Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Waves to Wine

Jessica, MS Director of Special Events. A great rider and triathlete in her own right. Too busy to be bummed that she couldn't ride with us.

My quads are shot, especially the left one - buckles underneath me when I walk: But what a ride. A weekend full of "a lot's"; lots of miles, lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of great scenery, lots of camaraderie and a whole lot of fun.

Before I go on I would like to state that this was a very well run event. Jessica Fewless, her team, the organization put on a well supported, well organized event and while there a few improvements that could be made overall I was mucho impressed. Car and motorcyle support moved up and down the line constantly, there was a good amount of aid stations, California Highway Police was present, they served lunch mid-ride on both days, there were shower stations for both days, camping or shuttles to the surrounding hotels/motels on Saturday, abundance of food, same for wine and beer, a good amount of cheerful volunteers, a live band on both days and finally a great course that took us from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge to highway 1 along the coast and into the wine country of Sonoma.

Waves to Wine. Miss Julia navigating a sweet downhill toward the ocean. From the Pacific Coast to the vineyards of Sonoma.

1600+ RIDERS
We had all types, from the folks who had very little experience with hills and had to walk their bike to the crazy riders who rode on a track bikes. Hmmm...how do I explain this? Track bikes have only one gear and if you don't pedal the bike doesn't move. There is no coasting. On a regular bike you can just stop and it will just coast on it's own, not so with track bikes. On the uphills there is no downshifting to make things easier, you have one gear and one gear only, good luck. Topping those guys and the rest of us was the female uni-cyclist! I saw her on the first day, on the hilly coastal road of highway one. Pacific Ocean and beautiful views on the left, hills and crazy uni-cyclist that will make you feel like a slacker on the right. She also rode barefooted. What amazes me is how she can control that thing on the downhills, must take a lot of strength to keep it from running away on a steep downhill.

Hanging with Benito and Spams at the Stinson Beach aid station

I had a great time. The first day was hilly but the views were amazing. The course opened at 6:30AM from San Francisco and folks had until 8:30AM to get on the course. As ride marshalls we were expected to space ourselves out in the group, so no riding with my friends but it wasn't a big deal. There were a lot of stops besides the lunch stop and I regrouped with some of the other marshalls there. The lions share of the work went to the marshalls at the front of the ride, for the most part fixing flats and such. There were a couple of crashes but support was readily available. I personally didn't have to help anyone, the riders I ran into were either riding with their friends or were competent enough to solve their own issues. I finished in the middle of the pack Saturday afternoon and wisely ate something first before partaking of the beer. That was the coldest, tastiest beer ever. I was warned that they go down too easily, I scoffed but agreed 3 beers later. Dinner was promptly served at 4:30; ceasar salad, pesto pasta, string bean salad, tri-tip or chicken. They also served wine, ice cream sandwiches, cinnamon twists, pretzels, danishes and water. Not camping I left with Spams and Benito, my roomies, at 6:30PM and we spent the evening watching cable before passing out at 10:30.

Heat, need more heat!

Sunday morning started out cold, brrrrr...people were shivering on the breakfast line, while I regretted not partaking of the evening festivities the night before I was happy not to be in a tent in this cold. They said it was in the mid-40s. Heat lamps were distributed around the pavillion and countless riders can be seen worshipping the structures. Course opened at 7AM, by 7:30 I and most of the other ride marshalls were still hanging by a heat lamp toasting. Julia sauntered over at 7:45 still in her jammies. Course was supposed to close at 8AM but they were not enforcing it. There were also a couple of men in kilts which amazed me, how did they not freeze their you know what off. I left with Spams and Benito a little after 8AM. By the time we left most of the cyclists were already on the road. Slow start but as soon as I warmed up I got into a groove. The day before was a little too easy and I was determined to get a better workout. So it went, after a good warmup I cranked it up. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood, there were a coupe of riders going about doing "smile checks" and lots of "gud mornin" tossed around. After the first aid station I got passed by a train of 6 riders, as they passed a group of 4 riders, the 4 riders jumped on their wheel and all of a sudden it was a 10 rider train flowing fast in a single file. At that point I chased and tagged along myself and we continued to pick up riders as we went. We were moving fast and grew to about 20. If you're the person up front you have the hard work of breaking the wind for everyone else, for the folks in the back it's like running with a tail wind. Eventually the train disintegrated, some riders got tired and dropped off, most stopped at the next aid station. I skipped some of the stop and wisely skipped lunch too. The day before I ate half a burrito and I was slow as molasses for the next half hour of leaving the lunch station. I also wanted to consolidate all my hanging out time in the end this time. Sonoma was spectacular although the condition of the roads could be better. We had lots of shade and the views amazing, nothing I could do justice with my dinky little snapshot camera.

Hustling to join the Conga line. Riding past Sonoma Valley vineyards.

After finishing the bike went straight to the bike transport folks who were going to take it back to our start point in SF. I came in early enough that there was no line at the shower stations so I promptly picked up my drop bag and cleaned up. Unlike the day before I went straight for the beer before food and waited for friends to finish at the finish line. I also partook of the excellent wine that was served. We regrouped for a quick lunch and took the shuttles home. By the time we were ready to go, I couldn't have ridden my bike in a straight line if my life depended on it - doesn't take much these days. I slept the 2 hours back to SF. Spams, Benito and I then headed out to dinner after picking up our bikes. Benito is Filipino and took us to a really great Filipino restaurant south of SF. We ate like hogs and I took dessert to go.

Beer me! Wine me! When in Rome...

As I already stated, it was a well organized, well supported ride. They even had maps made out of a synthetic substrate that didn't tear or disintegrate like paper maps. Running out of beer on Sunday was a huge bummer though. Many folks who finished later didn't get their share but I'm sure they'll fix that for next year. We probably drank most of our quota on Saturday night anyway. I would definitely do this ride again and stated so when the call went out for 2008. The fundraising is minimal at $250. I didn't have to fundraise to enter the ride because I was a volunteer but I could see myself doing it next year even if I have to fundraise. Great ride. Great destination event.

My quads are still very, very sore. Ice baths for the rest of the week!

More pics coming up.


  1. Well now I want to do the ride and am sad I will have to wait until next year! I am putting it on my calendar.

    I am so happy you had such a fun weekend, but am not happy to hear your quads aren't so great.

    We are quite the pair right now... want to borrow my crutches?

  2. Sounds like an awesome event, Rick. You have to love any event that has a great deal of beer and wine afterwards! :) Fantastic pictures, too.

    Just curious, what wine is that you are holding in that picture? I can't quite make out the label.

    Get some good rest!

  3. WOW sounds like a very cool event...

    heat lamp--burrrrrrr

    great pics and beverages nice:-)

    Rest those quads Bro and ICE Up!!

  4. 2 days of riding killed your quads?!? must of been a tough ride. pace lines are fun. :)

  5. Sounds like a fantastic event!! I love the scenery!

  6. what, what a great experience! That sounds like it was so much fun, and the pictures (so far) are beautiful! I'm still amazed you did this 2 weeks before Firetrails :) Will you be tapering at all? :D

  7. Squirt =P9:00 PM

    good report.
    love the pictures.
    mann all that exercise and then you guys follow up with beer and wine hahaha! definitely a perfect event for you =P

  8. Wuss...your quds hurt. WTH? OK, it was fun for sure:) I miss coming for Firetrails already, bummer! Hear me roar?

  9. what a great way to celebrate the race with a glass of wine. Yummi!

    Happy recovery!