. The cafe is staffed by friendly folks and has plenty of seating, both indoors and out. I chose a seat in the front window and enjoyed a really solid latte and a good breakfast burrito. +1 for providing packets of Tapatio with the burrito!

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No. 3: 10/7/15

Tavern on the Green

New York, NY

Miles ridden: 6

Strava: not recorded, as my phone’s battery was dying

Employing the Tara Rule, I took the opportunity to coffeeneur on Labor Day while on vacation in New York City.  The husband and I had planned to visit Central Park that day so I figured, why not rent bikes in the park and find a place to grab a cup of coffee or tea in the process? Perfect idea!  We cruised around the perimeter of the park, stopping to take in the sights and sounds. It was a HOT day in the city, and after two hours, the crazy amount of hills (not really, I had just expected it to be totally flat) on our route dictated that we find a cold beverage to help us cool off. We happened to cruise by Tavern on the Green and decided to stop in for an icy beverage. There was little to no bike parking near the restaurant but found that most people were leaving their bikes unlocked along the restaurant’s fence, so we did the same. The restaurant was full of people, and not being particularly hungry, we opted not to wait for a table. Instead we headed for the bar and easily found seats. The bartender was genial and recommended several local beers to the husband. Sticking to the coffeeneuring rules, I enjoyed an iced tea. We sat at the bar chatting and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere for a good hour before heading out to our next destination of the day.

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No. 4: 10/24/15

Café Noto

Windsor, CA

Miles ridden: 11

Strava Route

First ride of the challenge that actually felt like fall! A few days earlier, I saw that Buff was having a sample sale at their factory near my home. A perfect excuse for a leisurely ride and coffee stop! I rode over to the next town north, Windsor, CA, and stopped at the warm and friendly Café Noto on the Windsor Town Green. The Green features plentiful bike parking near the Café and I was able to secure a spot to lock up, just across from the Café. Noto provided a lovely warm pit-stop on a very brisk (for CA) morning. I warmed up with a Café au Lait and a bacon breakfast sandwich. Delicious! Having satisfied my need for caffeine and food in my belly, off I rode to the Buff warehouse, where I picked up several steeply discounted items for next year’s backpacking and Tenkara fishing adventures. All in all, a wonderful way to start my day!

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No. 5: 11/7/15

Downtown Bakery & Creamery

Healdsburg, CA

Miles ridden: 22

Strava Route

On a crisp fall morning, I rode north to Healdsburg, CA to visit my very favorite bakery, Downtown Bakery & Creamery. I have been patronizing this delicious spot on the Healdsburg Plaza for over 15 years! Taking the meandering backroads that the Sonoma Wine Country is so well known for, it was apparent that fall was here. Having been born and raised in Sonoma County, the vineyard-strewn landscapes that this area is known for don’t often catch my attention anymore, however, this time of the year, bathed in the warm colors of fall, the beauty of the vines is impossible to ignore. Needless to say, I cruised north at a leisurely pace, taking in the beauty of my surroundings. I arrived at the Plaza only to find that there wasn’t any decent bike parking nearby. I had to make due with a sign post, just outside the café’s entrance. The morning was COLD so I was eager for a hot drink to warm up. Thankfully, I got there just a bit after opening, and there were few patrons inside and no line. Good thing, because I’ve stopped here before when the line was 10-15 people deep. I love this particular bakery not only because everything they make is delicious, but because it’s not one of those pretentious wine-country cafes; just a nice warm atmosphere, friendly folks, and delicious eats. Normally, I would order one of the delicious baked goods behind the case but today I was feeling a bit hungrier than that so I ordered poached eggs over polenta with ricotta and lemony spinach and a double cappuccino. Delicious! I slowly enjoyed my breakfast while looking out onto the Plaza and watching the town slowly wake up.

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No. 6: 11/14/15

Gaga Café at The Santa Rosa Farmers Market

Santa Rosa, CA

Miles ridden: 3

Strava Route

My local farmer’s market is a short 3ish miles from my home. A need to stock up on veggies for the week presented the perfect opportunity to coffeeneur. The husband and I cruised over to the market and found very little bike parking available but made do with a sign post to lock up to. We took our time perusing the offerings from the various vendors and loaded up with groceries for the week. With the chore of shopping done, the husband and I grabbed some some pour-over from Gaga Café and almond croissant from Costeaux Bakery, to share. We found a couple of empty seats at a communal table and settled in to enjoy our delicious coffee and just OK pastry to the soundtrack of some really great live gypsy jazz guitar. We lingered in the sunshine, enjoying the music, long after our coffees were consumed, but knowing that we had a day long hike ahead of us, we had to grudgingly pull away from the great music and cruise back home.

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No. 7: 11/15/15

Village Bakery

Sebastopol, CA

Miles ridden: 11

Strava Route

After a failed attempt a week ago, I was determined to ride on the Joe Rodota trail for my final cup. This is one of my favorite routes in Sonoma County. The trail is an old rail line that stretches from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol along the Laguna de Santa Rosa (the largest freshwater wetland complex on the Northern CA coast). This trail connects to the West County Trail, making it possible to cycle 14 car-free miles from Santa Rosa to Forestville! After a lazy morning and catching up on some household chores, I headed out to the trail in the afternoon. Rain had been predicted but was lucky that it didn’t materialize until I was almost all the way back to my car. The trail was pretty quiet, I only passed a handful of people on my way into Sebastopol. I cruised slowly, taking in the colorful vineyards, the oaks of the Laguna, and relishing the crunch of the leaves underneath my tires. I rolled into Sebastopol and made my way to The Barlow, and my intended destination – Village Bakery. Bike parking was plentiful in The Barlow and I found a place to lock up just outside the bakery. Inside, the tables were well packed with folks enjoying the bakery’s offerings. I ordered a coffee and an excellent pear tart to enjoy inside the warm and cozy space. After lingering over my tart and coffee for about a half hour, I headed out to explore a part of the West County Trail that I had never ridden. From The Barlow, I rode north and connected to the trail. I rode it out to the eastern edge of town. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time that day to ride all the way out to Forestville, and turned around at the trail’s intersection with Hwy 116. All in all, it was a great ride and a wonderful way to finish out this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge.

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The first week of #30daysofbiking

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The second week of #30daysofbiking is well underway, and I’m so excited to have made the pledge to ride every day this month.

During the first week, I mostly did a couple of short rides around my neighborhood, and a couple of commutes. On Sunday, I had planned an epic day of errand running by bike, but alas, the skies threatened to open up at any moment, and I didn’t want to be caught in a downpour too far from home. I’m not a fan of cycling in the rain! Instead, I had to settle for another quick neighborhood ride. Later on, when rain never did materialize, I cursed the weather forecast for always being off base. Grrr.

I kind of suck at taking pictures when I do short or commuter rides, so my goal this week is to document my rides. We’ll see how that goes!

If you’re participating in #30daysofbiking, how’d your first week go?

Spring is made for cycling

As a cyclist, winter is tough for me; the days are ridiculously short and I hate cold weather. It totally zaps any motivation I have to ride a bike. While I made the effort to at least bike commuter a couple of times a week over the winter, it was definitely a struggle. What can I say…I’m a fair weather cyclist at heart.

Thankfully, spring has rolled around and the days are finally longer and warmer. With the change, my desire to go on longer rides has finally returned!  Early last week, I rode out to Black Butte Lake from my parents place in the northern Sacramento Valley. 18 miles of mostly flat country roads took me over the Glenn County line into Tehama County and up to the reservoir. What a picturesque, peaceful route!

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Being a Bay Area resident, walking across the GGB is something you do at least once in your life. Being a cyclist here, riding over the bridge is also a must do! Having a mid-week holiday at work provided the perfect excuse to try out the route from Sausalito to San Francisco.

The husband and I parked in Sausalito and rode up to and across the bridge and down into the Marina neighborhood. We rode out to the Wave Organ and then to Fisherman’s Wharf for some clam chowder. Though it was mid-week, the Wharf was full of tourists, so we didn’t stick around there too long. Instead, we headed back through Ghiradelli Square, stopping for a lazy nap in the sun at the Great Meadow. Afterward, we rode out along the Bay Trail through Crissy Field to Fort Point and back over the bridge. It was a fabulously lazy, meandering 22 mile ride. wpid-03311510172.jpg.jpeg wpid-0331151024.jpg

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2015 Tour de Ed

Last month I happened to be in Chico, CA during the same weekend that the Tour de Ed was happening. The Tour de Ed is the main fundraiser for the Chico Cyclists Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to local cyclists who are injured while on the road. When I lived in Chico, I never had the opportunity to ride the Tour de Ed, so when I found out that my trip to visit the parents would coincide with the ride, I made sure to pack my bike for the trip up north. On an incredibly sunny late winter morning, I drove over to Chico’s City Hall to register for the ride. wpid-0222150938.jpg wpid-wp-1424960208259.jpeg wpid-wp-1424960201417.jpeg I arrived early, registered, and had about 45 minutes before the start of the ride. Perfect amount of time to ride over to my favorite Chico bakery, Tin Roof Bakery, for a coffee and phenomenal almond croissant. Around 9 a.m., after a short speech and a couple of announcements, the ride departed from City Hall, with the the fairly sizable group of cyclists escorted through downtown Chico by a vintage police cruiser! Drone Chico was on hand to film the departure. Check out the video here. wpid-wp-1424960235430.jpeg I finally wore my Team Tough Chik jersey for the first time! Love, love, love it! Super cute and comfortable. Also elicited a lot of positive comments! wpid-wp-1424960217455.jpeg I had a total blast riding along 30 miles of quiet country roads just south of Chico. The almond trees were in total bloom (which I completely neglected to take pictures of, doh!). Couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque day to ride in support of a great cause.

Ride Recap: 2014 Sonoma County Backroad Challenge

Hey folks. My apologies for taking so long to post this write up! I’ve been spending far too much time out on the bike and not enough time paying attention to timely posting on this here blog! Anyway… A couple of weeks ago, I rode in my first organized bike ride in Sonoma County. The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge is a charity ride organized by one of the local Rotary Clubs. It includes three different routes (Full Century, Metric Century, and a Half-Metric Century) along the, you guessed it, back roads of Sonoma County. After checking out the maps and elevation profiles of each route, and going back and forth about whether I felt like I could do any of the rides (Sonoma County is known for its rolling hills), I finally decided to register for the Half-Metric Century route at the last minute. On the morning of the ride I made the short drive to the town of Penngrove, to Penngrove Park, the start and finish of the ride. The recommended start time for my route was between 9 and 10 a.m., and I arrived at around 8:30.

Registration/Check-In

Since I had registered online, check-in was fast and easy. There were no lines and I was able to check-in right away. I was given a blue wristband with two pull-off tabs, for “beer” and a “meal,” as well as a cue card with the route map and directions. With wristband securely on, I wandered around Penngrove Park a bit. There was coffee, OJ, pastry, and yogurt available for the riders. Since I didn’t have any breakfast before leaving my house, I grabbed some OJ and coffee, a yogurt, and a pastry. I also grabbed a couple of Cliff bars to eat while out on the road.

Ride check-in, the all-access wrist band, and caffeinated goodness before the ride.

Ride check-in, the all-access wrist band, and caffeinated goodness before the ride.

Pre-ride breakfast while checking out the cue-card and route map.

Pre-ride breakfast while checking out the cue-card and route map.

After finishing up and doing a final check of my bike and tires, I headed north out of Penngrove and followed the route West.

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The first 8 miles were a steady climb but my legs quickly found relief on the long and extremely fun descent around mile 9. The downhills almost always make the climbing worth it! At the bottom of the descent, I hit a series of rolling hills. The scenery was typical of Western Sonoma County; green rolling hills populated by happily grazing California cows. Unfortunately, I realized after the ride that I didn’t take a single picture of the scenery! Definitely a bummer! I need to remember to stop every now and then to snap a couple of pictures. Next ride I will, for sure! I was chugging along on the route, taking in the scenery, and enjoying being on two wheels, and I almost missed the first rest stop! I didn’t seen the sign for the turn until I had almost passed it. I slammed on my brakes and made a big sweeping turn into the rest stop.

Rest Stop #1: Valley Ford

The first stop (at about mile 13 of the ride) was at a small park in the tiny community of Valley Ford, about 5 miles form the Pacific Ocean. By the time I made it to the stop, I was almost out of water! I made a beeline for the tables set up at the back of the park to grab some water and snacks. I was excited to see that they had GU Brew tablets available next to the water re-fill station, and that the snacks provided included not just the usual fruit/trailmix/baked goods. Yes, I did grab a banana and a bit of trail mix, but I was also super psyched to see that they had cups of 7-layer bean dip (loves me some beans) and chips and individual packets of sunflower butter. All in all, it was a pretty good spread. I chilled at the stop for about 15 minutes, eating, drinking, and taking in the crowd of my fellow cyclists, and after a quick bathroom break, I was back on the saddle, riding out of Valley Ford.

Rest stop sponsored by Whole Foods

Rest stop sponsored by Whole Foods

The Climb of Doom (aka Gericke Rd.)

Shortly after leaving Valley Ford, the route turned down Gericke Rd. At first, it looked like any other backcountry road in Sonoma County, but after making a turn in the road, I realized that this was THE CLIMB. When I was first deciding whether I was going to sign-up for this ride, I was unsure of whether I could actually complete any of the routes because they all involved a climb bigger (steeper!) than anything I’d ever done. When I settled on the half-metric century route, I was worried about the route’s one big climb but figured that if I really couldn’t peddle over it, I could always hop off the bike and walk over it. Now, with the steep hill looming ahead of me, I was determined to get over it on two wheels and not on two feet. I started climbing, and climbing, and climbing. I geared down to keep my cadence, and fought every urge to stop. My speed dropped and it felt like I would fall over if I stopped peddling at all! Finally, though, after about a mile of climbing up an almost 8% grade, I finally made it to the top! There was a group of ladies right in front of me the whole time, and they cheered me on as I made it to the top. Thanks for the encouragement and support ladies! After catching my breath and sucking down a bunch of GU Brew, I hopped back on my bike and let gravity do most of the work and I raced down the other side of the hill. For the next 7 miles, I worked through a series of rolling hills. After the big climb and the series of small hills, my legs were screaming at me to stop. Luckily, I soon spotted the sign for the second rest stop and gleefully turned off the road as visions of cold water and snacks made my mouth water.

Rest Stop #2: Two Rock Church

I rode into the second rest stop and quickly stashed my bike on one of the many bike racks provided. I made my way to the snack table and filled my empty water bottle with more GU Brew. I loaded up on some snacks (banana, almond butter, trail mix, oranges, and bread with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip). I eyed a nearby ice chest full of Mexican Coke (the kind that comes in a glass bottle and is made with real sugar) and contemplated downing one. Thankfully, I resisted the urge, figuring that it would probably upset my stomach more than it would help since I don’t normally drink soda. wpid-wp-1401473080635.jpeg I spent a lot less time at the second stop and was back out on the road after just a few minutes. At this point I was pretty tired and the thought of the after-ride bbq lunch and beer was motivating me to get going.

The Climbing Never Stops

Shortly after leaving the 2nd stop, I hit two more moderate climbs and a bunch of rolling hills. I spent the last 9 miles of the ride climbing up and racing down 6 hills of varying difficulty. I’m not going to lie; it was challenging to hit these climbs at the end. I was cursing the hills and fighting thoughts of quitting and getting a cushy SAG Wagon ride to the finish, but I fought through and when I finally rode up to the first stoplight I’d seen in 30 miles, I knew I was almost done. After three more miles, I finally crossed over the finish line. I was tracking my ride with the MapMyRide app and eagerly checked the app to see what my stats for the ride had been. Not too bad! I rode a total of 37.25 miles in just over 3 hours!

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Finish-life Festival

After crossing the finish and stashing my bike, I made a beeline for one of the three beer vendors that were on site. My registration included one beer and I had a choice between one of the local breweries: Lagunitas, Petaluma Hills, and Hen House. Having been a long-time fan and drinker of Lagunitas, I wanted to go with something I hadn’t had before. I quickly spotted Hen House Brewing Company and chose one of their delicious ales to cap off a long morning of hard riding.

With beer in hand, I quickly made it over to the food line. The food was delicious and featured BBQ chicken prepared by the Penngrove Social Fireman along with salad and pesto pasta salad. Along with food and drink, the festival featured live music and a small expo. Unfortunately, I had plans for that afternoon and wasn’t able to stay very long after my ride to enjoy the festivities. Soon after finishing up my lunch, I gathered up my bike and headed back to my car. I did have to make one last stop though, as I spotted a Three Twins Ice Cream truck set-up on the perimeter of the park. If you’ve never heard of it, Three Twins Ice Cream is an organic ice cream locally made in Marin County, and is absolutely delicious! I stopped by the truck and was offered a scoop of either Chocolate or Lemon Cookie. Loving all things lemon, I instantly opted for the Lemon Cookie, a flavor I had never tried, and was instantly glad I chose it over the chocolate. It was a rich, creamy, and not too sweet lemon ice cream with bits of crumbled vanilla cookie in it. Yum! It was so good that I ended up buying a container of it a couple of days later!

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After all of the doubt I had before the ride about whether I could actually complete a ride with so many hills and steep climbs, I am so happy that I took on the challenge! I’m looking forward to doing this ride again next year, and am thinking about taking on the metric century route.