Saturday, May 5, 2012
The WCC is an event organized by the Santa Rosa Cycling Club and is one of the most popular and beautiful century rides in California. All rides start and finish at the Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts.
With my Doc’s okay to ride a recumbent, I decide to keep my Wine Country Century registration and do the flat 35 mile route. Michael will be doing the 100k route with friends. My goal is to ride easy, take pictures and enjoy the scenery. I’ll be happy to just be out and about spinning my legs.
I start my ride at around 9 AM and exit the parking lot to get on Mark West Springs/River Rd. The most dangerous part of this route is getting up and over the freeway overpass-once you cross over to the other side, there is a decent shoulder area to ride on.
This route meanders along the quiet scenic back roads of Sonoma County through the vineyards, farms and ranches west and south towards Sebastopol. Spring is definitely here-everything is green!
I initially tried to take scenic pics with my left arm but with the limited range of motion I ended up with shots of the ground! So for all the frontal road pics, I placed my camera on top of the handlebar and for all the landscape pics I took to stopping off to the side of the road. This action prompted a lot of cyclists to keep asking me if I was okay!
The single lane roads on Woolsey, Oakwild and West Olivet are mostly under a canopy of trees with dappled sunlight. There are some whimsical art sculptures placed in front of a few residential homes in the area.
The next turn on Occidental Rd brings me pass a part of the Laguna wetlands and through the vineyards and apple orchards towards the rest stop in the village of Graton.
The one and only rest stop for the 35 mile route provided plenty of fruits and salty snacks. The best thing was the cut bananas smeared with peanut butter and or Nutella.
From Graton, the route heads north on Ross Rd to Green Valley Rd where the 35 milers and century riders converge. I discovered that while riding on the recumbent, other cyclists gave me lots of room on the road and plenty of encouragement on the short rollers and climbs. I was hearing folks calling out “Way to go, you can make it! Good job-you’re almost there!” while I was spinning up to the top. It’s kinda comical-I think it’s the sight of the yellow flag!
For the first time ever I experienced getting yelled at by another cyclist. Mind you, the recumbent is over 35 lbs and the steering on it is kinda twitchy and squirrely so I’m riding it the best I can while trying to avoid all the potholes out on the road. I’m constantly glancing at my rear view mirror and see this heavy set guy in a full red & white kit coming up from behind, he yells out “RIDE A STRAIGHT LINE!” and gives me the stink eye as he passes by. Is that even a necessary thing to say to someone? To a friend maybe but then aren’t we all just trying to enjoy the ride? Again, I think it’s the sight of yellow flag. I find that an arm wave and a big “THANK YOU” is the best response to both positive and negative comments!
Vineyards and old barns occupy a majority of the landscape along the rolling terrain on Green Valley and Vine Hill Rds. I stop on a side road to take a photo of a stunningly gorgeous field of red wildflowers.
The route continues on Laguna Rd to Trenton Rd and crosses River Rd to Trenton-Healdsburg Rd. It’s was great to have a CHP and a course marshal hold traffic while riders crossed the busy intersection. The gentle climb up Trenton-Healdsburg Rd takes us to the turn on Mark West Station Rd.
This quiet back road brings you through more vineyards, ranches and apple orchards. At the top of Mark West Station, there are spectacular views of the valley below!
Later down the road, I discover that I’ve missed a turn onto Starr Rd and am now off route. I continued on Windsor Rd into Windsor. The map on the back of the route sheet is not very detailed but then I noticed a bus stop with a map showing the bus line through town and was able to get back on course.
The next series of turn on Arata and Hembree Lns to Old Redwood and Pleasant Ave takes you through some residential neighborhoods along the edge of Windsor.
Every rider from the 4 routes being offered converge on Faught Rd for the last 4 miles back to the finish.
PhotoCrazy cameras were out along this road catching every rider as they rolled pass the vineyards.
Congrats to Eileen for completing her first 100k ride! It was a wonderful day to be out on the bike! The post ride meal was served under a huge tent with a choice of grilled turkey breast, tri-tip or vegetarian lasagna. They even had ice cream sundaes-Fantastic!
Thanks to all the WCC volunteers for supporting us on the rides! It was great to be back on a bike.
35 miles with ~1200′ of elevation gain
Weather: FABULOUS! Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the high 50’s in the morning to the high 70’s in the afternoon.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Follow this route for today’s ride: