Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 12 - Cloverdale to Petaluma

Daily Statistics:
Rode 70.7 miles and burned 4533 calories.
Left the hotel at 7:21 and arrived at 1:04.

Today was somewhat of a contrast to what we have had over the last many days. When we left breakfast, it was basically clear skies, and stayed that way all day. We left the motel early, but only rode about a mile and a quarter before stopping for a more hearty breakfast than the motel had to offer. Once filled with pancakes, bacon, and eggs, we headed out for some very rural country roads. The first 30 miles or so were along vineyard after vineyard, as we rolled through the Dry Creek Valley on Dry Creek and Westside roads. I think this picture gives you the feel for how the grapes were never ending.

Ron was slow leaving breakfast, so I headed out, and eventually joined up with Bob and Tom. Tom's brother is off to do a triathlon this weekend, and Tom has been riding with Bill and Paul, but they skipped the fancy breakfast to get a jump. We moved off smartly with Bob and Tom in tow, and what do you know, we caught up with Paul and Bill just before entering River Road at about 30 miles. Tom dropped off to rejoin with Paul and Bill, and Bob and I rode hard into the SAG.
As I was getting ready to leave, Rachel rode in. I thought I should take the following picture for Andrew Perry, as Rachel is clearly a proper Englishwoman in her Britannia jersey.

At any rate, I headed out from the SAG on my own, after proceeding a few more miles along the Russian River, I turned onto Bohemian Highway. This was a very pretty road, and actually took me through a short stint of redwoods, but stayed in the trees for at least 10 miles. It also had a lot of climbing, although not nearly as severe as the last couple of days. I took the following picture in honor of Gene Emborsky (yes this is one of many), but trust this wasn't the worst this day, and certainly not of the last couple.

A short stint on the Bodega Highway brought me to Valley Ford Road. The scenery was basically brown California hills, but the good news was much of the rest of the way into town was blessed with a nice tailwind, which made for easy riding. We were routed over a nasty grade on Walker Road, where I met several local riders out for a noon training ride. I made my way onto Pepper Road, when I was caught from behind by Ron, who had been riding hard all day to catch me. We rode together on into the motel, and promptly went for a nice lunch.
Tomorrow is to be a short day, if the program holds. The brochures had listed today as 52 miles, but Karen had a route sheet for 69+, which as you can see became over 70. Hopefully, tomorrow sticks to the plan, as I am ready for a break.

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