Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wrapping Up An Epic Week of Riding

So I admit I over did it riding this week... but I think riding bikes in Sonoma County is good for my soul. We are lucky enough to get to visit Bodega Bay a few times every year, to visit Brendan's parents, my sister and friends for the holidays, and it feels like a treat to ride on Sonoma County's unspoiled rural roads. The problem is that there are more miles of amazing roads here than I have time to ride, which means it's hard to not go overboard riding :) We have been in the area for 6 glorious days, and I crammed in as much road biking as possible over that time, as well as one amazing mountain bike ride, and a hill climb time trial. Now I have two rest days in a row on the calendar (and thankfully 2 days of nonstop rain in the forecast), and my heart is full of beautiful scenery, good food, painful climbs and thrilling descents.
Here is a rundown of the rides I got to do which happen to be on the top of my list of rides I would recommend to anyone visiting the area.

Day 1 Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay via Healdsburg and Sweetwater Rd:
My 'commute' from Cara's house to the Connors residence consisted of 60-ish miles of beautiful wine country roads complete with a stop in the charming town of Healdsburg for coffee and a scone at Flying Goat. Highlights from this ride included an incredible forestry climb, passing through the eclectic town of Occidental, and the quaint/Christmasy Duncan's Mills towering Redwood trees, and views of the delta where the Russian river meets the Ocean.

Day 2 King Ridge Loop + Tin Barn and Kruse Ranch Rd:
This one is my all time favorite road ride. The whole big loop ended up being about 93 miles (I rode extra at the end to make it to 100 miles... gluttony!) and 9,000ft ascent. Highlights included an hour of intervals to start the day, grand views of Sonoma County from King Ridge, the glorious dirt climb up Kruse Ranch road, and the most stunning descent down Meyers Grade rd with sweeping views of the ocean below.
I love rolling hills covered with oak trees.
Day 3 Bodega Bay to Santa Rosa:
This one wasn't the most outstanding route, and honestly if I hadn't needed to do intervals I might have skipped riding because it was raining and cold. I was supposed to ride into Santa Rosa, do my intervals on the way and then mountain bike with Brendan and Adem, but pulled the plug on the mtb part and went to the barn with my sister instead to play horses.
Jenner is one of my fave towns, right on the water and always so peaceful. 

Day 4 Up Hwy 1 to Salt Point and Beyond
On Wednesday I wanted to ride on the coast all day. Brendan went mushrooming in Salt Point with his dad, so I rode from Bodega up Hwy 1 and timed it so I would arrive at Salt Point when they were done mushrooming. I think Hwy 1 is so incredibly pretty and it was the most beautiful clear day.


Another view of Jenner, this time heading South on Hwy 1
I can't handle my love for the Sonoma Coast.
Day 5 San Bruno Hill Climb and Annadel Mountain bike Ride
On New Year's day we drove down to San Bruno for the annual New Year's hill climb, not the most notable ride (although views from the top are pretty amazing), but we followed that up with an awesome mountain bike ride in Annadel. This is one of the few places one can legally mountain bike in Sonoma County, and it's a pretty outstanding place to ride. The trails range from flowy and smooth to super chunky and technical, and the scenery is crazy pretty.
Decree family photo
Day 6 French Pastries + Chileno Valley
This ride was the last in a series of pretty big mileage days, but since rain was on the docket for Sunday and Monday I threw myself at a really long ride to make the most of the trip. I started by heading up Coleman Valley road because this is a great climb I missed during the week, ate amazing pastries with friends in Graton, and then headed out to the farm lands to ride some roads I have never ridden before. I think Chileno Valley road became my favorite new road because it takes you through some incredibly pretty farm lands set in a deep, lush valley that glows green (especially with the pink Oakley Prism lenses in my sunglasses). I also got to see a ton of super cute lambs wagging their tails while nursing, fluffy huggable baby cows, and some fat pigs hanging out at a farm. 

Roads like these make me so so happy. 
So that's what I've been up to for the past week, soaking up as much of the beauty in Sonoma County as possible before the rain comes. If you ever need suggestions on where to ride in Sonoma County you know who to ask :)

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