Saturday, April 13, 2013

A feel-good moment

Warren offers to pull, if the pace he's riding is OK. An unbelievably kind donation of effort. He attached to my rear wheel a couple of minutes ago, a local cyclist out for a ride. Then pulled up alongside so we could chat about his work in intellectual property law. He used to be an engineer and is curious about what's going on in Silicon Valley.

The morning sun and clouds are doing a dance with each other, but overall the air is flinty and cold. Spring comes a couple of weeks later here than at home. And there's the wind, definitely a factor even though the morning is young.

Once Warren moves to the front things get a lot easier. The pavement clicking by belongs to Chileno Valley Road, his favorite weekend loop. I've heard the same sentiment from plenty of cyclists in Sonoma and Marin. Chileno Valley is their idea of a great road to ride. Maybe it's the rolling terrain, nothing too steep. Green fields filled with contented dairy cows. Classic ranch houses and barns, the opposite of agribusiness. Total rural authenticity hidden in plain sight near Petaluma.

Tim Houck cresting Wilson Hill Road just before Chileno Valley.
In a minute we pick up Tim Houck, who is more than happy for company against the wind. Warren is interested in what we're doing here. It's a bit difficult to explain. We're riding from San Francisco to Hopland and back. Right.

After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge at 6am an hour later we were in Fairfax. Not bad! I've been feeling euphoric, actually riding well, not lagging much behind the pack. And there are some familiar faces, like Tim. It's mile 50 and the blustery, northwest wind is our first taste of hardship today.

Warren leaves us at the top of a little rise. He's out with a buddy and they need to regroup. Sure you don't want to come out to Hopland with us? The snacks at the Valero station up there are to die for. No, he's got more to do today than just ride a bike.

He leaves us with these words: if it helps at all, just know that someone in Petaluma is thinking about you all and wishing you well on your ride.

At the moment it seems incredibly supportive and sincere. There's no clue it will turn out to be the key to everything.

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