We left Ft Bragg as quickly as we had arrived the previous day. It is an unexciting place, at least as far as I could tell. The weather was, once again, foggy and cold when we started out. The 4 Geldings were once again back in riding form. “The Duchess” had decided to take a couple of days off from riding to allow some healing time. This allowed Toronto Mark to once again ride with the rest of our cross-country group. Unfortunately, this renewed camaraderie was short-lived, as Baltimore Mark decided to take it a bit more easy today. The rest of us proceeded on to the 1st SAG stop, back into the redwood forest.
|Back into the redwood forest|
The weather was still cool, but we knew that we were finally going to get some sunshine and plenty of heat. After all, we are now getting inland and deep into wine country, USA. Once out of the forest, clothes started to get taken off, rolled up and stuffed into the back pockets of our jerseys. I still had under-armor on at this point and was sweltering. The temperature of the forest was in the 50's, but once we arrived in wine country, it spiked up to the 80's and 90's. I could hardly wait until we got to the 2nd SAG, to be able to shed the extra pieces.
We stopped at a fresh fruit stand that also made excellent apple cider. This location is close to the halfway point along the ride. We are halfway done the miles and also halfway done the time. The feelings that we had at the halfway point, when we were riding across the country, were just not there this time. It was more of a ho-hum milestone, probably because we have done several other rides, and the novelty was absent.
|At the fruit stand, halfway point|
Joe and I rode the whole day together. The Mark's had dropped back and weren't interested in attacking the bigger climbs that would come in the last 3rd of the day. Ironically, neither Joe, nor I wanted to attack them either, so we decided early on to take it easy. We were expecting large climbs, but they never really materialized, leaving us with many shallower ones instead. It was fortunate that we didn't want to ride hard for a Strava challenge, because as it turned out, the road was very much under repair, with plenty of work-crew stoppages and new tar being applied. It wreaked havoc on our tires, as every 1/10 of a mile or so, we would have tar droplets glued to our tires, requiring a constant running of our gloves over them as we proceeded.
The landscape of the wine country, especially in Sonoma County, is hilly with a mixture of green trees and brown grasses, making a patchwork quilt of unusual splendor. Vineyards are scattered among the acres, predominantly of wineries that seem to be more family operated, than the big names. As we head more into Sonoma County tomorrow, the big winery names should appear more often.
After all of the day's climbs were over, Joe and I were blessed with a 3.5 mile downhill run that was not very technical, allowing for us to maintain a higher speed than other days. Joe was getting tired from the work of the day as we headed into Cloverdale. Cloverdale is a pretty town with many attractive buildings along the main street. We stopped for a lunch, covered in sweat and ate outside to watch for other riders that might go by. I'm sure the other patrons were happy by that decision.
|Main street Cloverdale|
Let's see what tomorrow brings.