I spent the afternoon riding up in Cazadero, exploring the back roads and big climbs of the mountains of the beautiful Russian River. The last time I was up in this area was early in the season, racing the first Grasshopper in Old Cazadero. A few of the roads and intersections looked very familiar. My day started out with two big climbs before dropping down the backside of Fort Ross, where I flatted both tires with just enough wit and patches to get me home.
Skull and crossbones, a good or bad sign of my ride to come? The descents were fast and rough. I wish I had a Specialized Roubaix with some wider tires for most of the ride. I've grown accustomed to smooth paved roads and forgot that race specific tires aren't great at everything.
It was nice and hot along the climbs, but as I reached the backside the temperature dropped 20º before bombing down into the cold fog hugging the coastline. The roads got rougher and steeper the further I rode down Fort Ross Road. There were hairpin turns, uneven surfaces and plenty of sharp edges to avoid.
Towards the bottom of the descent I blew out my front tire, fixed it, and was about to put my wheel back on when I heard the tire hissing. One patch gone for the initial snake bite, and now another one for a puncture. Fixed it again and put my front wheel on, jumped on my bike only to find my rear tire had a pinch flat, too. Oh no. Last patch used. Had to turn back up and over a monstrous series of climbs back. Front tire was leaking still and had to stop every 15 minutes to pump it up. So lucky to not get stranded. Lesson learned. Bring a tube and a shit ton of patches, and don't ride racing tires out in the back country.
Despite the tire fail I had a great time riding up in Sonoma county. Lots of challenging and beautiful roads. I hope to be back up here with a better set up.