Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SF to Tahoe – Day 2 Guerneville to Davis

Today was to be the longest and toughest day of the entire trip.  105 miles with about 6K of climbing. Ordinarily, if we were doing a century ride this would be considered moderate.  But, coming right on the heels of 95 miles and about 5K of climbing and LONG stretches into a headwind, most of us were a little slow to get started this morning.

Last night, at dinner we started, what was to be our mantra for the rest of the week, “we’ll burn it off”…Here you can see Dwight putting the new mantra to the test.

We'll burn it off
As part of the trip, we had brought along Jerry’s van with ice chests, snacks, tubes, pumps, etc. This would act as our sag wagon and we were all to take turns driving.  I reluctantly volunteered to drive the first leg today with Bill. (And by reluctantly, I mean I yelled dibs before anyone else had a chance)

BTW - The place we spent the night was really nice.  If you’re ever in Guerneville needing a place to stay, the Cottages on River Rd is a very nice place. And, they have the most AMAZING apple fritters - fritters are afterall, consdered fruit....duh they're made from apples you know..

The first leg of the ride is actually really pretty. We drove on small country roads that wound through vineyards and up and over hills and eventually into Windsor where we were to regroup. 
Downtown Windsor
Since we made much better time than the others we went in to Starbucks and had a coffee before wandering across the street to check out the local bike shop.  We hadn’t been in the bike shop too long when the gang rolled into town.

After making sure they all had water, gels, whatever, Bill and I piled back into the van and the others took off pedaling.  Our goal was to get to Calistoga, park the van and ride backwards until we met up with the gang.  And it actually worked really well.  The only challenge was actually convincing myself to get back on the bike and ride once we got to Calistoga instead of taking a nap in the shade.  We did though get going and enjoyed a ncie climb, followed by a great downhill before reaching a nice long flat that led us along wineries and where we eventually met up with the others.
Where Monday had been sunny but cool, I had my arm warmers on most of the day, today was definitely warmer.  Warmer to the point that even in just a jersey, I was sweating pretty good on the climbs.  As we raced down the hill Bill and I had climbed on our way to meet the group, I hit a sharp edge on the road pretty hard....soon after the rear wheel was mushy and I knew I had a flat.

Bill stopped as the others rode on by and after changing the flat, he and I began what was to become a recurring event...falling behind for one reason or another then trying to catch the others...
impromptu bike stand
As we rolled in to Calistoga, we found a place for lunch, ate and then got back on the road.  Jerry had agreed to drive this leg so the rest of us, got back on the road and enjoyed a really nice ride down the Silverado Trail through some of the nicest wine country in the state.

Eventually, the fun ended and we had to make a turn onto Hwy 128 which would take us up and over the hill past Lake Hennessy and Lake Berryessa.  This would turn out to be a long, hot, tough climb.  First though, I would get another chance to change a tire as I noticed a slit in my rear tire. 

The climb up towards Lake Berryessa was a tough climb.  Not sure if it was the heat, my general lack of fitness this year or the fact that I was carrying a "couple" extra pounds up the hill, but that thing about killed me.  There were several turns where you could actually see the road wind up the hill into the distance and those were the worst.  At a couple of points I was convinced I was going to stop and get in the van.  It was only by lying to myself that I was able to keep going.  I'd say, ok, after the next corner I'll stop....then as I got to the next corner, I'd say, ok, after the next corner I'll sag...yep, my mind is a feeble little device that can easily trick my body into doing stupid things.....it's one of my strengths.
Bill above Lake Berryessa
After finally reaching the top of the hill, the fun part began with a nice fast long downhill.  This was followed by kind of a long mostly flat, kind of ugly run into the town of Winters.  Originally, Winters was supposed to be the end of Day 2.  Unfortunately, they don't have lodginng in Winters so we were forced to continue on to Davis. 

The ride in to and through Davis was actually a pretty nice ride.  Davis is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the world with over 100 miles of bike lanes and bike paths.  They even have bike roundabouts at many of the intersections. The absolute coolest thing was a random giant bicycle out in the middle of a field miles outside of town.
Giant Yellow Bike
As we found our lodging for the evening, showered and cleaned up, our thoughts turned to dinner. And, what better way to recover from a long hard ride than pizza.  Woodstock pizza in Davis in addition to serving up an amazing couple of pizzas added a nice bonus.....dessert pizza in honor of my birthday....yep, I was able to milk the occasion for an entire week.
Dwight and Leticia were the only riders to actually do the entire 105 miles and almost 6K of climbing today and it was here, in the middle of enjoying the dessert pizza that Dwight paid the price.....as we sat talking and laughing, suddenly Dwight stood up with a grimace....pretty soon, he wasn't standing he was laying on the floor as Gail tried to work out the cramps that had locked up his hamstrings.  As the manager came over to make sure he was ok, we, like good friends do, laughed and pointed and made fun of him laying on the floor.

A perfect ending to a perfect day!

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