Wednesday, July 20, 2011
For today’s ride up Mt Veeder, the group meets up at the Yountville Park located on Lincoln and Washington St. It’s a great place to start a ride; there is ample parking, water fountains and restroom facilities.
There’s plenty to see as we ride through town; outdoor sculptures, beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, luxury inns and hotels, shopping and premium restaurants. We exit Yountville on California St and head south on Solano Ave.
I’m taking pictures with my camera and realize that it doesn’t have a memory card in it! Wyatt offers the use of his SD card from his camera, so we make a U turn and ride back to the van to get it. By the time we get back out on Solano, the group is nowhere in sight. Solano Ave parallels Hwy 29 and the terrain is completely flat for the next 6 miles to the turn on Redwood Rd.
The first few miles on Redwood takes us through the residential neighborhoods of Napa. We cross Dry Creek Rd and Browns Valley Rdand stay on Redwood for the next 2.5 miles. There are some old farm houses, ranches, hidden vineyards and wineries as we follow the road along Redwood Creek. Riding underneath the canopy of trees provides us with the much needed shade from the days’ heat.
At mile 11.4, we stay to the right and start the climb up Mt Veeder Rd. The gradient starts off fairly easy and gradually increases as you make the stair step climb to the summit. The last half mile is the steepest part; the gradient ranges from 9-10% and maxes out at 12% as you approach the top. There is no shade and you’re fully exposed to the sun!
Everyone is standing under what little shade there is at the top to cool down. The views are pretty nice up here.
Be careful on the descent, the road conditions are not the best; it’s an obstacle course on very rough pavement.
We continue on Dry Creek Rdfor less than a mile and head up Oakville Rd/Oakville Grade. The climb here is a little over a mile long and not too steep. The descent can be very fast, proceed with caution!
Oakville Grade drops us down to Hwy 29. It’s a very busy intersection with lots of traffic. We stay on Hwy 29 for about the next 6 flat miles into St Helena. Take great care to cross the dangerous set of railroad tracks along the way; there are signs warning bicyclists to walk across them.
The surrounding landscape is filled with many wineries and vineyards.
We reach out destination lunch stop at Gott’s Roadside. They serve a variety of burgers, salads, fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, tacos and milkshakes along with beer and wine of course.
The remainder of the route takes us on Silverado Trail heading south. The terrain seems flat but there’s actually a slight incline. The views of all the vineyards on both sides of the road are just spectacular!
We turn onto Yountville Cross Rd to Yount Rd which will takes us back to the park.
Thanks to Carla and Virginia for leading the ride!
36 people in attendance with 1 tandem
43.54 miles with 2204′ of elevation gain
Weather: HOT! Sunny bright blue skies with temps ranging from the mid 70’s to mid 90’s