With a clean air and a good bit of weather out in the big blue room, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and continue some of my AIDS/LifeCycle training outdoors for a change. If you have never been to Sonoma county, you may not be familiar with some of its absolutely fabulous hills, valleys, and vistas. This past weekend I joined the numerous cyclists out there charging about on our beautiful county roads.

This marked the first real ride since getting more properly fitted on my bike for ALC, and I had planned it to be a quick jaunt from Santa Rosa west towards Sebastopol and back. There are two trails which head west out of downtown Santa Rosa, the Joe Rodota trail and the Santa Rosa Creek trail. This past weekend I learned the difference between the two.

Riding westward into the countryside, I began questioning my memory: “I could have sworn this trail ran parallel to Highway 12?” With vineyards surrounding me, I couldn’t much complain, and rode onward. That was until the asphalt turned into gravel and rock, which my road bike made clear was not a suitable direction to continue riding. Stopping to pull out my phone and consult a map, I was bemused to learn that I was much closer to Graton than I was to Sebastopol. Not entirely lost, but not entirely going in the right direction either. Turns out the Santa Rosa Creek trail heads northwest out of the city, and the Joe Rodota trail, which heads due west, had branched off 7 or 8 miles prior.

Luckily enough, I was generally heading the right direction, west-ish, so I reoriented myself, found asphalt, and kept rolling, following a couple of other cyclists on their spiffy looking tandem road bike.

After climbing much more elevation than I had originally planned, as the due west path between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol is very flat, I rolled into Sebastopol and finally ended up on the other end of the Joe Rodota trail. Following the correct trail, albeit in the opposite direction, returned me to Santa Rosa where I made note of the fork where I should have originally turned right, in case I want to go direct to Sebastopol in the future.

All said and done, it was a chilly, comfortable, and enjoyable 20 mile ride. Roughly 1/6th of what I will need to be prepared to ride, for five days straight, as part of AIDS/LifeCycle. With my indoor training setup, and my increasing familiarity with riding the roads of Sonoma county, I’m not too worried about making it the 545 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles next June.

So long as somebody is keeping me pointed in the right direction.