MONDAY: The first full day of our bicycle tour dawns a bit foggy.  We head to breakfast which, after last night’s dinner, I know will be another culinary masterpiece. It does not disappoint. Everyone is together for a cheery breakfast and “route wrap.” Luke carefully goes over each detail of the route explaining where to keep an eye out for tricky turns. Cy chimes in with her impressive knowledge of the wine and the local area. I’m listening and looking at the map and directions I’ve been given trusting that my navigator husband will guide us through the route to the promised land – a gourmet lunch and tasting at Robert Young Estate Winery.

Yesterday’s 16 miles was a nice warm up – today our tour through wine country will cover about 35 miles including over Chalk Hill. We set out last intentionally so our competitive natures don’t tempt us to keep pace with the mostly faster group. Within the first five minutes I can tell that I’m not as fresh as I was yesterday. A bit of anxiety sets in as I look down and see that we’ve traveled only 2 miles – great, only 33 more to go. I tune in to the rhythm of my breathing and focus on the pedal rotations of my bicycle.  In this meditative state the miles begin to tick past and after about mile 10 I’ve found my groove. Now I can fully enjoy the gorgeous scenery I’ve come to see!

After several “undulations” we finish our little “tour” of Chalk Hill and I’m inspired by our accomplishment – I made it! Lunch is only a couple of miles away and I pass the distance reflecting on the fact that several hours have passed and not once think about my children, job, or to-do list – my focus on cycling really has forced me to take a vacation from everything else – I like this!

An amazing lunch was waiting when we bicycled into the vineyard.  Cy and Luke have a second career as chefs if ever they so desire.  The presentation even included a floral centerpiece – pretty impressive when you are working out of a couple of coolers in a van.  Lunch was accompanied by a wine tasting and followed by a riveting tour of the winery and caves by Jeff Noel, one of the most charismatic and knowledgeable wine merchants you could imagine.

The relaxing break from cycling and the hearty lunch fare gave me plenty of energy for the ride back to  Madrona Manor where we jumped in heated pool before dinner.  Cy bicycled along with me for a while and gave me some great tips about cadence and gearing.  She also thought she could make some adjustments to my bicycle alleviate some of my shoulder and sit bone discomfort for tomorrow’s ride.

We spent the evening at Seghesio Winery where the entire facility was available solely for our group. It felt like something out of a movie.  Candles illuminated a gorgeous wood table for 16.  Family antiques and photographs of the three generations of Seghesio family winemakers lined the walls.  Following an extensive tasting complete with a delicious selection of appetizers, Dana shared interesting information about the Seghesio family history before leading us upstairs to the private dining room for more food and wine.  It was truly a magical evening we shared with our lovely new tour friends.