As a now biannual tradition, we’re spending the weekend after Thanksgiving doing a little mini bike tour. Two years ago, we did an overnight loop between Napa and Sonoma valleys. Last year, Max was five months old, so there wasn’t much biking. This year, we’re in Davis, doing two days of rides. Much like Sutter Creek in the summer, we’re doing it as two one day loops, operating out of a single hotel.
Today was the long day – 56 miles and a pretty gentle 1000 feet of climbing.
By the time we were ready to roll out of the hotel, it was almost 10 am. So much for an early start. It was still cold, though, around 42 degrees. We bundled up Max in a jacket and under a blanket in the enclosed Chariot trailer. Ruth is pretty exposed in the Hase, so we got her in a regular jacket, her rain jacket, and rain pants.
After we got out of town, Ruth started comparing about her face and hands being cold. We got her hood up, which seemed enough to keep her face warm. We didn’t have any gloves for her, though. We spent some time trying to get Anne’s extra fingered gloves on Ruth, but she wasn’t having it. Eventually we convinced her to pull her hands into her sleeves if she was cold.
The morning was spent biking through orchards and the occasional vineyard. We had a pretty steady tailwind for a while, but then we’d turn, and it’d became a crosswind. Suddenly that nice speed boost would be an instrument of chill. Then we’d turn back, and it would be nice again.
We stopped for lunch just as the climbing started. We had an audience of wild turkeys and cows, which the kids enjoyed mooing at in between bites. By this point it has warmed up a bit, so we could put away some of the gear, and get onto the climbing.
The climbing section was through some foothills to get to the valley before the big hills. It was short, mostly pretty mild climbs, with some small downhill in the middle. I was a bit anxious about losing control while climbing slowly, like on our last ride around Mt Diablo. On one bit, I freaked myself out at a switchback and had to walk. When I saw Anne just power up, I knew I could do it. Ruth helped pedal, too, and it was just a bit more to the summit for the day.
The descent was nice, although it had too many blind corners to be able to really open up. There were nice views of the next set of grander hills, and the valley below. It was pretty short, but that was really all that we had earned.
Then it was back out the valley and through more orchards and ranches. We saw lots of cows, horses, even llamas, a few sheep, and some chickens. And some dogs, which were fortunately effectively fenced in.
One downside to riding in late November is that the days aren’t really very long. It started to get cold again, and dark. We put on some more clothes, turned on the lights, and kept going.
There was a nice sunset on the hills, but it was behind us, so we really didn’t get to see it. At one point, the angles were right so that the sun was lighting up all the retro reflective stuff on Anne’s jacket, backpack, and the trailer. It’s nice to see it working.
As we got close to the Davis city limits, our route put us on a bike path that ran parallel to the road. It was nice, although it randomly switched which side of the road it was on. Fortunately, traffic was light enough that it was easy to cross.
Finally, we cut through the UC Davis campus, went over I-80, and back to the hotel to find dinner.