February 20, 2011

Northward Bound -- the friendliness increases

After a chaotic blitz through pouring rain on our way out of the bay area (car loaded with necessities for 3 months or so), we made it to the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Sacramento for a quick visit with family.

Dinner. Pictures. Catching up. Early sleep.

This morning, the skies were blue, the air was calm (and allergen free, post-rain) and I was able to do one of the best long runs I've done in years, from Lincoln, CA to Newcastle, CA.

This time of year, California is gorgeously green and fertile. The verdant hills were peppered with ewe, llamas, horses, and cows, which, along with the clear blue skies and foliage were a pleasant distraction from the shocking elevation changes (turns out, 10 miles around the San Francisco bay is a little less effort than 10 miles through the Foothills of Tahoe-Donner).

Typical for being out in the country, I found myself waiving hello and thankyou to all the huge pick-up trucks that felt it was necessary to pull to the middle of the road and straddle both lanes at least a mile before they came near me to let me know I was safe. Also, along my course, I waived hello to about 5 runners and gave one a high five. And, no doubt due to the amazing crisp weather and rolling elevation changes, it felt like I was passed and crossed paths with about 100 cyclists.

So, in short, my run was on track to be perfect, but I did need to stop for a pit stop and Gatorade. I'd hoped I could hit one of the general stores or, worst case scenario, a dive bar, along the route.

But, then, I turned the corner, and found Trailhead Coffee and Cycling Lounge, and I was filled with relief.

Runners are to cyclists like sisters are to brothers. And, much like the love you feel for a sibling, I knew with certitude I'd be welcome for a quick stop, even if I didn't have a bike or want any coffee.

As I expected, I was welcomed. I walked in, and before I could speak, the man behind the counter said, "Over there," pointing at the bathroom. I quickly walked past several middle-aged men in various stages of undress/lycra (most of whom had passed me on the way up the hill), smiled a thank you, and asked if they had Gatorade. It was on the counter waiting for me when I exited.

I paid, trying to avoid too long of a break in my run. While counting my change, between yelled exchanges with the various cyclists, the man running the show explained that I, like all runners, was always welcome to just come in and fill my water bottle there, get ice over there, and use the bathroom.

My only regret is that I didn't have my camera to take pictures on the run.

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