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2020 Three Hill Winter Trainer Ride Report

Saturday, March 07, 2020 8:36 PM | Paul McKenzie

The Three Hill by the numbers — 6 riders, 107 miles, 8500', 7:28 riding time, 1 flat, a few raindrops, tons of Red Bud in bloom, and beautiful skies.

6 Riders showed up for the Three Hill, not a bad turnout considering the difficulty of the ride, along with the iffy weather that was predicted. At the start were Andy Shkabko (that's Ukranian), Richard A., Marc M., Jennie P., Sarah S., and myself.

We rolled a few ticks after 8 AM, with nothing in the way of a pep talk from the ride leader, as this was a regular crew. We set a nice pace over Calistoga Road, and following that, Andy, Jennie and Marc proceeded up Spring Mt., while I stopped for a wardrobe adjustment, then rode up with Richard and Sarah.

There were a few sprinkles at the start, and the roads were wet early on, but once we got over the hill to St. Helena, we were on dry roads.

Traveling up Howell Mountain, we found a deteriorating road, but still 100% rideable. There were a few more sprinkles as we headed to Pope Valley, but not enough to soak us or to kill our spirit. The day was absolutely beautiful, with clear, clean air, and saturated colors everywhere, and so many trees and shrubs in full flowery bloom!

Unfortunately, one rider decided to bring his older bike, primarily used for shorter rides from work, and/or rain rides, and the rather old rear tire decided to go flat, as a "softie" was discovered at Pope Valley. We got it fixed and all was good from there. The perp on this little blunder was the ride leader, who probably should know better ;-).

After the stop at the store for water, about mile 30, we had more or less dry roads for the rest of the ride. Pope Valley was gorgeous! The pace was fast at times, and social at others, but along Lake Hennessy, Marc decided to put in a strong pull, and we were flying along that stretch, with Marc tempering his pace such that everyone could stay on — as long as they were willing to suffer a bit at the 24 mph average speed.

Once on Silverado, we set a more moderate pace to Yountville, where we enjoyed snacks at the Velo Deli & Pizzeria.

Trinity was its usual self, steep and difficult with tired legs, but we all made it up and over without incident. Marc left us at Sonoma Mt., heading back to Petaluma to complete his 135+ mile day.

The rest of us rolled back to Howarth Park, where Andy peeled off, and Richard headed home. Sarah, Jennie, and I enjoyed a nice meal at Mary's, across from Howarth Park. It was nice to see that Mary's was quite busy despite the drama around Coronavirus.

We got away with one today. The weather was perfect for riding, and we never got cold or soaked. Instead, we enjoyed a gorgeous day on the bike, if a bit tough. Toward the end of the ride, as the weather cleared, the skies were a thing to behold!

Rider of the day is Richard Anderson, who showed up to do the ride after a big one on Friday! But I would be remiss if I did not mention Marc Moons, who tempered his pace all day for the good of the group.

Our course today:


Next up, the Four Hill Ride, tentatively scheduled on April 25th.

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