Looking to get in one last century before leaving on a 16 day cruise this month, I signed up for the Konocti Challenge (formerly called Pedal ‘Round the Puddle, the puddle being Clearlake) to take advantage of the free (in-laws aka ‘those people’) overnight housing in Middletown, about 40 miles from Lakeport.
Trying to recover from a week long cold, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to feel doing the ride, and it was strange doing a century ‘alone’ but I also wasn’t sure what to expect either. Lake County isn’t a wealthy county by any stretch, so I was concerned about bad roads and red necks. For the most part, neither proved to be an issue, and I really enjoyed the ride.
Leaving the starting point at Lakeport Yacht Club (what yachts?) as the sun was coming up, heading towards the north end of the lake, it proved to be a day for minor “issues”, the first was losing the bite valve from the Camelback early on and having to drink using the shutoff valve, making it not as convenient as Camelbacks usually are. I was also having a shifting issue when going between the lower rear gears,
While riding thru the town of Nice, I noticed the Featherbed Railroad Co. (which turns out to be a B&B on the lake.) Once the sun rose enough to not be right in my eyes, the view to the right across the lake of the dormant volcano Mt. Konocti on the other side of the lake was gorgeous.
Rest stop 1 was in Clear Lake Oaks at 21 miles at the Indian Beach Resort. I was wearing my AIDS/LifeCycle jersey thinking it would be unique that day, but I was not alone. A rider complimented me on the jersey as I stood waiting for a porta-potty to open up, and as I looked up to thank him, he was grinning and wearing the same jersey, a veteran of ALC2, 3 & 5.
Proceeding around the lake, thru Clear Lake Keys, we turned onto Sulphur Bank Drive and the first climb of the day followed by a descent towards the city of Clearlake around Borax Lake. Rest stop 2 was just outside of Lower Lake at the Anderson Marsh State Park (although the route sheet showed it was to be at the site of Modern Manufactured homes, fortunately their excellent signs clearly pointed out the route all day long.)
Leaving Lower Lake, we turn right on Highway 29 before turning onto Siegler Canyon Road and the climb thru the canyon and up Loch Lomond toward Cobb Mountain, and the scenery changed as we climbed to Adam Springs and Hoberg, and then a nice descent to Bottle Rock Road and onto lunch rest stop 3 at Jellystone Park at Cobb Mountain (formerly Beaver Creek Campground.)
From there the climbing resumed up Bottle Rock Road. After all the climbing, one would think I would have enjoyed the descent, but the 9% grade sign got the best of me and I took the descent slower than most of the others recently. Not long after the sign, I recognized Bill’s dad in his pickup going up the hill, but did not attempt to wave. He had been worried about me on Lake County roads because of the crazy drivers. He’s pretty sure he saw me, but he was still a sleep when I left the house at 6am, and Bill couldn’t remember which jersey I was wearing, when asked.
Rest stop 4 was at Point Lakeview and Soda Bay Road where we resume our course around the lake, around Konocti Bay and past Konocti Harbo Resort & Spa, and into Kelseyville, near where Bill’s folks used to live, on Corinthian Bay.
The last loop of the day continues away from the lake, on Kelsey Creek Road, and it was this last strech of 18 miles, and one last rest stop, where I did have one run in with a pickup truck (they thought they might scare me by screaming just as they went past.) And just after I left rest stop 6 at Adobe Creek, I got my first near flat tire of the year. I say “near” because it was not entirely flat, but it is hard to climb up hill on a nearly flat tire. I could not find any sign of a leak, but changed the tube to be safe. After that it was mostly flat back to Lakeport.
I had bought tickets for the post-ride meal for Bill and his folks and they had just gotten there when I rode up. We were treated to a plate full of salad, potato salad, pasta, baked beans and BBQ tri-tip and chicken, and French bread. Perhaps this is a ride more might be interested in for next year?