Out of the house this morning at 7:30 to lead a ride from Berkeley up to Davis, near the western edge of the Central Valley. It’s 60 miles away by car; 100 miles by my zig-zagging cycling route. The unknown this morning was whether more than one or two other people would show up to ride; the uncertainty was occasioned by a good rain last night that had been forecast to last into the morning. But the weather had cleared by dawn, and I went over to the meeting place hoping maybe three or four or five people might show. Instead, 14 riders appeared, including two pairs on tandems. The roads were wet but the sky was mostly clear and the winds mild all day. Compared to many of the longer rides in this area, which feature lots of hill climbing, this route is mostly rolling. But even the constant up and down of mini-climbs can wear you down, and I was pretty tired when we finally rode east from the last small hill on the route into the flats of the valley (it really is that abrupt). Our goal was to get to Davis in time to get something to eat, then get on a 4:25 p.m. train back to Berkeley. No problem — we ate at a place across the street from the station, rode over and got tickets, waited 10 minutes for the train, quickly loaded the bikes (a large section of one car was devoted to bike racks), and had a fun ride back home as the sun set. Hard to beat.

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