Solano County 200k

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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After yesterday’s little accident, I have a choice of either staying down or getting up. My injuries are mostly superficial with lots of skin abrasions and cuts. Life is too short to be down and out, so if I’m mentally and physically able to; I’m going to get back on the bike and ride! I proceed as planned to tandem with Wyatt out to Vacaville from Martinez to meet up with the GPC Weds group for a club ride into Winters.

We leave Holiday Highlands Park at around 7AM and make our way out to the Benicia-Martinez Bridge from Pacheco Blvd out to the refineries on Shell Ave. The low-lying fog is hovering gingerly over the Carquinez Strait to the west as the rising sun cast its golden glow around the skies from the east. I love seeing the sunrise; it’s a great welcome to a new day!

We take the standard flat route along Industrial Way and Goodyear Rd and ride along the ponds and marshes of Suisun and Grizzly Bays. Bright yellow wildflowers carpet the surrounding open meadows and hillsides and it just evokes feelings of joy and happiness!

Lopes Rd parallels I-680; it’s a flat stretch of road that takes you along the edge of Green Valley and Fairfield. We continue on Cordelia Rd to Pittman and cross over I-80 towards Solano Community College. Suisun Pkwy leads us Abernathy Rd for the turn on Mankas Corner Rd. You get fabulous views of the rich farmlands, vineyards and hillsides around Green Valley.

Waterman, Hilborn and Lyon goes through the residential neighborhoods along the northern edge of Fairfield. The rolling climbs on Lyon leads you out along the west side of I-80 into Vacaville

We head east on Cherry Glen Rd to Lagoon Valley and meander around Lagoon Valley Park to Pena Adobe Park before meeting up with everyone on Rivera Rd. There are hundreds and hundreds of sheered sheep grazing the green pastoral lands along with lots of cattle. It was also nice to see lots of people out and about walking around the lagoon and enjoying the surroundings of the park on such a nice morning.

The Weds group gathers on Rivera Rd which is just located outside of Pena Adobe Park; it’s a huge turnout for today’s ride out to Winters. I find a sunny spot to stand around and watch everyone hustling to get ready.

We cross over I-80 on Rivera Rd to Cherry Glen Rd and ride along the flats and rolling terrain on Pleasants Valley Rd for the next 11.5 miles. The valley floor is a spectacular vibrant green as are the soft rolling hills surrounding the many farmhouses, ranches, farms, nurseries, orchards and vineyards. Free range chickens are out feeding and horses and cattle are grazing the vast open scenic meadows. Yellow wildflowers, fruit and nut blossoms are putting out a grand display of color as we roll pass the many orchards along this valley.

The turn on Putah Creek Rd takes us for the next 5 flat miles along Lake Solano out to the many blooming fruit and nut orchards lining the edge of Solano and Yolo County lines.

Our lunch stop is at the Rotary Park in Winters; there are many food options including Steady Eddy’s which is located across the street on Main. Water and restrooms are available at the park.

The post lunch route heads south along the flats through more orchards and vast farmlands and turns west for the rolling climbs on Timm, Peaceful Glen and English Hills.

The major climb of the day is going up east Cantelow Rd; it’s about 3.6 miles to the summit that begins on gentle terrain and leads up to several steep pitches along the back side of the ridge. The last quarter-mile up to the hairpin turn is steep with gradient ranges of 9-11%. At the top-take a second to enjoy the spectacular views of the valley below!

The descent on Cantelow drops you down to Pleasants Valley Rd for the 3 short rolling climbs through the valley. At this point, we start to reverse our way back to Benicia.

Once we arrive at the end of Goodyear Rd, we continue west for a loop around Vallejo/Benicia on Lake Herman Rd and Columbus Pkwy. The hills around Lake Herman Rd are super glowing green; must be the extra fertilizing ingredients coming from the refineries!

We hit a few unavoidable potholes and have to stop to fix a flat; seems easy enough right? Well, it wasn’t as simple as that, upon further examination Wyatt finds that the rim of the rear wheel is bent. His ever churning problem solving mind comes up with a great fix and we’re able to get back on the tandem in no time!

We decide it’s better to finish the loop than to turn around so onward we go! From Lake Herman Rd, we head south on Columbus Pkwy to the Bay Trail into the park out to W K St into Benicia. The short distance through town on Military East brings us back to the bike/ped bridge crossing off Park Rd.

We’re still doing great on time and the tandem is still riding fine so we decide to  complete the 200k route as planned. We take the longer way back to Holiday Highlands by going through Old Downtown Martinez and taking Alhambra Ave to John Muir Rd. We finish the ride with a final climb up Vine Hill Way and take Center Ave up to Glacier Dr and descend Arnold Dr back to the park.

Thanks to Wyatt for his quick thinking ability to fix the wheel-we even got to finish the whole 200k route! I always know I’m in good hands when we tandem together-THANK YOU WYATT!

Thanks to Carla for leading this ride-it was a wonderful day to be out riding!

~40 people in attendance with 4 tandems

VDO Stats:
126.31 Miles with 4979′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 2%
Max grade: 14%

Weather: FABULOUS! Early morning fog burning off and giving way to brilliant sunshine and clear blue skies for the rest of the day. Temps ranged from the mid 40’s in the AM to the high 70’s in the PM with NW winds

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Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.     ~Helen Keller, The Open Door
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Click here to view the interactive route map & profile

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Follow this route for today’s 200k ride:

Follow this route for the original club ride:

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