Lake Hennessey to Lake Berryessa

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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Today’s ride takes place in Napa amidst a heat wave we’ve been having for the past few days. Temperatures are forecasted to be well over 100. I don’t mind riding in the heat but you do have to be prepared. I have 2 water bottles plus a Cbak filled with ice and water. Wyatt also has a Cbak and 2 bottles. We start at the intersection of Silverado Trail and Sage Canyon Rd/128. For sure, the turnout for this ride will be very small or none at all. Either way, we still look
forward to having a good day of riding. It’s 3 miles to the boat launch where
the rest of the group is to meet up. As we ride around the lake, Wyatt stops
for me to take pictures. The water in the lake is absolutely still and you can
see the mirrored images of the surroundings. The intake tower looks like it’s
suspended in midair. It’s a really cool sight!

We reach the boat launch area and are greeted by one lone person, Heather. Slowly another person trickles in, it’s Wayne. He started his ride from Yountville. As we’re exiting the parking lot, a van pulls in and it’s Bob and his friend Bill. We decide to turn around and wait for them. Carol also rides up as we’re waiting. Now we’re a group of 7 people. What a bunch of die-hards! Temp 99.

We all agree to stay together and ride as a group. We exit the lot, head east on Sage Canyon Rd/128 and make a right at the intersection at Chiles Pope Valley to stay on Hwy 128. We approach the first climb of the day. The gradient is around 7-8% and goes on for a bit. We’re exposed to the sun for the most part and do hit some shaded areas in between. The road levels off a bit as we reach the next turn at the intersection of Lower Chiles Pope Valley. Carol is contemplating on going a different route back to Pope Valley. She ultimately decides to continue riding with the group.

We continue on Hwy 128 and pass a few vineyards along the way. This section of road is pretty flat with a sweeping downhill all the way to Knoxville-Berryessa Rd.

From the turn on Knoxville, it’s only 4 miles to the Spanish Flat Store. This stretch is kind of flattish with a gradual climb up pass Capell Cove, but nothing too steep. There is a nice breeze that helps counter the heat a bit. It’s then a nice downhill to the next regroup at the store.

We arrive at the Spanish Flat General Store. You can get cold drinks and the sandwiches are made to order. You must have patience, the service is very slow. The big white board in front of the counter will answer all the questions you’ll have when you stop here. Water and restrooms are available.

We continue on Knoxville-Berryessa Rd for about 2 miles to our lunch stop at Oak Shores Picnic Area. We enter through the first driveway which is actually the exit. Carol decides to skip the lunch stop and ride on ahead. Water and restrooms are available here. There are plenty of covered picnic tables in the area. The views are amazing!

After lunch, we stay on Knoxville-Berryessa Rd for another 6 miles. There are a few climbs and rollers before we reach the intersection of Pope Canyon Rd.

It’s definitely heating up! We continue on Pope Canyon for almost 8 miles. We’re totally exposed to the sun. The first climb is a bit steep; it was about an 8-9% grade that went on for a while. We had a tailwind that was absolutely useless for today. As Wyatt puts it, we’re riding in still air and stewing in our own juices. OMG! The second climb was not so bad. Bob was ahead of us. We stop in the shade at the top to wait for the rest of the group. Bob had stopped earlier and we can see him waiting a little further down the road. After waiting for a while, we decide to ride back down to check on everyone. Heather was experiencing stomach issues and the heat was just hitting some people harder than others. The next section of road was a downhill and it was HOT. It felt like we were riding through a convection oven with all the hot air flowing around us. I gave Bill, Wayne and Heather some Enduralytes at the next shaded impromptu stop. Temp 125 on Bill’s odometer. Yikes! The H&M store was a few more miles away. Cold drinks and ice was not too far from reach. Everyone was a trooper and continued on. It is mostly flat and downhill to the next turn. This back country is actually very beautiful.

We reach the turn at Pope Valley Cross Rd. We wait in the shade for everyone. Bill is cooked. Bob decides not go to the market and ride straight back to get the van to pick up Bill. I give him all the water from my bottle and off he went. The remainder of us head to the store.

We arrive at the H & M Market. There is a porta potty available for public use. Gatorade and water was the choice of beverage along with a big bag of ice. The ice was stuffed inside jerseys and shorts, it was hilarious! It’s not so bad if we can all still laugh and joke around. Wyatt treats the gals to ice cream and popsicles. Wayne decides to call it quits too and wait with Bill. Heather is still kind of perky so we encourage her to continue the rest of the ride with us. We will stay with her all the way back to the start. Temp 109, that’s in the shade.

We continue on Chiles Pope Valley Rd. It’s another 14 miles back to the boat launch. There is a climb out of Pope Valley but it’s not too steep. Thereafter, it’s a series of gentle rollers and flats. Bob waves at us as he passes us in the van going the opposite direction. The last little climb gets us to a fabulous fun descent down the canyon. Bob pulls by in the van with Wayne and Bill in tow as we near Lake Hennessey. We thank him and wave goodbye to them.

We get Heather back to her car and she’s ecstatic that she was able to finish the ride. Good going Heather! We ride for another 3 miles back to the van.

Much thanks to Wyatt, Bob, Bill, Wayne, Heather and Carol for braving the high temps to join me on this ride! THANK YOU FOR COMING! It was a great pleasure for me to ride with you all. Another big THANKS goes to Bob for being the impromptu SAG driver, you were a life saver! Despite the heat, there was still plenty of smiles and laughter from everyone. It was quite the experience and I’m glad to have been able to share it with a wonderful bunch of people!

7 people in attendance with 1 tandem

52 miles with 2817′ of elevation gain

Weather: HOT! Starting temp of 99 reaching a high of 125 on Pope Canyon Rd. 109 in the shade at Pope Valley. For the first time ever, we were actually looking forward to the headwinds. The tailwind just cooked us up on the climbs

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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