Editor’s note: This was reposted with the picture.
Last week, all of my fellow cyclists in California were trying their best to ride before the forecasted storms. The weather people had been trying to scare us for days with talk of a storm track that was going to bring heavy rain and high winds to most of California. They didn’t lie. We were pounded by torrents of rain that at times seemed to be coming down sideways.
Santa Rosa averages 6.25 inches of rain in January. Last week we received over 7.5 inches in 5 days. This was enough to cause some minor flooding in local creeks and roads. Cyclists out braving these conditions were constantly posting FB pictures of these flooded areas with warnings to avoid those roads for a while.
With all of this water falling to ground, you just had to know that if you chose to ride last weekend you were going to get wet. Still, there was supposed to be a little break in the action so many of us were out riding while we could.
For a lot of reasons, Saturday had me only riding with Dennis from our little cycling group. It was supposed to be partly sunny but as we rolled out of my driveway it was starting to rain. No worries. We were dressed for it and decided to just keep rolling. We headed down to the bike path to follow Santa Rosa Creek out of town. We did this to not only avoid cars but we were interested in how much water was there. It was a lot. At one point, the path goes under a road and you could tell that whole section was recently underwater.
We continued to ride out towards Laguna de Santa Rosa, which almost always floods. Sure enough, as we approached we saw the “Road closed due to flooding” sign. However, we both know the road here drains quickly so we kept going. As anticipated, the road was clear but there was water everywhere and once again you could tell there was flooding in that area.
We then headed out to Occidental. The plan was to take Bohemian Highway into Monte Rio. This is a beautiful road that follows a creek that is nearly dry in the summer but on Saturday it was roaring along its path towards the Russian River. The flowing water, the green hills, and the dozens of small waterfalls flowing into the creek made for a magical journey.
By this time, it had quit raining and we were mostly just dirty from road spray. In Monte Rio, we decided enough was enough and it was time to head home. We followed the Russian River back to Martinelli Road and into Forestville. From there, we followed the West County Trail back towards home.
It was on the bike path that things got interesting. We ignored another sign warning us of flooding. I mean, it’s a bike path so how deep could it be? Of course, the flooded sections were all in the only section of the path that is not paved. We hit the flooded section and rolled on through with the water barely reaching the bottom bracket. As we scoffed at the flooded sign we came around a corner and had an “Oh Sh!t” moment.
The second flooded section looked deep. Still, we decided to “man up” and keep going. With each pedal turn the water got deeper and deeper. At one point, our water bottles were under water. With each turn of the pedals your foot never cleared the surface. But it was short and we were able to power through it laughing like school kids the whole time.
We went through one last flooded section on a small wooden bridge and as we looked back Dennis mentioned we should have a taken a picture. So, I went back through the water to the other side and returned slowly as Dennis snapped away with his phone. As I cleared this flooded section a second time I heard Dennis say that it didn’t take. So, back through for a third time. Man, the things we do for pictures.
In the end, it was more of a playful adventure then a serious bike ride. We saw both the power and beauty of Mother Nature while pedaling our bikes through water like a couple of 10-year olds. There’s nothing like a little water to bring out the inner child in all of us and I can’t wait to go “play” again next weekend.
P.S. There will be some serious bike cleaning going on this week.