Well the exploring/climbing ride with Big Joe went as well as I could have hoped for on my last day of vacation. As tomorrow I have to put on my Brown Santa suit for the month of December and the 11-14 hour days begin.
As we anticipated, the climbing was plenty, with just over 6500 ft in 52 miles of beautiful scenery. We started at the corner of Hwy 29 & Redwood Road in Napa at the commuter parking lot. We headed out Redwood road giving us a few miles to try and warm up a bit before we started climbing up Mount Veeder. We rolled along pretty well all the way to Dry Creek Rd with just a short difficult spot along the way on Veeder. We turned left and headed up Dry Creek Road which turns into Trinity Grade and goes up to the summit. Things got fun here because there is a section that runs between 11-17% for about a half mile, I even saw 19% down low in one of the hairpin corners. We stopped at the summit intersection where the is a fire station and nice cold water! After a short break and bottle refilling, per Joe's recommnedation we headed down Trinity Road into what I think is Glen Ellen/Sonoma till we hit Hwy 12. We turned left and headed down Hwy 12 for a short while and there were a few narrow spots here. For a club ride I would suggest crossing 12 and going down Arnold drive to stay off the highway as much as possible. The extra miles would well worth the safety. Then we again turned left and started up the biggest single climb of the ride, Cavedale road. 2100 ft in 5 miles, and it wasn't long that I understood why Joe recommended going up this road at the slower climbing speed than bombing down it as it was narrower and rougher than trinity road was. Views along this climb were wonderful and before we knew it we had circled back up and around to the fire station for another break and more water. As we headed back down Trinity grade towards Dry Creek, we decided to turn off on Wall road to add a few more miles and yes, some more climbing because we hadn't gotten enough yet at over 5000 ft already ridden and another road to explore. Near the end of Wall road, there were some great views and reluctantly I didn't take any pictures, a great excuse to do it again. We turned around & headed back down to Dry creek and continued down to turn right onto Mount Veeder and rode it backwards all the way back to the truck. At this point we finally got to let those wheels really spin out for a while. We really enjoyed the day as time flew by on us and caused us to cut out a couple other roads we were going to climb and sight see.
After loading up the bikes, we decided to have a late, well deserved lunch at the Habit Burger Grill!
In summation, it was a great day of riding, filled with the incredible scenery, good conversation, story telling, and the shared appreciation of being apart of this wonderful sport we all here love, cycling. Thanks Joe for enduring all the climbing with me today, I had a blast and look forward to doing this again!
Kenny Leduc (The Van Man)