After attacking the rugged Geysers Road, Dana and Lena are only too happy to follow up with a more relaxing afternoon ride. And what could be better than rolling through some of the world’s most renowned vineyards in Northern California’s Sonoma County? Many of the area’s best wines can be found in Dry Creek Valley on the roads leading toward Lake Sonoma.
Words/Images: James Startt
Lunch at the Jimtown Store in Healdsburg is typically memorable, and once again the red arrow on the roof of the porch announcing “Good Food” is not misleading. Rolling out, we quickly cross the historic iron bridge on Lytton Springs Road before spilling out into the heart of this lush valley where Dry Creek Road flows into West Dry Creek Road. Vineyards are stretched out along these roads seemingly endlessly. Indeed, the Dry Creek Valley boasts more than 9,000 vineyards and 70 wineries!
Little matter that we are in the middle of January and there are few leaves on the vines yet. The regular rhythm from the vineyards remains nothing short of stunning and a gentle still settles in as our two Trek ambassadors pedal along this 16-mile stretch. “I just love riding through the vineyards,” says Lena. “The greens are just starting to come out and the road is always rolling, almost swooping. It’s just a beautiful ride!”
Dana knows the road well. And he knows the wines too. “Here they really grow a lot of Zinfandel grapes, as well as some Merlot and Cabernet. It makes for a very full wine. But that is not surprising because it can really heat up around here in the summer. This valley just gets so hot in the summer!”
And while the wine produced here has an international reputation, a down home spirit remains. Many of the wineries are family owned and the road along Dry Creek is one less travelled, making it, well, just perfect for a ride.
On occasion Dana and Lena venture off on some of the gravel roads that quickly climb along the hillside. And while the gravel is loose, their Trek Domane bikes equipped with disc brakes and the IsoSpeed decoupler, easily handle the challenge. “There is no problem going off paved roads with these bikes,” says Dana. “They are just so versatile.”
Nearing the end of Dry Creek Valley we give our Madones another test as we hit Rockpile Road and start making our way up to Lake Sonoma. Created largely by a modern dam across Dry Creek, Lake Sonoma stretches for miles and is crowned in one corner by Warm Springs Bridge, with its impressive cantilever spans, which provide the perfect destination for our Dry Creek Valley ride.
Climbing up to the lake, Dana and Lena hit the bridge at the perfect moment, just as the sun is setting. And the views they enjoy while rolling across it provides icing on the cake for what can only be described as a great day of riding.
“What a day,” says Dana. “The Geysers in the morning and Dry Creek in the afternoon. Well, we pretty much hit the heart of Sonoma on this one. And, hey, let’s not forget lunch at the Jimtown Store!”