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.