Friday, March 5, 2010

Cavedale Adventure

Before I get to yesterdays ride up Cavedale, let me ramble a little. Sonoma County is reported to be the happiest place in CA and the fifth happiest in the country. I didn't know such polls exist, I've never been contacted by a major polling organization, which is not to say that overlooking my opinion detracts from the veracity of the results. But anyway, the local paper featured the story on Feb. 16. It was a poll taken by the Gallup organization last year, it assessed the jobs,finances, health habits,mental attitudes and communities of 353,000 Americans. So apparently we in Sonoma County eat healthy, exercise regularly and don't smoke. There is a big impact of the local food movement here, not to mention strong emphasis on "green" and environmental issues. I would also say a certain "joie d'vivre" attitude is very prevalent. There's also a prevalence of ads for Medical Marijuana Certifications and "smoke shops"! Not saying there's any connection. Boulder CO was first and I think Raleigh NC was in there too, in the top forty. Now for a little anecdotal evidence, about a week later, a major rush hour pile-up on the freeway southbound to San Fran, stopped traffic for hours. The paper covered the accident and part of the story said drivers pulled over, got out of their cars and talked to there fellow strandees and finished their coffee in the morning sun. I'm sure not everyone had the same laid-back approach to the event, but I reflected back to the "happy" story. I think there is some real truth there. Come see what you think.
Yesterday, I did one of the standard climbs of note, here in happy land. Climbing seems to be the defining feature of Sonoma County riders. You may know I'm not one to seek out such features, but I've decided "when in Rome....", so climb I will. Cavedale Road goes up the mountain ridge separating Sonoma County from Napa County. It goes up 2000' in five miles. One probably should be warned not to descend it because the surface is very rough and mostly like a poorly paved driveway and one lane. But beautiful views await the adventurer and nearly no traffic. Above shows the start. Note clouds. I did begin with misgivings as the area is rather remote, and temps where low 50's. But the area to my back and elsewhere was sunny, so with a bit of 'happy' stoicism I soldiered on. This view is nearing the top. Way in the distance are the back waters of San Fran bay where waters from the Sierras finally end up (those that don't get sent to Southern CA anyway) Above is five minutes up, about a mile,views are out of order, sorry still figuring this blog stuff out Valley now, one small climb before home. Springtime!!!! Sixteen minutes Cave! is this what the road gets named from? View after the last climb. The Tour of CA comes over this coming into town. The hills are very different profile, aren't they? Last Saturday, I was off work and did a group ride over another climb of note, Sweetwater Springs Rd. (my second time) The first hour was a steady light rain. The views are a bit less dramatic, but the climbing! six miles and the last mile and a half went up 900' I saw 18% on my HMDR (handlebar mounted data recorder) my feet saw the pavement a few times to rest. Think Grandfather Mountain without the cheering, I was all alone at that point. But not last! Thanks for following, y'all. HH


  1. Hills are supposed to separate "the men from the boys" but this boys butt is real happy on level ground.

  2. Thanks, I got a small camera, to take on solo rides, just so I could document the great scenery out here.