Geyers Ride

Drove to Geyserville, then ride to Cloverdale, up Geysers Rd. Big headwind on first leg going into Cloverdale that slowed our pace. Once on Geysers Road, Sherie and I energized with the absolute beauty. From the north, this road has lots of one lane, some gravel sections in old washouts, but we saw less than ten cars on the road in the next 10 miles. The stream flowed at our side, we ascended nearly 2000 feet from the oaks and grassy hillsides, some chappall, then into the pines mixed with buckeye, bay etc. The hillsides still green with grass, lupine, poppy, and more abounded. On this leg, we saw turkey vultures eatiing a road kill rabbit, Ben saw a bobcat at about 50 feet until he hid in the rocks beside the road. A hawk circled at about 25 feet above us looking for a thermal.

Eventually, about 12 miles up, we could see the pipes on the hillside leading to the power turbines. One set of cooling towers vented steam to the blue skies. Old mine buildings dotted the hillsides, and then the larger road connected on our right.

Well, this grade is as tough as advertised. It does seem like a mile, although it may be a touch less. However, it is all 15% to 18% for this stretch, luckily with two full lanes plus decent shoulders. And almost no cars. Just your leaden legs trying to keep the crank turning, standing to slow the pace. Ben made some slow loops in the three turnouts to keep the heart rate only at maximum. Sherie paper-boyed much of it. But we both rode it to the top.

After this, it levels out for a bit, then a down, then another uphill. After this, a short traverse leads to the highest vineyards above Alexander Valley, for Geyser Peak Winery. Anyway, when we got here, there was a poster warning of delays for a film company shooting a Gatorade commercial. Sure enough, around the next corner, there was a sheriff that stopped Ben. When Sherie caught up, he lead us down about a half mile through the “movie set” where there were road side camps, kilometer markers, French villages on the road side. There were bike barriers with posters, a French TV van, etc. to make this big climb above the valley look like the Tour de France Once to the bottom of the “set,” we saw the crew having lunch under tents. I would guess there were about 50 people hanging out. Kind of fun to see.

Anyway, this downhill leg is shorter, with more sustained climbs, than the long climb up Big Sulpher Creek that we did early. A good direct climb, a great training climb ala Diablo. Many places at least 12%.

After that, a short jaunt back to Geyserville and the car, and a stop at the country store for deli sandwiches and drinks.

45.31 miles, 4086 vert feet, 12.2 mph ave

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