Thursday, May 6, 2010
Nobay Mini Tour Day Four
After a few hours of the lake vent and my sleeping bag I was tired but ready to get up. Today my feet feel like swollen overripe tomatoes. It hurts to walk, but thankfully not to pedal, some naproxen with my shredded cardboard will fix me up. We finally get to see the camp and the park, it's quite a bit friendlier and a different scale in the light.
We set out for Napa with purpose, it's going to be an epic day whether we realize it or not. After we are saved from some gnarly single-track by a married couple on full-suspension mountain bikes, we work our way along a bike path through the back of the park and out through a retirement community that had posted signs: BICYCLES PROHIBITED . We finally make our way onto the Sonoma Highway, past the picturesque homogeneity of a previous generation's vision for their America.
After lunch it's time for a little route discussion. Specifically a route that is covered in the Tour of California: Trinity Road. Our route over Trinity Road would require ~1,700 feet of climbing in about 3 miles. It looks like this on the Internet:
The grade is in excess of 12% throughout most of the first mile. It is a climb that done fully loaded requires a gear lower than the one I had, or perhaps it was mashing on my swollen tomatoes, but this climb would keep me off my feet for a week after I got back from the trip. Another lesson for my tour in June and a search for either different shoes or different pedals, my feet hurt like hell after this effort.
I'm the first to reach the top and run into a couple of college kids riding with their dad. They are impressed with my bike, especially dad, I'm proud, sore feet and all. I stake out a good position for shooting riders on the final feet of the climb. The descending family ride alerts Seth to my intentions and he takes off his helmet for his shot.
Helmets are thrown to the ground and beers are cracked. Yes beers — just a couple. And since he claimed he was heaviest, he felt he was also fastest on the descent. Heavy and logical he barrels down the steep winding road ahead of us.
I come up on his expert line down this hill to find him covered in foliage as if he was a sniper trying to blend in.
Fortunately we can laugh this one off, the laughter is awkward and uncomfortable, just like when Seth weighed the last batch of homebrew. Still, we're thankful and a ton more cautious (well at least Seth) on the rest of the descent. It's refreshing riding Dry Creek in the Spring, green and lush, postcardesque.
We're not yet into Napa proper, but we are all thankful to be off the mountain. Our dinner discussion is a battle of wills, and another night of camping quickly loses its luster under the threat of rain and another night on a permarest. A menagerie of mobile machinery fuels a search for a motel near Main. We decide to try our cheapest option with the highest rating, the old Jefferson Motel, now known as the Chardonnay Lodge.
Now I like a lodge just as much as the next guy, but one this cheap in Napa seems odd somehow. Turns out it was the best decision we made all trip. Close to town and with a roof. We decide to check out a couple local watering holes and a little of my roots. Turns out that my grandfather was the last merchant in Napa's Chinatown.
Back at the lodge we watch TV like we've not seen it in months. Within minutes we are all sleeping through the heavy rain.