The Professor was up from LA this weekend, so he, JK, and I loaded up the Honda Avocado on Saturday morning and made our annual fall pilgrimage to Napa. Our route started on the Silverado Trail, headed up to Lake Berryesa, contoured the western shore, then took Pope Canyon Road towards the Ink Grade (shown on left).
Napa is actually not one of the most best areas to ride only because it inevitably involves a stretch on the Silverado Trail, a noisy and heavily trafficked road on the east side of the Valley. This particular route, though, limited our Silverado exposure to only two miles, leaving us 50 miles of back roads, which are particularly empty this time of year.
Soon after our 10am start, we took off our arm warmers and were sweating in the humidity. The leaves and gentle breeze made for a great fall day. Grapes hung low on the vines, and the air reeked of rotting fruit.
With a 4-month old and a terrible workload, the Prof doesn't get out on his bike much, and suffered mightily. Even midway through the ride, the rollers along Berryesa had turned his legs to pudding. Ink Grade pretty much did him in. Nonetheless, riding with the Prof is always a pleasure. He never makes excuses or talks about how slow he's going. Best of all, he doesn't apologize for making us wait. He knows we really don't care, and are happy just to spend some time on the bike with an old friend.
The Professor is also the most non-gear head cyclist I know. He rides a 9-year old KHS that cost $600 back then. I don't think he's changed anything besides the cables and chain on that thing, and the Shimano Sora 8-speed gruppo refuses to die. He doesn't put that many miles on it now, but when he lived up here he did a decent amount of riding every week. Whenever a new cyclist asks me for advice on how much to spend, I think of that bike and how it's stayed solid all these years.
This is Napa's peak season, and while our route saw little traffic, Highway 39 and the Silverado Trail were packed with tourists. We stopped at the Oakville Grocery for a post-ride snack, and watched the wine tasters spill out of limos in their $300 jeans, striped shirts, and high heels. We gaped in horror/fascination as one particular woman exposed the thong on her somewhat meaty backside as she ate her sandwich outside the store. Always a good time.
Today, I took it easy, spinning up Tunnel, along Skyline for a while, then back down Claremont. No big thing.
This afternoon, La Roleurette and I, inspired by all the Loma Prieta anniversary coverage, finally put together our earthquake Go Bags. I only hope that many years from now we will open that thing unused and celebrate with the petrified Clif Bars. She also convinced me to throw in a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. Hey - if you're going to be fleeing your house as it collapses around you, you might as well have some nice snacks.
Cleaned, greased, and tightened stem face plate. Still creaking.