Tour of Napa Valley 2017, the Hilly 40

We procrastinated on deciding whether or not to do this organized ride again enough that we had to pay for late registration. Still, it’s always a good show, and it gave us an excuse to get out and ride.

We signed up again for the Hilly 40 mile. Like all the routes, it starts in the Veterans Home in Yountville. It crosses over to Silverado, then heads up Sage Canyon for a loop into the hills, before cutting back to Silverado and Yountville.

We wanted to get an early start so we’d get done at a reasonable time. That ended up in a 3:30 am wakeup call, for a 4:30 target departure and 6:00 target arrival in Yountville. We actually managed to roll in at 6:00, just as they were opening, and got an unbelievably good parking spot. Normally we’re pretty far away, so we have up to a mile to ride to get to registration. Today, we were parked the car about as far away from registration as we typically end up parking the bikes.

I was actually worried about light, as the sun hadn’t quite risen when we pulled in. By the time we got unloaded and registered, it was light enough that a blinkie headlight was adequate. The registration person was having a bit of a hard time understanding how Max was going to go on the ride. Yes, we have a trailer. Yes, we know what we’re doing — this is Max’s third time doing this tour, after all.

I really like the Hilly 40. Silverado is a decent enough road, but it’s not the most exciting. Going up into the hills gives a lot more variety for the legs and scenery for the eyes. As usual, we got a lot of encouragement from other riders. The most bizarre was one woman who said she was going to bring her kid, but she couldn’t get her kid to wake up for it. We offered our technique: give them donuts. Also, toss them in the car and hope for the best.

We didn’t stop (other than stop signs) until we got to the rest stop at the midpoint. Anne had asked during the climb if I wanted to stop. I was getting hungry, but by my math we had less than a mile to go. I said no, we should keep going. It turned out it was closer to two miles of climbing left. By the time we got there I was pretty hungry. If you get to active hunger on long rides, you’re already late. When we started again, I knew I had eaten enough, but it was going to take some time for the food to start to do its work. I should have stopped for a quick snack.

After the rest stop, we played 20 Questions while finishing the last of the climb. Max got in on the guessing, although didn’t want to accept that it was not in fact a cow (or a muumuu). Then down, payment for our earlier efforts. Max was quite excited to go “supa fast”. The road surface was pretty bumpy, and there were enough cars eager for any opening between bikes to make it less than perfect, but downhill is downhill.

After making it back to Silverado, it was just a couple miles to go before we got a lunch of chicken, hot dogs, fruit, and ice cream.

The kids were super cooperative today (at least until we headed out for dinner after arriving home). The weather was lovely. Even traffic coming home was pretty good. Another successful ride.