Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little catching up

Hey, y'all. I finally have a chance to fill you in with the goings on here in my neck of the woods. First I have been sidelined by a little patellar tendinitis for a week+. I have just resumed some riding. The issue seems to have developed with a rather hard ride day followed the next day with an easy but hilly hike. Last week we had three seasons in one week. All summer has been cool, then we had three days 100+ followed by a day of autumn like cool windy dry conditions. The vineyard managers are tearing their hair. Grapes are slow to ripen and the morning fog lingers so rot has been an issue. then a heat blast burned some. We have lost 10% of the crop and if rain comes even a little early a late ripening crop is at grave risk. This area is an amazing place for music and other festivities, quite a few are free. Every week there are a couple free music shows, movie nights on the town green, then add food, farm, arts, etc. Then of course for a ticket price you can quadruple the offerings, for all tastes too. My work schedule limits a great many, buy last week I went to a local tavern/music hall to see Cracker/Camper VanBeethoven (an indie group dating back a ways) They did a fantastic show I was about fifteen feet back and the place only holds about 200. Sometimes some loud RnR does a person good. The next night we drove to Napa to see a double bill with Chrissie Hynde and Lucinda Williams. It was in a just restored Art Deco movie house that holds 800 and is quite a beautiful sight on its own. A fine show. We drove home with the top down on a starry night through Napa County and home. It is a fine life! Its our anniversary and we celebrated with a helicopter tour up through the wine country we've gotten to know. It was interesting to see it from 500' up. The copter was a Raven II and has a cabin smaller than my VW so the views were great. Coming up on Lake Sonoma The county Board of Supervisors just approved a 250Million plan that will add 203 miles of bike paths to the existing 40+, along with 406 miles of bike lanes. The aim is to increase non-motorized travel from the current 3% to 5% and trips of less than five miles to non-motorized use to 10%. You see a lot of bikes here as I've said before. People here a typically oriented to community preservation;environmentally, economically,socially. Almost no one accepts a shopping bag for small retail purchases. Many people take bags, reused or other, to the grocery, lots of restaurants feature local produce, dairy and meats. I guess its obvious I like it here. Its been an amazing, but an occasionally trying year. Its been renewing to launch out someplace new. We do miss y'all though. Be well and enjoy your rides Howard

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hello readers, I like many of you have my post Tour life back in order. For now, maybe for good, I'll leave the race in the past. Sort of like a three week addiction, I can't go back. One brief comment on the weather, its been a cooler than normal summer, I started my 10 o'clock Monday regular ride with a base layer, arm warmers and "my secret weapon". You gotta be here! Last week I got to add another of the famous rides out here to my checklist. It may be hard to imagine but I have scarcely left Sonoma Cty, there are so many rides here. Of course it is four times larger than Catawba Cty my former home. King Ridge sits along the Pacific coast. It is sparsely populated mostly cattle ranches and Redwood groves. The climb up along the ridge has eleven miles of climbing totaling 1900' gain. An amazing sight at the top is a gold domed Buddhist temple in the near distance. It gleams in the cool clear coastal air in the midst of dark green tree tops. The descent from there is steep, it ought to have steps, not pavement! more climbing 'til finally the fast drop down through the cloud bank to the Pacific Coast Highway. 50 miles and 5000' feet of climbing. This is part of the namesake route in Levi's King Ridge Gran Fondo. Speaking of Levi, he was at the short track mtb race I've been doing, but I was held up at work and missed watching him race. Yes, he won by over a minute. I am seeing some previews of the 2011 bikes and parts, speaking of such, I am going to Interbike (industry trade show) this year. I haven't been in ages. It is grueling fun. Speaking of parts, what tires are you running this year and pressure? post some reply comments. Anybody out there? HH