Two Hill Winter Trainer by the numbers: 23 riders, 65 miles, 4600' climbed, 15.5 mph ave. speed (mine, others were faster and slower), one flat, tons of sunshine, and one perfect cool riding day.
We rolled out efficiently from Howarth Park a few ticks before 9:10 with this large, but skilled group. I led the charge up Calistoga Rd., going about as fast as I could, but knowing the many D riders behind me could pass at any time — but they didn't. This meant I had to hold my pace all the way up. Some riders fell off the pace, and by the time we started up St. Helena Rd., the group had split.
The pace up St. Helena Rd. was civil, and there were about 7 D riders in this front group, along with one struggling C rider. The latter would be me. Once it got steeper, the D riders were gone, and I was in no man's land between the D group and the following C group.
I rolled over the summit and caught a couple of riders on the descent, before arriving at our prescribed regroup at Madrona Ave. in St. Helena. At that point, I got a text from Sarah Schroer, stating that there was a flat toward the rear of the group. I gave the D riders the option of waiting, or forging ahead, and they chose to wait. Nice to keep the group together.
The pace down Silverado to Yountville was civil for the most part, but unfortunately, the large group caused a lot of surges, and for those of us at the back, it was surge after surge, followed by sitting up and coasting. This took its toll on a few riders, who fell off the back.
We had a sensibly short stop in Yountville, mostly for water, then the group headed toward Dry Creek and Trinity. Most riders kept their own pace on this difficult climb and descent, and all enjoyed the nice, new, smooth pavement descending the West side of Trinity.
One more regroup after crossing Hwy 12, then I took the lead as we headed back toward Santa Rosa, doing a very long pull. I kept the pace down so everyone could keep up. When I say I kept the pace down, I am referring to my tempo pace, which was easy for most of the group, but also manageable for those who could not, or did not want to, go at a higher pace.
Once I finally pulled aside, the pace increased, and we split into two groups again as we made our way back to Howarth Park. This time I was a bit wiser... I chose to ride with the slower group, which was enjoyable and conversational.
The most impressive number today was the size of the group. This ride was very well attended! Despite the large group, everyone rode safely, and there were no mishaps other than the one flat. The group was friendly and social, and demonstrated excellent bike handling skills and etiquette. Thank you everyone for coming out and enjoying a perfect day on the bike!