Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Konocti Challenge 2012

I signed up to ride my second Konocti Challenge, a 65 mile ride around Clearlake in Lake County.  They have been having temperatures in the 100's all month.  Here in Fort Bragg the marine layer has been in all month and the highest temperature has been 58!!  Oh boy!!

Why not head over to Lake County a week early and try to get aclimatized?  

Great idea!!

I call my new friend Frank and ask him if I can set up base camp at his place in Nice, CA.

"Sure!  Come on over!"

Clearlake!  What a change of scenery!!

I establish base camp and for a week do daily rides around the area.

There is the "Annual Pear Festival" in Kelseyville so I ride 40 miles round trip to check it out.  The temperature is in the mid 90's.  I'm sweating like a pig but this is what I came for, getting aclimatized.

The vineyards are sucking up the heat for maximum sugar content!

I discover "Main Street Bicycles" in downtown Lakeport.  The owner, Jeff, is a great guy and lets me use his wi-fi.  He also takes the time to visit with me and suggest various bike rides around the area; the Scotts Valley Loop and the Kelseyville Loop.

Also, the Annual,  Sea Plane "Splash In" is happening in Lakeport.  A busy time of year.

During my various rides I discover walnut groves are shady and cool on hot days!

For a change of pace I managed to catch a ride in a UltraLight on floats!!  

$40.00 for forty-five minutes but well worth it. 

Buzzing along 285 feet above the lake doing 43 miles per hour on a 94 degree day is amazingly wonderful!!

A very, laid back, California experience and something I had never done before.  
Another item off my Bucket List!!

Each day I would return to base camp, rinse out and hang up my sweat soaked riding clothes (they are dry in less than two hours!) lie in my hammock, read my book, suck down a cold beer and listen to the mockingbirds!!  Perfect!

During the week I rode two 20 mile loops, one 40 miler (Scotts Valley Loop) and a 52 miler (Kelseyville Loop).

I'm ready for the Konocti Challenge!! 

Friday I called a rest day and I packed up my Vanagon, left Nice and moved to a campground close to the starting line in Lakeport.


I took this photo in the evening and boop!  My camera battery died!  I had been trying to decide whether to take my camera on the Challenge ride or not.  The dead battery made up my mind.  NOT!!

Saturday morning, October 6th.  The Konocti Challenge!

I'm awake at 7:00 AM and on the starting line at 7:30.  Perfect.  It is amazingly cool.  There is an overcast!  The temperature is 58 degrees!  Unbelievable after all the hot weather the preceeding week.  Most people are wearing jackets and arm and leg warmers.  I have just my riding shorts and jersy on but I figure I will warm up once I get rolling.

This year I decide to break the ride into five chunks.  Go as fast as I can to the first rest stop and then take a nice long recovery break.  Ride as fast as I can to the second rest stop.  Recover and repeat, repeat, repeat!  By golly, it worked.  I had a much better time of it this year than I did last year.  And, I finished two hours quicker than last year!  Of course part of my slow time last year involved two flats but still!  This time it was a fun ride!  Plus I ended up with a 12.1 mph moving average for 65 miles!!  Not bad for an old fart!

There were over 500 riders.  I meet and talked to some of them.  The Rogue River Ride in Oregon was suggested to me as a fun ride and also the STP (Seattle to Portland).  Who knows?  I may expand my riding experience next year!

I rolled into Lakeport, crossed the finish line at 3:30 PM, enjoyed some tri-tip, pasta, green salad and a beer.  Packed up and was home in Fort Bragg by 6:30.  Two Advil and called it a night!

I think I was riding the only Surley Long Haul Trucker.  I love that bike!

Whoot!  Whoot!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fort Bragg to Bodega Bay Bike Ride 2012

I met a man who was bike touring through Fort Bragg several months ago.  He lives over by Clearlake.  We got to talking and decided that sometime we would have to get together and give riding together a try, see if we were compatible.  And now..., the time has come!

Frank and I leave Fort Bragg September 11th at 8:00 in the morning.  Soon we are crossing the Salmon Creek Bridge south of Mendocino.  A splendid day for riding.

 For a while!  The coastal fog rolls in, cools the afternoon and makes the ride up Navarro Grade less sweaty!  Nice!

 We stop in Elk at the Elk Store where I introduce Frank to my former employers and great friends, Ben and Tawny.  As always, it is so good to see them.  Then over to the Elk Garage where I roll into the garage bay, borrow a "die grinder" to remove some rear fender that is rubbing the chain when in granny gear, and visited with Sue.  I use to work at the Elk Garage too.

Back to the road and, "Oh Boy!  Dramamine Drive!!" Off the bike and push, push, push up the hill.  Even Mayflower moving vans and motor-homes have trouble with this grade so we don't feel too bad about sniveling.

 At the top, of course,  the younger set comes blowing by!  They claim they pedaled up Dramamine Drive!  They also pedaled over from the Central Valley via Lees's Burg, Indian Valley Reservoir, Bartlett Springs Road and Orr's Spring Road.  Animals!!  Ah youth!!

 Forty miles under our belt we call it a day.  Our original plan was to camp at the hiker/biker campsite at Manchester State Park but on the way to the park there is this Manchester KOA.  We stop in, just to see if they have hiker/biker rates, and they do.  $10.00 each.  "That includes the swimming pool, the hot tub, the showers, the outdoor cooking area (see above) and the evening fire."  The State park hiker/biker camp site are $5.00 each.  They include a pit toilet and no water.  Duh!

No Brainer!! 

 Morning tea, note book and impending oatmeal with raisins.  Yum.

Last evening another bicyclist arrived and set up his tent.

Jimmy from China!!  He is heading north from San Diego to Canada!  His English was much better than my Mandarin!

Rolling into Point Area I had to stop and take a photo of this house with all the fish floats.

 Fog and sun.  In and out. But most disappointing is the unseasonable headwind from the south.  Bummer!  We had expected a nice traditional, early Fall, tailwind.

 At the Anchor Bay Store I buy my very first "Rock Star" Energy Drink!!  With this headwind..., I need it!

 Arriving in the Sea Ranch area we stop to check out the Sea Ranch Chapel and...,

 I do some meditating.  The needle point kneeler is very comfortable.
Thank you Jesus!

 To add interest to today's endless headwind we now have Highway One resurfacing!  We are told by the "Flagger" to expect twenty five miles of this!  The down side is we have to get off the road and wait for the convoy of asphalt trucks to go by and then get off the road again to wait while the "Follow Me" truck with it's gaggle of cars and motor homes go by but the up side is we then have twenty minutes of uninterrupted riding with the road all to ourselves.  Nice!

 And then, eighty miles under our belt, we arrive at Salt Point "Stillwater" Campground.  Frank puts four quarters into two different shower stalls with no result.  In the morning, talking to the camp host he discovers it take six quarters to get the shower to turn on, instead four!  No refund from the Camp Host either.  "Only the Ranger can refund your money".  Of course State Park Rangers are scarce due to budget cuts.

 Up and onward.  The start of another beautiful day and the wind has subsided.

 And then we spy Fort Ross.  The entrance gate is closed but we talk to a guy who is building a windmill at Fort Ross.  He tells us the place is open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday (today is Thursday) but we can walk in and have a look around anyway.

 Fortunately we find the stockade is open for a group of school children who are due to arrive on a field trip.

 The newly rebuilt trading store.

 The original well!  Only 35 feet down to water!!

 The church.

 The armory.

 Few things are still original since it was build in 1812 but these are the original grinding stones.  The windmill that is being constructed will be a replica of the very first windmill built in what was to eventually become, California.  It did not pump water, it ground wheat and barley!!

 The wood shop.

 The gracious woman, in period costume, waiting for the school children to arrive who gave us free reign of the place!  Thank You!!

 The field trip kids arrive in period costume.  Turns out they are visiting from Mendocino!

Check out Fort Ross here via Wikipedia.

 Now that the informative portion of our trip is over..., it is time for the "High Point" of our trip.  
"Myers Grade"!!
Oh Momma!  Up, up,

 and more up.

 But like everything else, the end eventually arrives.

 Time now for five miles of down!

 And what a ride it is.  Brakes on most of the time so we don't overshoot the switchbacks!

Or hit trucks!

 Too bad it is an overcast afternoon.  It could have been spectacular.

 Here's what happens when you decide to build your McMansion between the public highway and the view!  Mother Nature gets even!!

 And, Bingo!  One Hundred and twenty miles in three days. Not bad for two old farts on loaded bicycles!

The reward is in the fish and chips!
After late lunch or early dinner, whatever, it is back to the State Park campground, two miles north of town, to enjoy free hot showers and a twelve hour sleep!! 

In the morning we ride back into Bodega Bay for breakfast and then on to the Post Office to catch the 10:20 AM Sonoma County Transit Bus to Santa Rosa.  

In Santa Rosa we unload the bikes and wait.  My Lolli picks me up in half an hour.  Frank waits for his bus to Ukiah and his connection to his home in Nice, CA.

We did it!  What's next?
Don't know but we will figure out something!