It worked out to ride SRCC’s Bad Little Brother again in 2016, that edition’s congenial riding companions were EricW and Sherry. There were some familiar faces in the parking lot at the Lake Sonoma Dam, but folks – at least when Eric and I were there – were rolling out in dribs and drabs on their own timetables as they were ready to go. It was a pleasant morning, but the clear skies promised a warm day.
Eric stopped at Plank coffee in Cloverdale – which, now that I’ve been there I would have too, except we were meeting up with Sherry at the turn to 128 – she’d ridden from home – so I went ahead. I figured Eric would catch us soon, but when it seemed as if he should have but hadn’t I instigated a stop. While we were waiting I got to pick Sherry’s brain about the wildflowers on the side of the road. Just as I was starting to wonder (he knew the route was out 128, right?) Eric appeared, with some coffee that he shared.
The two of them would get ahead on the climbs, but we’d group back up again on the downhills and flats. With the pleasant company it seemed like we were in Boonville in no time. We checked in with the club volunteer there, topped up bottles and headed over to Mountain View. Over and UP, that is. As we settled into the climbing, the fast kids started coming by – MarC, CarlS, Jady – we greeted them as they passed, and Eric scooted off with them. Erm, that’s … they’re … oh well, he’ll figure it out. Or not.
The views did not disappoint, and eventually there was the screaming fun drop off the ridge toward the Pacific. A few miles on Highway 1 and then the lunch stop at Pt. Arena, where it was fun to see other riders. As a climber, Sherry would have preferred the high route, but decided to stick with us for the low run down the coast. Although it was a holiday weekend the traffic was not too bad, except for one close pass.
When we pulled in to the Surf Market parking lot at Gualala I had a moment of extreme disappointment, as I did not see the gelato cart. What?! What?! I rode all this way and … Fortunately, tantrum averted, they were just arriving. YES, I will wait for you to unload and set up. Yes, worth the wait.
Another SAG stop at the turn onto Annapolis Road, and just as we were getting ready to roll out – Colavita in the house! Phil was not only back, but he’d gotten a handful of his teammates to come out and ride as well. Woohoo!
Annapolis Road was its splendid self, and then there was Skaggs. Which, the old part is really quite lovely for the most part. And even the new part, which I bag on, has some great views. There had been a Grasshopper ride that went inbound on Skaggs the same day, but they has all passed through by the time we got there. The club SAG had helped some of them out.
I remembered to eat and drink, and it went much better than the previous year had on the final stretch. I was somehow reminded that on the previous year’s Terrible Two there had been a fire somewhere off of Skaggs, and at the rest stop we’d been joking that maybe the road would be closed. It wasn’t, but a fire tanker truck had passed us on one of the curves – not something I’d want to have to drive – all the water sloshing around seemed like it would make handling a tad sketchy.
It was fun to be along since it was Eric’s first time riding the route. I don’t ride those roads too often, so it always feels pretty new, but there’s always something special about awesome roads you’ve never ridden before. And yay for a route with after all that up and down and back up again, ends with a nice downhill to the car. Well, for some of us. Big Props to Sherry who then rode 15 more miles back home!
Ride date: May 28, 2016