Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Wine Tour, Day 2
Another breakfast prepared by my host, which was...toast and eggs. Funny coincidence.
Started the day off with a rough climb. Vic had even advised against it, but it looked like it would be a scenic road, and it would cut at least five miles out of my day. And I knew that I'd kind of just want to be done by the end of the day. Glad I took it, because as much as the hill was a challenge, it was a gorgeous road to ride. Still, it was worrisome that I was tired, in a very real way, only about an hour into the day.
I had figured the wind was likely to be the same: calm in the morning, from the west in the afternoon. My general direction for the day was east, then south. So at worst, I'd deal with cross wind, and at best, I might even get some tailwind early on. Sounded pretty good. But in a random southward section heading into Sonoma, a surprise: tailwind from the NORTH.
Oh hell yes! About two-thirds of the day, including almost the entire second half, was heading south. Was I about to have tailwind all day?!? That would be sweet justice and a great ending to the tour.
Arriving in Sonoma, it was already warm. I found a city park in the middle of town and figured there was probably a drinking fountain nearby. I asked someone where to find one, so I could drink one of my water bottles, then refill it. Instead, they handed me a full water bottle. Thanks!
I didn't notice anything about the wind as I headed east to Napa. Was supposed to be from my side anyway, so no worries. On my tired legs, I made it over what were probably not very difficult hills, then got out of town, pointed south for the remaining 45 miles of the day. The wind had shifted. It was now from the south.
My heart dropped.
You've got to be kidding me. After the last two days, and after teasing me this morning, I have to ride 45 miles into a headwind?!? It was unfair. I stood there and stared down the road for a long while, thinking ahead at what I'd have to go through. It was like I didn't know what to do. But then I managed to tell myself,
"The only way to be done is to start pedaling."
Though they weren't easy miles, they were flat and the wind wasn't gusty (nor as strong as yesterday, only about 15 mph), so I was eventually able to get in a groove and hang on, though it was slow and I was wearing down. It almost came as a surprise when I arrived in Vallejo and only had to cross the bridge to make it onto the land mass that contained Berkeley, my final destination for the day. Once across the bridge, I found a shady spot and had a quick lunch. Got back on Freebird. Only...30 miles to go?
Somehow, I had the notion that once I crossed the bridge, I'd be "almost there." 30 miles was still a lot, especially when it involves headwind, and also possibly the toughest hill of the entire tour. As I headed south, the road kept going up-and-down, up-and-down. I wasn't even close to the hilly part yet, and I was getting licked. I kept looking at the map. Maybe there was another way, without the hill?
Only a couple miles later, I made the decision. No hill, and 15 miles shorter. Yes, it was a wimp-out, but I didn't see how destroying my legs was going to get me in better shape. Nor would it be fun. I took a few back roads, some of which still had ridiculously steep hills, and found my way to Berkeley on an easier route. It still wasn't easy, and still took quite a while, but I thankfully made it without bonking, or getting to the point that I hated everything.
Finished up in mid-afternoon, enough time to spend the rest of the day relaxing. Overall, a good tour, though the end of each day could've gone better. Glad I got to pack so light for this one. I'm trying to remember how I ever did it on a fully-loaded Freebird, probably 20-30 pounds heavier. I think that's the thing about bike touring and backpacking; you remember how fun it is, but tend to forget how hard it is. But I like it more that way. I'll take the good memories over the bad ones.