Napa to Healdsburg 200k

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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Today’s ride is the reverse route of Santa Rosa Cycling Club’s Healdsburg 200k brevet. Instead of starting in Healdsburg, our ride begins in Napa and heads north along Silverado Trail to Hwy 128 into Healdsburg for a loop around Sonoma’s wine country.

We begin on Imola Ave and head north on 4th Ave through the vineyards and residential neighborhoods along the eastern edge of Napa before passing the Silverado Resort on Atlas Peak Rd. The turn on Hardman Ave leads us out to Silverado Trail.

We head north on Silverado Trail for the next 20 miles on flat to rolling terrain through the picturesque vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley. Yellow wildflowers are growing in abundance and provide a beautiful contrast to the bare vines of the vineyards. The rolling green mountains are a gorgeous backdrop to this vast open fertile valley. We pass the towns of Yountville and Rutherford and cut across the Napa River on Bale Ln to the St Helena Hwy into Calistoga.

A great place to make a quick stop in Calistoga is at the Fast & Easy Mart at 1108 Lincoln Ave; it’s just right off Foothill Blvd. This place is open 24 hours-the restroom is conveniently located outside without a need for a key, it’s clean and big enough to roll your bike in. Need water? There’s a spigot right next to the restroom. You can purchase snack foods and beverages inside the Mart.

After the short ride through Calistoga we continue north on Hwy 128  and cross the Napa County line into Sonoma County. Hwy 128 takes us through the gorgeous Knights Valley; vineyards and wineries are predominant here along with cattle ranches and fruit orchards. The imposing mountain slopes seamlessly comes right down to the green open pastoral valley floor.

Hwy 128 continues northwest into Alexander Valley; another glorious valley which is home to numerous wineries and vineyards. Oh and home to the River Rock Casino! The valley floor supports the growth of many premium grapes for the many wine makers in this area. The scenery is just outstanding-the rolling hillsides and mountain ridges rise from the grape vines of the valley floor! We take Healdsburg Ave into the town of Healdsburg for lunch at the Safeway on Vine St.

The post lunch route includes a 10+ miles loop that rolls around the vineyards and wineries of Dry Creek Valley. The fields of yellow wildflowers growing along the valley are absolutely stunning, I can’t help but smile-it’s very cheerful looking!

Yoakim Bridge Rd crosses Dry Creek over to the short climb up Canyon Rd. You’re at the top when you reach the Olive Hill Cemetery, from there; it’s a fast descent to Geyserville Ave into Geyserville. You can get food and water at the Geyserville Store. The restroom is for customers use only, so just support the business and make a purchase.

We finish the loop around Alexander Valley on Hwy 128 through the gorgeous vineyards and wineries. I just love the geometry of all the vines lined up ever so perfectly across the valley. The presence of the wildflowers is a lovely sight to see!

From Jimtown, we reverse the route and head south on Hwy 128 back through Knights Valley into Calistoga. BTW, the Jimtwon store is closed on Tues and Weds during the winter. Another quick stop at the Fast & Easy Mart and we’re ready for the remaining 30 miles of the ride! We may even get back before sunset!

The vineyards along Silverado Trail through Napa Valley look quite different during the later hours of the day. The sun is lower and casts its glow across the valley floor-it’s stunning!

We did notice the heavy noisy commute traffic on Silverado Trail and was so glad to make the turn on Hardman Rd. A few more short little climbs in and around Napa brings us back to our start on Imola Ave.

This 200k caps off my weekly century ride for January. Plans are in the making for doing different routes for February!

We had a magnificent day of riding through the beautiful and famous “Wine Country” of both Napa and Sonoma! Thanks to Wyatt for tandeming with me-it’s always good to have company on a long ride!

VDO Stats:
128.39 miles with 3941′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 2%
Max grade: 9%

Weather: FABULOUS! Sunny with clear blue skies and NW winds. Cold morning temp of 35F and reaching a high of 62F in Healsdburg.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine.
~Ernest Hemingway
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Click here to view the route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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