Bodega Bay-Petaluma Stage 6
Friday, October 21, 2011
Stage 6, our last day of riding, would take us back to Petaluma, where we began Sunday, October 16.
I was a stronger cyclist when I rode into Petaluma than when I rode out on the 16th. We all were I think. I was tested more as a cyclist on this tour than on the tour we did last year – because of the climbing – we actually rode more miles in the tour last year. I plan to build on what I learned and on my increased fitness – leg strength primarily – and continue to work on both during the off-season.
By the end of today my bike computer would say we had ridden 245 miles and climbed 16,753 feet.
Stage 6 began as all our days did, around the table at breakfast. After breakfast I beat it over to the car and trailer to make sure our stuff got on the trailer!
We had another cool, brilliantly sunny day! The weather could not be beat on this trip. I had heard October was the best month to visit this part of California, based on our experience I have to believe it is.
After getting everything ready to go for the day’s ride we paused for pictures. We were a picture happy group!
Today’s route on paper appeared that it would be the least scenic of the week. We were leaving the coast behind and would ride through predominately farmland. The highlight of the day instead of being beautiful scenery would be food: the Tomales bakery and later in PetaIuma lunch at In-N-Out Burger – both of which I looked forward to.
While we did ride mainly through farmland – I happen to like farmland and wide open spaces both of which dominated the landscape of day 6. It definitely had its own beauty.
The route followed rolling terrain with a couple of “memorable” climbs – memorable in that they hurt. The most “memorable” climb was right before Tomales and Mike was up at the top taking pictures and offering encouragement. Hope I looked better than I felt.
How I felt improved significantly when I came to Tomales bakery and got even better after some kind of delicious breadstick thing which I inhaled. The bakery was crowded with cyclists from a local club and our group was there as well.
Shortly after leaving Tomales we turned onto the locally well-known Chileno Valley Road. I can see why it’s a favorite of cyclists – very little traffic, nice surface, easy up and down terrain and beautiful open space. Gaye, Rod, Mark and I rode it together. None of us were in a hurry for the day to end so we stopped frequently to take pictures and enjoy the ride.
Where the hell are we?
Once we left Chileno Valley we were on the outskirts of Petaluma. We worked our way through town and over to our lunch stop.
After lunch it was a short ride to the hotel where everyone was busy getting ready to leave.
I was sorry to see the tour end, I loved riding every day, but who doesn’t. Unlike last year’s tour there was no “farewell” dinner the evening after our last day of riding, most of the group left the afternoon we returned to Petaluma Sheraton so goodbyes were quick.
We began as a group of 16 strangers but ended as friends. That’s what happens on a bike tour if you’re lucky. My new friends are people I wish I lived closer to so we could bike together.
With any luck at least some of us will ride together on another tour some day.
I would add that Undiscovered Tours is an exceptional company. From the guides, Mike and Neal – to the bikes and gear – to the accommodations – to the route – it was all topnotch.
I’ve enjoyed reliving the tour writing the blogs and posting pictures, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. I love riding and I love writing about riding and the places we visit. It would be great to have a deal where I could do different bike tours and write and post pictures about them – have blog will travel!