Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Travel Run Update #4: Napa Valley 09/06/2012 & 09/08/2012

We spent the next week in Napa and Sonoma valleys, touring wineries, and doing what you are supposed to do there.  We rented a house just outside of the town of Napa in Wild Horse Valley.  We were at the very end of the road, tucked away in the hills on a horse farm next to a lake, with no noise and no neighbors.  The owner told me about a trail he had created over the years that led to the ridgeline behind us and overlooked Napa Valley.  He said you can see all the way to Mt Helena in the north end of the valley, and to the south, you could see to San Francisco Bay (and supposedly on a clear day all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge).

Unfortunately, my intake of the Napa product line led to me only running two mornings.  But one chilly morning I did run up and along the ridgeline as suggested.  He had cut a rough trail, so the going was slow, and I got pretty scratched up from the bushes.  I tried a number of the game trails that cut across it, only to hit dead ends when the trail required a creature much shorter than me to pass.  5 miles of rocky ups and downs later, I  was back at the chalet and ready for my next winery.  On our final morning, I decided to run the road down towards Napa, and back.  The first mile was a little bit of ups and downs, and I worked up the pace slowly, trying to overcome wine grogginess.  But the road descends 1200 feet towards the valley floor in the next 2 miles, and I was soon pounding down the pavement at breakneck speed (for me) trying to hold the switchback curves on the road.  I reached 3 miles in just under 23  minutes and decided that was far enough.  I turned and headed back up the hill and was soon huffing and puffing.  The return trip took 35 minutes, over 50% slower than the descent.  6 miles in 58 minutes total.  Only 2 runs in 6 days in Napa, but I was happy with the effort.

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