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.

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2015 Brewvet Challenge Starts in 1 Week!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you may have gleaned that I’m a bit of a craft beer lover. Ok, that might be a bit of an understatement…I LOVE craft beer! I’m not overly geeky about it, but I love trying new beers, finding new breweries, and I commonly plan adventures around discovering new brews.

Imagine my giddiness over discovering the Brewvet Challenge! In short, the challenge is set up to get you out and exploring your area on two wheels, in pursuit of delectable brewed goodness. Check out all the rules here. Bikes + Beers. Nothing better! When I found out about the challenge last year, it had already ended. So, I made it a point to keep it on my radar in 2015. Now, the time is almost here.

Follow along on my adventures via Instagram and Twitter. I’ll also do a wrap-up post here, after the challenge has ended.

If you’re planning on participating, let me know in the comments. I’d love to follow along on your bike and beer adventures!

30 Days of Biking – Week 2

With Week 3 of #30daysofbiking almost over, I figured I should do a quick Week 2 update.

I rode 6 out of 7 days last week, total of about 65 miles. It would’ve been 7 out of 7, but we had a totally out of the ordinary lightning and hail storm pass through early in the week. Also a bummer: I started getting sick early this week. I got hit pretty hard with a nasty cold and ended up staying home from work for 2 days. Subsequently, almost no riding this week.

I did do a little better with my picture taking, though I keep forgetting to snap pics of my bike, doh!

Here’s what my Week 2 looked like.

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My usual bike to work route takes me down the Humboldt St. Bike Blvd.

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My town was the adopted home town of Charles Schulz. There are many sculptures of Peanuts characters around the county.

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One of my favorite buildings on my regular bike to work route.

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Cycling behind the husband along the backroads of Sonoma County.

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Loving my new bar tape!

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Husband riding next to his second home, the local golf course.

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!

wpid-03291507392.jpg.jpeg wpid-03291507532.jpg.jpeg wpid-0329150754a.jpg wpid-03291508042.jpg.jpeg wpid-0329150811a.jpg A few days later, I finally crossed something off of my cycling bucket list…I rode over the Golden Gate Bridge!

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.

New Year, New Goals

I love the start of a new year! So full of possibility and excitement for things to come!

Every year, I create a list of goals I want to accomplish in the new year. I’m not great at planning ahead, mostly, I just do things on the fly. Having a list of goals is a good way for me to feel like I’m sucking less at being organized and a good planner. Ok, not really…having a list really just helps me attain long-term goals. I tend to have a “live in the moment” attitude, and things often fall off my radar if they’re not happening in the here and now. Having a set list of goals to accomplish forces me to keep things on the forefront of my life.

Thinking about the goals I set for myself last year and what I managed to accomplish, I knew that I wanted to set goals that  build upon the things that I accomplished last year. Mostly, I want to keep pushing my body to do things that I never thought it was capable of doing. I just read this short article in Outside Magazine, and these words from Dean Karnazes really resonated with me: “I think Western culture has things backwards. We equate comfort with happiness, and now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our life, no sense of adventure. I’ve found that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain and I’m struggling for high achievement. In that struggle, I think there’s a magic.”

Even though I’m setting out to accomplish some serious goals, I’ve thrown in a lot of fun ones, as well. I don’t ever want to take myself or life too seriously!

So, without further ado, my goals for 2015:

  1. Run a half-marathon (definitely the North Face Endurance Challenge)
  2. Run a 25k
  3. Cycle a full century
  4. Hike to the top of Mt. Whitney (dependent on whether I’m lucky in the permit lottery)
  5. Complete 30 Days of Biking
  6. Complete ’15 Coffeeneuring Challenge
  7. Complete ’15 Errandonnee Challenge
  8. Complete ’15 Brewvet
  9. Complete first solo backpack trip
  10. Hit goal weight

Lots of work to put in this year for sure, but I know i’m going to have a blast along the way!

What about you? Did you set any goals this year?