Biking the Sonoma/Napa Wine Country – Day 2

The second day of the bike tour is when things got more interesting. It offered up some interesting route options and after some discussion with the tour leads about the nature of the routes, I wanted to do Coleman Valley Road to finish. It was the longest option and finished as a 62 miler (100K). It wasn’t the mileage I was interested in, it was that the Coleman Valley Road was supposed to be the more scenic option. Check out the full route map and details here.

Half the fun of these trips is the food and breakfasts are no exception. On this morning we started things at the “Big 3“. I went with a big omlet. Tasty.

Weather kinda sucked to start with. We knew it’d get better later, but it starated chilly and foggy. I was very glad I had brought along plenty of layers. The weather in the area at this time of year appears to start off chilly if not downright cold (40’s) and later warm into a sunny livable 70’s. Full finger gloves, a jacket and leg warmers were in order.

We trekked up Arnold Drive that morning, out of Sonoma and through Glen Ellen. Traffic was not bad though the cars are fairly plentiful on that road. From there we started a significant climb up Sonoma Mountain Road. This was a winding, hilly and potholed road. Pretty countryside though. Long climb and we warmed up quickly. The descent was rough on that road. The potholes made it more technical than it might otherwise have been. We quickly reached the lunch stop though at Matanzas Creek winery on Bennett Valley Rd.

Turns out I’ve been to this winery a few times and was already a member. They treat members nicely so Stephanie behind the counter offered up several wines not otherwise on the Backroads tasting menu. As usual, it was all very good stuff.

After another fantastic picnic lunch at Matanzas Creek and more than enough wine to choose from, we were off to finish the rest of the day. The majority of the ride was still before us. Coleman Valley Road had been billed as being the scenic option so I was up for it but it was also the route with two more tough climbs on it to end the day, and an interesting descent as it turned out.

The climbs up Coleman Valley were indeed tough and by that point it had warmed up considerably. I had almost left my jacket in the van along the way. Glad I didn’t. After climbing, the view at the top was wonderful. Long vistas to the west. By this point in the day it was also becoming apparent that fog was going to be rolling in. In the distance you could see it in the valleys. As I approached the coast, I knew there’d be a descent down to Hwy 1 and into Bodega Bay. Up ahead I could see that that descent would be into thick fog. From sun to thick fog in short order. The temp drop dramatically. Really thankful I had my jacket with me. I put that on and headed down. Brrr. A very steep, curvy descent over several cattle guards. Very cool though, literally and figuratively.

At Hwy 1 it was a left turn and 3 miles or so to the hotel for the evening. The Bodega Bay Lodge. Hwy 1 isn’t my favorite place to cycle. While the traffic isn’t terrible, it’s still a major highway and traffic goes by at considerable speed. Occasionally there’s a shoulder along the way but it’s not consistent and often full of debris like gravel.

Made it in fine though and it was time for snacks and yet another big dinner at the hotel. That night I think we earned it.

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