wine country, clif bars and wine at velo vino for the climate ride

This past Saturday’s ride was very nice.  Very different than my Mt. Diablo ride.   We participated in a fundraising ride for Clif employees riding in the Climate Ride from New York to DC.  Clif sponsored the staging at Velo Vino ( a new wine shop/tasting bar with Clif wines, Luna and Clif cycling apparel, olive oil and snacks, Clif food products, coffee, and soon, food) and of course provided nutrition for the ride – bars, shot blocks, shots, rocs, and so on.  

Long shadows of bikes on bike rack on car

I hadn’t been to St. Helena in quite some time – not since my family came out for a visit maybe two years ago.  Here’s the front Velo Vino sign, pre-landscaping.  This place is super new.

It was an unexpected surprise to see Gary, the Clif founder there to support the ride.  Melissa and Christine talked about the Climate ride and then our route for a bit, then Gary chimed in with a few words.

Lots of nice folks from Clif, Backroads, and Berkeley Ironworks.  Velo Vino is turning that grassy area into a backyard patio as I post.

A long line of cyclists through filtered light.  I expected it to be cold, but it was a bit warmer than expected – just about perfect for cycling.  It was probably about 60 when we started and it got up to maybe 70 during the day.  Sunny all around.  It was fun riding as a part of such a large friendly group.

There was a little bit of a slide on old howell mountain road.

Stopping to regroup at White Cottage Rd.  Gary led the first parts of the ride and, man, is he a strong rider.  The first part of the ride was all climbing.

We were aiming to do the longest of the routes at 63 miles but missed a left turn.  I think we were on Chiles Pope Valley Road at this point.

A beautiful open field

I took a little photo break and got this shot of a few california poppies.

Got this shot of Lake Hennessey while riding.

Riding alongside a rocky cliff.  Not used to this visual.  Pretty cool.

Lunch at Nichelini winery

Quite a lunch spread.  We realized we missed some turns and made it to lunch at mile 35 instead of mile 50.  This was great because there was plenty of food available but I wasn’t able to enjoy most of it because I didn’t want to spoil my stomach for the rest of the ride.


I took pictures of peoples parked bikes.  There were a bunch of fun ones.  I had to look this one up – an Albert Eisentraut frame.  He was a local Oakland guy.



A pink and grey Orbea with what looked like an aluminum/carbon frame


Marty’s Rivendell Romulus




Nichelini wine tastings


I hadn’t noticed this Surly Cross Check cable hanger before.

A fancy Ti/carbon Serotta


Cruising down Sage Canyon Rd.  This guy was pushing it on his Bike Friday.  The descent was so fun that we did it twice.  Actually, we wanted to make up some mileage so we did a little loop back along Chiles Pope Valley Rd, then a climb up Lower Chiles Valley Rd and then headed back down Sage Canyon Rd.


We had a bit of a fast paceline on the last few miles back along Silverado Trail rd.



Velo Vino threw in a wine tasting afterwards to celebrate.


Clif cork


Torta carnitas from the shop next door.  I didn’t realize I was so hungry until this was in front of me.


All in all, I got in 59 miles, which wasn’t too far off from our goal of 63.  The wine and the fast pace got us pretty sleepy.  I think we turned in at 8pm that night.  All in all, a really nice day.