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Issue No. 3 | January 2023


Begin the Year with a Challenge

Happy New Year! One of my favorite ways to celebrate is by planning a slightly outlandish, can-I-do-it style ride. First it was 200 miles north to south on Route 100 in Vermont (known locally as the “200 On 100”). The next year it was a winter Everest (climbing the height of Everest, 29,032 feet, in one day on the bike).

This year was riding from my doorstep around Lake Champlain which forms the western border of Vermont and is almost 200 miles on the nose. Perhaps an outlandish challenge is not your style, but I encourage everyone to find a way to push themselves out of their comfort zone this season. Check out Ted’s New Years Nutty Ride.

Maybe that is attending your first spin class, working on making time for exercise once a week, increasing your mileage or buying lights and riding in the dark. I’ve prepared a few of my favorite routes in Healdsburg that might inspire a new goal: small, medium, large or outlandish, there’s something for everyone.

Ted’s Favorite Sonoma County Rides

Pine Flat – Route
Small: 31 miles, 2,500 feet of climbing
This ride up Pine Flat is terrific because it’s choose your own adventure. If you wan to go long, just keep going on up; if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, maybe tick off a mile or two up the climb before turning back home. The view is ever improving the whole ascent up Pine Flat and if you’re feeling really ambitious, “all the way to the top” past the traditional guard rail turn around means you’ve really earned the view. From there, you’re largely paralleling vineyards all the way back to town.

Sweetwater + Coleman Valley – Route
Medium: 66 miles, 4,900 feet of climbing
I started coming to Sonoma Country to train in the early 2000s. In all my time training and racing throughout Sonoma Country, Coleman Valley Road has always stood out as iconic. This ride includes the ferociously steep Sweetwater Climb which is equal parts challenging and stunning with old growth trees providing a canopy most of the way up and down (featured in photo below). From there you’re zipping out to the coast where a likely tailwind will take you south to the base of Coleman. Up and over and then a decent into the bohemian hamlet of Occidental. Choose your days wisely as the bakery isn’t always open. Lastly, a rolling pedal along farm roads will guide you back to Healdsburg.

Skaggs – Route
Long: 106 miles, 9,100 feet of climbing
There’s something ferocious about the words Skaggs. It sounds like a doozy and it is. This ride sends you out to the coast by way of River Road with its fresh new pavement. Turn right at the coast and you’re headed north along the craggy Pacific coast all the way to the minute town of Stewarts Point. Two Fish Bakery is a handy rest and reset spot before going inland. Most of the climbing is backloaded with what feels like climb after climb after climb as you head up and over the mountain range and into Sonoma Valley. A great ride in either direction, clockwise or counter clockwise, you’ve earned a second helping of lunch with this one.

Megahopper – Route
Ridiculous: 414 miles, 43,000 feet of climbing
Are you feeling a bit foolish? Then why not combine literally every big ride from Sonoma County into one?! The Megahopper is the brainchild of Miguel Crawford of Grasshopper fame. An April fool’s joke gone sideways resulted in this one of a kind adventure. Do it in one big ride or link together over a handful of days, you’re going to love this day out.

Photo: Kim Carroll