Saturday, August 21, 2010

Biker To Biker

Today I went on a 17 mile bike ride. It was called the "Napa Loop." I have been to Napa many times. In my head I was thinking of the Napa Valley. You know, a valley, a flat piece of land surrounded by mountains. Have you ever heard of the Valley of the Moon? That is what I picture when I hear Napa, even though that is in Sonora. ...

I almost chickened out last night, I called Dehlia and said, you know I have been reading about this ride. It says it has some "rollers" (rolling hills), and it says there is not a bike path, and it says you will be riding on the street with cars. Dehlia seemed to think we would get in and out of Napa before all the drunk people got on the road. I worried about blind curvy country roads that cars really get pissed off that your riding your bike on. Dehlia said it would be "fun" and it would be an "adventure." She knows I love adventures.  I said maybe we should go over the Golden Gate Bridge. Dehlia convinced me that I would love this ride.  Ok........Dehlia was even going to get up at the crack of dawn to go on this ride. Ok...I said again, really not to sure about this whole idea.

So we meet up with the bike group we were joining for this "adventure" at a strip mall grocery store in Napa. It was a cold, foggy, drizzly February August morning. I looked around at the people and thought, uttt oh, I think I am out of my league.

We rode a little ways, turned left and behold Mt. Everest. Dehlia never mention we where going to the Himalayas. You mean I am riding my bike up the side of a mountain? I thought it said "rollers" Ok here I go...

I started huffing and puffing.  The other bicyclist flew by me like I was standing still. Half way up I started having a panic attack. I jumped off my bike and tried to continue the climb. I couldn't breath, the altitude was to high. Every breath felt like my last. My heart was pounding out of my chest, I could almost see it. Then I was on the verge of crying, I hate being a loser and I felt like a loser. Then from behind me I hear a beautiful voice "these are a few of my favorite things" It was Dahlia singing songs from the Sound Of Music. She was trying to get my mind off my frail medical condition. Daliah was saying Oh look at the vineyards aren't they pretty, oh look at the quail. I couldn't see anything at this point because my eyes were blurred. I was looking straight up the side of a mountain. I started begging God to have mercy on me and just kill me.  My legs started burning as if someone had set them on fire. Are we there yet?

Can I go home? Something inside me said your not a quitter, now get up that "mountain !!!" I made it to the top. Not in an ambulance, on my own accord (with encouragement from Dehlia.)  I was just starting to get a little oxygen to my brain and it was time to go down Everest. WEEEEEE, I love going down hill. I was like a speeding bullet. Dehlia chimed in to say we were going about 25 mph. I loved it.  I open my mouth hoping to get some more air are in, because I was still a little short of breath. Ok, this is good. If we can go downhill the rest of the way, I would be happy! No such luck. At the bottom of the mountain the rollers started.

Up, down, up, down. The problem is there was more up then down. The group would stop and wait until I caught up then they would move on, so really I never had much of a break.  I was still short of breath, my head starts pounding.  I start thinking, my brain is going to explode any minute. I tell Dehlia, my head is throbbing so hard it is going to knock my helmet off.

Along with Dehlia this very kind man named Bob lagged behind with me. Bob kept saying, one more hill and it is going to be flat, just one more hill. After about the 5th time, I told him, I don't believe you anymore Bob. As I started to climb another roller my chained "popped" off. Bob was kind enough to put it back on for me. I was at the bottom of a roller. I had to start the assent from a dead stop.  I had to get off my bike AGAIN and finish the climb.

I began the acceptance stage of my situation. I can't keep up, I am really out of shape, Bob and Dehlia are with me, that is just the way it is. Then I started to have fun. I started to notice all the vineyards. The ruby read grapes looked lovely on the vine. Some grapes had netting over them, some had mylar strips blowing in the wind. I kept hearing this sound that sounded like a shot gun. Bob and Dehlia told me it was some sort of propane gizmo  that makes banging noise. All to protect the grape vines from birds and varmints.

I started to notice the smell of elm trees. I saw beautiful mansions and winery's that were open for tasting.  Bob joked about stopping. I started to notice we were on a curvy country road, and cars were getting pissed off.

The group was waiting for us at the bottom of a roller at a flat T in the road. Dehlia, Bob and I joined the group. Just about that time I see this flash of red zooming down the hill. Someone in our group said, its the Napa Falcons. Apparently, they are well known in the area. They all had red and white shirts with red and white bike helmets. They went around us at lightning speed. The testosterone lingered after they were long gone.

Bob said it was only a few more miles until the resting point. I was so happy to hear that. At the 10 mile point we stopped at a fruit stand and country store, The little store was full of fancy olive oils and cliff bars for the bicyclist. All the bicyclist stop there. This stop was the Sturgis of the bicycle world. The falcons and a bunch of other groups where all there along with our group.

That is when I noticed many of the bicyclist had on these modified golf shoes. The shoes went click, click, click as the bikers walked in and out of the store.  The shoes "cling" on to the peddle. I guess these bicycle shoes help with the "up" when your peddling. We had a good rest. I chug a luged a bottle of water. Everyone was complaining how cold it was and how we have had no summer. I loved the cold weather. As we were resting, I started thinking I have gone from Biker to Biker in my life. Bob told me we were almost back to the starting point. I just smiled because I knew he was lying to me.

I was the very last one back to the starting point. I was still huffing and puffing. But I made it! I was so happy I did it. I had to swallow my pride and tell myself I know many people who could not of made this trip. I was not a quitter. I want to thank Dehlia and Bob for encouraging me all along the way.

Now that I look back on my day I can say it was fun and an adventure. Will I go back anytime soon? No way.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Next time go to Calistoga and sign up for a guided tour called the Sip n Cycle.
It is all flat and it is about 13 miles on real quiet roads and you visit 4 wineries and has a support vans.
These tours take care of all the details including a great lunch
Check out for details