Willits to Cloverdale – A Bit of Redemption

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August 4 – 57 miles, 1,000 feet, ??? calories

Today started with some electronic glitches. First Google Maps for a bicycle wouldn’t work on my phone. It continuously said “Rerouting” and Ale’s did the same. I started in the direction I knew I was supposed to go and stopped at about a mile to try again. This time it worked. Who knows why.

Then I noticed that my Garmin had gone bonkers. All of its readings were wrong. I had supposedly gone only 100 feet or so, I had hit 28% climb and my maximum speed was 14.5 mph, which was way too slow for that stretch even from me. After stopping and restarting it a few times, it stopped reporting any riding data at all. Oh, well. Although I like the data (how else can I count the miles I still have to go?), it isn’t a necessity. So on I went.

On I went onto a dead end road, as it turned out. Because that is the way Google told me to go. I think that was 2 or 3 miles. Also not a disaster, but I am certainly not adding miles on purpose.

Then on to the highway again, only now with pretty consistently adequately wide shoulders. Though it would be nice if more of the gravel would get swept off.

The ride into Ukiah along 101 included a stretch I was specifically warned against a couple of days ago by Robert. The south direction went from 2 lanes to 1 because of road work and the 1 lane was especially narrow because there were temporary cement barriers on each side of the lane so that rather than having painted lane markers, there were concrete “walls” that defined the lane’s width. A width that wasn’t made to accommodate both cars, let alone trucks, and bicycles. And the stretch was long enough, that I can’t imagine drivers patiently letting a bike go ahead without attempting to pass it, something that would be terrifying to the cyclist. At least if I was the cyclist.

However, this treacherous stretch turned out to be one of the best I have had on the highway. I was able to get on the closed lane that apparently is being worked on during the week – remember, today is Sunday – by riding through some cones. That led to great riding for me because I had an entire lane, and a generous shoulder, all to myself and I was separated from the traffic by the concrete barrier that would have been so terrifying if I had had to ride on it’s other side. Plus, my personal lane was smooth. Not having a working bike computer, I can’t say how long that lasted, but I enjoyed every minute of it. There was only 1 place where I had to slow because the pavement ended, but that was for less than 50 yards.

The ride also included miles of country roads, many going through vast vineyards. I had an 11.5 mile stretch that was the most fun of this trip. It was smooth, there were few cars, the climbs were gentle and I rode the descents without using my brakes. I missed my computer then because it would have been fun to have seen my speed, though there was a headwind. It was still great fun.

There was another 8.5 mile stretch of 101 but the shoulders were wide enough that even I felt pretty safe. Those up and down miles went by faster than I expected.

Then more country roads leading into Cloverdale. Fun as much of the ride was, it was still great to get to the day’s destination.

The down’s of today’s ride? Well, I got a flat. The first on the road. (You may recall that I had another 1 that didn’t show up until I was in our room.) Given that it is only the second of this trip, I am not complaining. The other “down”? It did get to 95 degrees and that was while I was doing some climbing, though nothing significant. Even that was mitigated by Ale meeting me with about 10 miles to go with ice and water and the air conditioned truck. Some of the perks of being on a supported ride. Especially one that has Alejandra as the support became she is great. She frequently anticipates what I need before I do and her attitude is up lifting.

Ale also helped my spirits today by telling me that rather than thinking me crazy, that I am an inspiration for her, that when she is faced with something difficult at home she sometimes thinks of these rides and uses that as motivation. She also said that she enjoys telling contemporaries at home who brag about 50 mile bike rides that she has a friend who goes on thousands of mile rides, which they don’t believe. In telling me this, Ale was gracious enough that she didn’t say that she tells them how old her friend is.

Tomorrow is Napa and Tuesday is home in Orinda, which will be great. I can’t wait to see Sandi and Sky. The biggest problem will be getting back on the bike Thursday to resume this trip. The temptation to call it done will no doubt be there. But somehow that wouldn’t feel right.

The only photo I took today was of a giant bee 🐝 that I was very glad was not what stung me.

Ale took some photos on her hike today. I have neglected to say that most days she finds some place to go hiking, today for 8 miles. Not all of her energy is spent on making the ride easier, even though she does a great job of that.

Until the next day’s ride.

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3 Responses to Willits to Cloverdale – A Bit of Redemption

  1. Sal Italiano says:

    Looks sweet Rick….Keep up the great work

  2. Rick Perez says:

    Thank you, Sal.

  3. Bobbi Siems says:

    Lovely scenery in the photos – looks so peaceful (in contrast with the tv news.)

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