After weeks of cold (for California) and rain, it was finally dry and a bit warmer, so it was time to head back to the hills! Back to where this big ole’ adventure began – Partrick Road.
I say my adventure began there because about five months ago I was deciding on my next personal cycling challenge. I had completed a couple of 24-hour challenges over the summer, and I was looking for the next big thing. So I threw down the gauntlet and said I would ride the hills surrounding Napa Valley. I started with Partrick Road since it’s pretty close to where I live (about two and a half miles). Of course, it turns out; it is one of the toughest too. It’s not the longest route, but it gets pretty steep (14% grade) in parts. Once I made it to the top without expiring, I thought “Hey, if I can do that, I think I can ride over the Sierras. I finished the Markleeville Death Ride 26 years ago, after all!” That got me thinking about riding across America. It had been my dream years ago, and now I thought maybe it’s still possible.
It struck me that I only have four more months of training and then it’s put up or shut up time. That’s why I needed to get back to the hills! I have to say, though; this ride was easier than the first. Thank goodness my workouts have been paying off! It was also one of my most enjoyable climbs. The sun felt great! The views were spectacular. There were so many different animals out to greet me at every turn. And of course, the decent was magical!
Pond overlook lean
Bay overlook lean
Basking in the sun lean
What a great day! I think I’ll be back on Partrick Road soon.
One of the things that has fueled my love of cycling over the years is having experiences that remind me that there is a lot of good in humanity. I was intending/hoping to write about them as I cross America later this year but last week this notion was jump started for me and I have to share it!
While I was riding my half century through the back roads of Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon, somehow, I lost my Fitbit when the band apparently broke. Mind you, I was not one to readily jump on the fitness tracker bandwagon in the first place so I might not have cared that it was gone. Last year though, Fitbit issued their Blaze model. I liked the look of it (I have to be somewhat stylish, after all) and I needed a replacement watch so on the bandwagon I jumped. It has helped me increase my activity throughout the day, keeps me on time for things, gives me alerts from my phone and gives me information about my fitness level that I never knew I’d be interested in. So when I lost it, I was actually sad. I figured it was gone forever. Even if someone found it, they would have a nice, fairly new, fitness tracker to use. Here’s where the story gets good…
Earlier in the day, my nephew needed my help with something and he texted me. His phone number was not programmed in my phone to show his name, so it just came through as a number. Jump to that evening when he texted me again saying that someone texted him that a Fitbit was found with that number in the alert history. I then texted the number explaining that I had lost a Fitbit earlier in the day while riding over in Solano County. The person who found it and texted us was more than happy to return it to me, saying that it was still in great condition (minus half a band). We exchanged information and it turned out that we both work in healthcare. Tom J. is a pharmacist in Fairfield, where I happen to work a few times a week (for a different organization). We met up and the Fitbit is back on my wrist!
I’ve seen some of the best and some of the worst of humanity out there and Tom J. definitely goes in the column with the best. My heart is full.
It was finally dry and a bit warmer this weekend, so I was able to set out on a longer ride. California has had a lot of really cold and rainy days since Christmas. Not really whining…I am from upstate New York after all, but it has been tough to commit to longer, endurance type rides. This weekend, I set out to test the route I’ll take to head out of town in June (unless I decide to go South). It ended up being a half century that ended in Dixon, CA. I definitely could have ridden farther/longer, but I had a dinner date to get back for. You might wonder how I got back home since it was 50 miles one way. Well, I also tested my sag wagon, AKA, Ken. It worked beautifully too! He followed my progress on my tracker and knew exactly when and where I stopped. Since he went shopping for new shoes at the factory stores nearby, he picked me up with no trouble at all. More ride details can be found at 01/14/17 Ride.
People often ask if I ever enjoy the rides and stop to smell the roses so to speak. I always do! How can you not enjoy riding through the Napa Valley and surrounding areas? That’s why you’ll see plenty of photos to follow along with me. Besides, photography is one of my other hobbies. Most of the photos on my rides are just taken on my iPhone. It does a pretty decent job and they’re easy to upload. These are from my ride today…
California State Prison
The prison pic is for my running buddies since allegedly, I was contributing to the delinquency of a runner (since I chose to ride). CSP (California State Prison) was serendipitously on my route. The first pic is one of those that just fits in the WTF category.
I rode to church this morning – a mere 8 miles – but it was cold by California standards! It was right around 40 degrees F so had to bundle up. I ran into my bud Aaron Comfort Dog . Not sure what he thought of my face mask, but I stayed warm!
Training for a cross-country ride is interesting. What do you do when you live in Napa, CA at 33 feet above sea level? How are my lungs going to like riding over the Sierra and Rocky mountain passes? And I don’t really have time to go to the mountains every week to train. Next best thing? You have a loving husband and daughter (aka – The Sag Waggoneers) who give you an Elevation Training Mask for Christmas. So far, it’s been great. I used it during my Festive 500 rides and even on the flats it made me work pretty hard. And I sound really cool. It is somewhat disturbing to small children when they see me, though. Stay tuned…