It’s official: the State of California declared the drought is over. Driving to Los Angeles in the rain, I enjoyed the green hills all the way through the San Joaquin Valley. After years of seeing scary empty reservoirs, it is thrilling to see all the signs of a very wet year.
On my way to Los Angeles I stopped at the top of the grapevine at the Vista del Lago visitor center to look at Pyramid Lake. It is thrilling to see how full it is and to see someone recreating.
If there is an upside to the worst drought in California since 1977 it is that I rode to Winters, California in bright sunshine with no wind on dry roads on the third weekend of January. Wow!
It was a gorgeous ride. I left my house about 10:30 for a ride of indeterminate length. It is a psychological game that I play with myself. I leave the house prepared to ride as far as Winters and back but I tell myself that I will just get out there and see how it goes. I arrived at the Three Palms Nursery (about 4 miles down the road) feeling great, so I kept going. Then I reached Putah Creek Road and still felt great and reached Winters, CA (12.5 miles out) feeling good.
County public works has one of those solar powered signs that tells you your speed to get you to slow down before the bridge work at Winters. It confirmed my hunch: I averaged about 10 miles per hour.
I hung my bike by the seat at Steady Eddy’s and ordered a bagel and cream cheese and diet coke. (I waited for my order remembering that it is steady not fast Eddy’s) It was just before noon and the place was crowded with riders drinking coffee and eating healthy snacks from their pockets. Winters is a mecca for cyclists from all over the west side of the Valley. I shared a table with someone who rode over from Vacaville and I realized that when I am ready I can easily ride 50 or 75 miles from my house. The challenge will be finding some hills!
I made slightly better time on the return trip. My shoulders got tighter and my hands and feet needed shaking to keep the blood flowing. I enjoyed the ride. There are lots of people on the road–cyclists, rollerbladers, horseback riders–and the occasional “hey” or “morning” was enough company for me today.
I accomplished my first set of goals for the new year. I get to buy clipless pedals!!! I also feel more at ease on my bike. My next goal is to keep riding (4-5 times a week for at least 40 minutes; this includes commuting to town on my cruiser) and to sign up for a bike maintenance class.