Tour of Napa Valley 2018, The Hilly 40

We’ve done this ride many times. As always, a really well put together organized ride, with great food at the end. This time we even remembered swimsuits!

The forecast was pretty hot, hitting the 90s in the midafternoon. So we decided to get as early a start as we could, leading to a 4 am wakeup. We rolled out from the Veterans Home in Yountville at 7:30, a little past our target of 7:00 but timely enough. It was in the 50s and foggy as we got started.

Like last year, we chose the “Hilly 40” route. It’s not a super long ride at only 40 miles, but it gets into the hills enough to be interesting. We got the usual assortment of nice comments from people, although other riders didn’t really get impressed until we got to the climb.

Max and Ruth both seemed to be having fun on the bike. We sold them on the ice cream at the end of the ride, but Max didn’t seem to understand that it would be at the end. He kept asking if we could stop for ice cream. We played 20 questions to pass the time. Max got in a turn, and chose the whole Earth as his subject.

As we approached the one and only rest stop on the 40 mile, I started noticing a cyclic bump coming off my rear wheel. I glanced down and it seemed to be holding air, so I decided to stick it out for the last mile or so and check it out at the rest stop.

When we stopped, I found a visible bulge in one section. I recently got some work done on the bike, including a new rear rim, so thought the tire might not be seated. One nice thing about organized rides is there’s usually somebody set up to troubleshoot minor mechanical issues, with a stand, pump, etc. I moseyed over and deflated the tire to reseat it, but it still had the bulge.

Anne suggested we actually ask the volunteer his opinion, and he declared that the inner nylon casing had probably gotten cut or tore, leading to the bulge. It would be time for a new tire, but probably okay for the day. We have a set of folding tires as spares for when we’re touring, but I declared we wouldn’t need them today. That’s what you get for tempting fate. I’d have to complete the ride with a lumpy tire. At least I had some cookies in my belly.

There was a bit more climbing as we worked our way back around, followed by a nice descent down the Silverado. It had heated up by then, but managed to avoid being oppressive.

The last nine miles back to the start point were, as usual, the longest nine miles. Most people seemed to be getting more tired, as there was less chitchat.

We made it back to the start without my tire catastrophically failing. We stowed the bikes, and stuffed our faces. There were a few people we (mostly Anne) knew to say hi to. Ice cream was consumed.

There’s a public pool at the Veterans Home. Every year we tell ourselves that we should remember swimsuits next year. Well this was the year! A few dollars and a shower later and we were cooling off in the pool. The main pool was a nice temperature, but except for the steps too deep for Max or Ruth to walk around in. So the parents got to carry them around. There was also a one-foot deep kiddie pool, but the water was a lot colder. We let the kids splash around in there for a while before heading home.

Ruth is getting closer to outgrowing the Hase, and Max is getting tighter in the Chariot. Anne has started talking about getting a tandem for her and Ruth (and maybe Max). I’m intregued, but I suspect that Ruth sitting in a bike saddle all day will be asking a lot more of her than chilling in a recumbent seat. We’ll see.

This was the first time this year that the whole family has gone out for a bike ride. I’m glad we did — this organized ride is always nice, plus it gave us an excuse to finally get out and spin some pedals.