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Super Bowl Sunday Near Century

Wednesday, February 07, 2018 9:55 PM | Joyce Chang

Thirteen riders started with me at Piner High School, en route to the Santa Rosa Creek Trail where we were to rendezvous with Susan Noble’s crew that started at the Trail House.  Ten minutes before we started, Dennis Prior showed up at Piner HS from his house in Windsor and told me he’d soft pedal; he wanted to keep going so he wouldn’t get cold.  That’s the last we saw of him until Wohler Bridge!  These warm February days often start in the low 40’s so there was ample reason for Dennis not to want to stop.  On my drive to Piner HS, I had heard on the radio that it was -3 degrees in Minneapolis, where they were playing the Super Bowl.  40-degree mornings here?  No complaints.

As most of you know, it’s often a challenge to figure out when and where to meet another group.  There’s always the possibility of a late start or a mechanical issue that prevents a well-coordinated meet-up.  Today was no exception.  Several of the faster riders wanted to forge ahead, so a few of us stopped oh-so-briefly to text Susan to let her know we were on the Creek Trail and that we’d be soft-pedaling ahead.  Soon after our brief texting stop, Luke Scrivanich caught up with our group.

Baptiste, Gabriel, and Peter of the Petaluma Wheelmen were on the ride. We regrouped in Occidental for the 5.4-mile Coleman-Joy-Bittner loop.  Most everyone knew the route, but the two in the back Baptiste and Peter apparently did not.  When everyone completed the loop and regrouped back in Occidental, I didn’t see Baptiste and Peter.  Gabriel said that Baptiste knew the area, so we shouldn’t worry about him. I’ll get back to this later.

Most of the folks had already taken off: Michael “I rode 70 miles yesterday so I’m tired” Barnes, Karen “89 miles is a stretch for me right now” Steele, Doug “I’m gonna shortcut it today cuz I’m not in shape” Wagner, Nancy “I’m gonna ride ahead and not wait” Vallance, Gwen “I might ride the Davis Double so I need to ride a ton of bonus miles” Hall, Luke “I like to gossip with you, Joyce” Scrivanich, Eduardo from Napa and Steve from Napa.

As we were descending the 16% downhill on Covey, I received a text from Baptiste: they were on their way, having missed the Bittner turn. I knew where they ended up -- oh Joy!

Steve Spitler, Del Bogart and I rode together until mile 32 at Wohler Bridge, where Dennis was basking on a rock in a beam of sunshine peaking through the tall redwoods.  We filled our water bottles at the Sonoma County Water Agency building and rode with Dennis. At Madrona Manor we picked up Gwen who stood there waiting for us.  Nancy had ridden into Healdsburg to shortcut the route.

Now our group of five headed over Dutcher Creek where at mile 56, the turnaround point, we headed south to Geyserville, our long-awaited food stop.  Some coffee, pastries and string cheese freshened us up.  Here at last, Susan Noble’s group pulled in: Susan, Robin Rothrock, Bob Dahlstet and Steve Piezzi.  They had gotten to the Fulton and Creek Trail intersection a few minutes after we had, but for whatever reason it took until mile 62 to cross paths with them.  Dennis wanted to head straight home to Windsor from Geyserville, so he peeled off on his own along Geyserville Ave.

Gwen, Steve, Del and I stayed on the prescribed route on Hwy 128 and Chalk Hill, totally unmolested by traffic as most of the yahoos in pick-up trucks were swilling their beer and smothering their chips with guacamole at their respective Super Bowl parties.  What a glorious day to be out on the bike riding a near century!  I take it back, Steve and Gwen rode well over 100 miles each as they started from their houses in Windsor.

When we returned to our cars at Piner HS, everyone’s vehicle was gone except Baptiste and Peter’s.  Within 15 minutes, Baptiste and Peter rolled in.  Just as I suspected, they had missed the Bittner turn off Joy Road and stayed on Joy until Bodega Hwy, Freestone, Bohemian Hwy and back to Occidental.  They continued on the prescribed route but turned into Healdsburg rather than continue north on WDC to Dutcher Creek. They ended up riding something like 79 miles.

Luke later told me that he, Eduardo and Gabriel rode the entire route.  Karen, Michael and Doug turned south at Canyon.  I don’t know what happened to Steve from Napa, but presumably he returned safely.

Of fifteen riders, seven completed the entire ride.  Way to go!  Herding cats.

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