NorthCoast Brew Makers Century


There are great beers in California and there are some great rides and races. This had them all.


Guess where I am?



The Support crew hanging out with the locals at North Coast Brew Company the night before. Luckily it was pint night, so we got some of those and got to keep the pre-packaged glasses.


Dave’s Trip report:




We drove up the day before so I could map out hills and other scenery to miles to get an idea of what to expect. First thing I noticed were all the signs on 101 stating that the 128 East connector at Geyserville was out. (In the hotel that night I planned the alternative route at the bottom of the route section to the right.)

The first thing I got wrong about my drive through was the size of the hills I was driving down to get into Anderson valley.

I only noted one big hill about two miles east of Booneville, which gave me the false impression that after that it would be rollers into Cloverdale.


The second thing I got wrong was the 11 mile redwood section. I thought it varied from slightly uphill to slightly hilly.


But that’s what I get for having a conversation with my wife comparing real life people with ones on reality television shows. Lack of quality?


When we arrived in Fort Bragg we checked into the motel and quickly walked down to NorthCoast Brew Co. for dinner and drinks.


We ordered a variety of fuel enhanced foods. I had a cup of the Chili (excellent), waffle fries (very good) and the Paella (excellent) as that was too much to eat I took them as take out and had them with my cliff bar for breakfast.


The beers of choice were the ACME IPA and Brother Thelonious which was ordered as ‘shots’. Although it was the Scrimshaw that originally got NorthCoast Brew Co on the map, we didn’t have any that night.


Based on the hwy1 hills and the Redwood hills, I decided I should get up at 6am and then leave at 6:30 to have an extra hour to make lunch at Bear republic. (because really, isn’t it all about lunch?)


When my alarm clock went off at 6am, it was the first reminder that one thing you should always do when riding Hwy1 in the morning is bring lights. There are even signs reminding you to turn them on. I had not brought mine. So I decided to sleep in until 6:30 and leave at 7am with hopefully more light outside.


Ride Starts


The ride started at 7:30 AM Friday July 28th in Fort Bragg.


Like most mornings on the north coast it was cold, foggy and wet enough to have to take it a little easy on the downhill turns.


Within the first ten miles I jinxed myself by thinking I like hanging out in the city of Mendocino better then Fort Bragg because it was at that moment coming over a hill to go downhill that I couldn’t shift onto the big chain wheel. Luckily the first (uh only) gas station I went by in Albion had a small Phillips I could borrow to loosen the top adjustment screw on my front derailleur. It was good for a while but that problem would haunt me the entire ride.


The combination of no bike lanes, wet roads and construction crew that I actually had to stop and wait for made turning off Hwy1 onto 128 a happy moment for me. I pulled off for a sec to swap water bottles and open a cliff bar that I ate while riding into the redwoods. It took me just over an hour to do the twenty miles to get to that point which for the start of a the ride and size of some of the Hwy1 hills, I felt okay about.


Thinking back on the eleven mile Redwood section, I really wish I had done what I wanted to do at the time, enjoy them more. It’s very surreal in how quiet it is, the lighting, sun rays, the trees themselves. I only allowed myself a little bit of enjoyment at that because I kept thinking those hills I thought I saw the day before were about to pop up.


I’d estimated that I’d only be able to average 15mph through this section, I was able to do 19mph instead. When I reached the Anderson valley I was thinking “great! I just saved myself fifteen or twenty minutes! I might be early for lunch! How horrible it will be to have to have an extra beer while I wait for the support crew to show up!” (queue omnimous music…)


I pulled over in Philo for Gatorade and to take off my arm warmers. First thing I noticed at that Philo stop were the old timers out front speaking full on Boontling, the second thing I noticed was they had no Gatorade, but they did have water and looking back I think that was a good choice as too much carb only food is not always helpful, plus, pouring Gatorade over your head sucks.



The sign across from the gatoradeless deli in Philo


I pulled into Booneville at 10:15 AM, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. As Booneville is officially halfway, I felt totally fine with stopping to take pictures with inanimate objects and slowing to take pictures on the bike from my phone.



Taken while riding through AV


I’m not sure how I wasted a half hour but it was 10:45 before I rolled into Anderson Valley Brew Co. I wasn’t sure if they’d be open on a Friday. So I decided that I needed Gatorade anyway, so I’d go and check to see if they were open and if not, I’d grab an AVBC bottle from the AV market along with my Gatorade. If they were open I’d stop in. I pulled up to find out they opened at 11am. So I went back to town for Gatorade and then come back at 11am for a beer.


Before I could leave the parking lot a man yelled “Hey not so fast. Any news on that Landis Character?” I talked to him for a few minutes about how it could take some time as Floyd hadn’t heard what he’d been charged with yet.


When I returned back to the tasting room the same guy walked in with his wife. They were out for a wedding in Sonoma and decided to come early and do some driving out to the coast. They were from Virginia, which happens to be where I went for a wedding last fall. Nice folks, I asked them to honk and wave when they saw me later which turned out to be twice, first climbing out of AV and second in the streets of Healdsburg.


At AVBC I had a Hop Ottin IPA (A favorite of mine), a shot of Brother David’s Triple and a handful of peanuts. All went down really good as did my heart rate which is always nice during a break in a ride.


All in all I spent an hour in Anderson Valley. Not really sure where the time went, but I do know that was when all my cold gear went into my pockets. Where it stayed until the support crew caught me on one of the final hills coming out of the Valley. I passed them the extra shirt, warm socks, arm and leg warmers and they passed me a half a bottle of warm Gatorade.


Which brings me to those hills leaving the valley. They probably would not have seemed that bad if I hadn’t missed them the day before or if it wasn’t high noon, or I had stopped at the market at Yorkville which would have kept me from running out of fluids. But put all that together and I had to slow down to 7mph and even 5mph at points to avoid heat and save something for the last 30-35 miles.


When the support crew caught me near the end of the hills I was almost convinced they would never end. My wife asked me if I wanted to stop and I said, “You mean Quit?! I just need to get off these hills and onto the downhill into Cloverdale and I’ll be fine. There’s only twenty five miles after that and it’s mostly flat with the wind at my back.” Oops, did I say that last part out loud?


Coming down the hills into Cloverdale was very refreshing. Getting extra fluids and pouring water on my head was awesome.


Starting down Asti Rd and my last twenty-five miles started off great until I noticed the problem. That tailwind I’d mentioned, the California coastal one that always blows from the North-North-West and blows you south? It was blowing 20mph from the South and directly into my face.


So instead of an easy 23mph cruise into Alexander Valley and Healdsburg, I had to fight to maintain 19mph, and I’ll admit, some of my fight was gone lowering me to 17mph.


I only had one real problem from there. My map program showing my alternate route to Jimtown was kinda hard to read. I couldn’t always tell which side of the freeway I was supposed to be on so I had to stop and look at signs a couple times. The worse one was at Lytton as I’d forgotten the name of that road and to me it looked like Geyserville Rd had just dead ended, which wasn’t on the map. I first looked to the Frontage Rd on the left, and I couldn’t quite read the street sign, but I could tell for sure the first letter was’nt a G for Geyserville road.


So I crossed back under the freeway to the right to see if that frontage Rd was it, nope, luckily it had a “Not a through street sign” or I might have tried it. So I went back to the freeway and thought, 101s not so bad here, I could ride the freeway until I saw the no bikes or pedestrians sign.


Feeling perplexed I went back under the freeway to the other frontage road to see if it would work and I got one of the most inspirational sites of the entire trip as it was Healdsburg Rd, I was saved!


The second most inspirational part of the ride was turning down Alexander Valley Rd and reaching Jimtown, no time at all. When I turned for Healdsburgh I felt like I could do another twenty or fifty miles to Petaluma no problem.


Three things stopped me from doing that:


  1. A quick radio transmission from my wife saying they just got a table at Bear Republic
  2. The thought of 32oz Tankers of Racer5
  3. Common sense


I only had two problems in Healdsburg, avoiding the millions of cars and then finding the brewery as a million (okay three) buildings have now almost completely encircled it.


Two groups of friends met us there over two hours and during that time I had three tankers of Racer5, garlic bread and an excellent bowl of gumbo.


Nice ride!




Click here for larger picture


The Route.

  • Drive to Fort Brag the night before
  • Eat Dinner at North Coast Brew Companies restaurant
  • Next morning take Hwy 1 south to 128
  • Ride through the redwoods
  • Ride through Anderson Valley
  • Stop at Anderson Valley Brew Company
  • (next year take a left on 253 for Ukiah and Mendocino brew company in ukiah and hopland)
  • Ride up more hills then you should ride up on a century to cloverdale downtown/business
  • On the south end of town turn left on Citrus Fair Dr
  • Turn right on Asti Rd
  • After ten miles or so Asti becomes Geyserville Rd.
  • Take a left on Nutter and follow 128 to Alexander Valley rd
  • Right on Alexander Valley Rd
  • Left on Healdsburg Ave
  • Stop at Bear Republic Brewery for lunch


Note: Geyserville has some closed off roads, like the 128 connector. So we had to take a slightly different route and follow geyserville rd until it dead ends and heads right under 101. follow it to the left until it hits Lytton. Take a left on Lytton and then a right on Healdsburg Ave. Take a left on Alexander Valley Blvd and drive up it to Jimtown at the cross road of 128/Sausai Ln. Turn around and go back down Alexander Valley Rd to Healdsburg Ave, Take a Left there and drive to Bear Republic.


Why go to Jimtown? To make it a century of course…




Sorry that 101.15 is hard to read, but it there, I promise!




One last shot of AV