more than just another bike blog

Thursday, May 31, 2007

a weekend in the country

what does a bike coach do for vacation? I'm not one for sitting on the beach with an umbrella drink, so usually I go somewhere and get a big block of miles under the belt. this weekend was no exception. I joined a local triathlon coach's training camp in sonoma wine country, with the goal of riding 300 miles in 3 days.

one of my tri-flow racers had planned to join me, but at the last minute she cancelled, so with two days to spare I invited my friend Hans. although he's primarily a mtn biker, he's super-fit and does a fair amount of road riding, too, so I knew he'd do fine. and at 6'3" he's a hella-draft, which I would undoubtedly need if I planned to keep up with the boys.

the weekend was simply fabulous! the weather was perfect -- not too hot, foggy only in the early morning hours, and windy only on the last day. the training group was small and we ended up only riding with them (for one silly reason or another) for part of the first day.

we were based out of the Sebastopol Inn (in Sebastopol). Friday evening after the long, slow drive from San Mateo, we checked in and then headed over to Bodgea Bay for a sunset dinner at The Tides. it was one of the oddest sunsets I'd ever experienced. although the evening was clear, the sunset was almost devoid of color -- literally a black and white sunset.

day one took us into wine country. the entire group stayed together at a reasonable pace for the first hour or so. I rode up front with the coach, not wanting to sit on the wheel of some random triathlete on a TT bike (they don't shift very often and get way too surgey for my taste). the pace picked up after the first hour and I was happy to hang with the guys until the last climb when someone attacked and about half the group followed. unfortunately, I had to work to stay with the group and didn't get enough calories in (which would come back to haunt me later in the day). we had an organized rest stop @ 40 miles. most of the group planned to do the hilly 100+ mile route, but Hans and I opted to do the 70ish mile route through wine country. by mile 50, my lack of calories hit hard and by mile 60 I was bonked in a way I hadn't done in many, many years. Hans pulled my ass to Sebastopol but it sure wasn't pretty. we rolled around trying to find somewhere to eat an early dinner and finally found a thai restaurant with outdoor seating -- just what the doctor ordered. after an early dinner (or would that be a late lunch) a soak in the hot tub and a sit by the pool, we cleaned up all pretty to join the group for our second dinner at a local cafe.

day two we opted to ride to Occidental and then out to Cazadero. we got a late start so we didn't ride with the group at all on day two. rather than ride an out & back (which was the planned route), we put together a great loop based on the maps provided by the coach. we lingered for a bit in Occidental, drinking iced chai tea (yeah, it's vacation) and doing a bit of window shopping. then on to Cazadero for a quick stop at the bakery.

we had planned to take Old Cazadero Highway, but when we found it there was a sign saying the road was closed. but we decided to cross the bridge and make the climb anyways -- worst case scenario we would have to turn back, right? we climbed the first mile or so and it was a bear -- 15-25% grades the entire way. with my gearing, that meant standing, grunting, and trying not to cry (or swear at Hans). after the first mile, the road turned to dirt and appeared to be a bit less steep. I was game to try to ride it but Hans decided it would be best to turn around -- wimp! dinner was at the same restaurant as the night before, and we weren't excited about that so we opted out of the group dinner and headed out for a fabulous dinner at the local brewpub. besides, we kept smelling burgers grilling during our ride and where better to get a burger (and a spinach salad) than the local brewpub, right?

day three was a loop to Pt. Reyes Station with various options for shorter loops. at dinner the night before (which we missed), the group decided to depart an hour earlier in the morning. of course, we didn't know this, so as we're packing up and loading the car, we see the group rolling out -- WTF? the coach remained back to wait for one other rider (who never showed), so the three of us rolled together. we took Bohemian Highway to Occidental (a beautiful route) and then turned onto Coleman Valley Road. at this point the coach rode on ahead to try to catch the group and Hans and I enjoyed the verdent valleys, the cows, llamas, turkey vultures, goats, sheep, and wildflowers. I'd ridden this road a dozen or so times in the past and know how hilly it is (with many 15% and higher grades). however, in all these rides, I'd never done it on a clear, fogless day. wow! stunning views greeted us as we descended into Bodgea Bay.

we inadvertantly detoured (yes, we missed a turn) and took an alternate route into Tomales with killer climbs (25% on several occassions). the Tomales Bakery was closed but we were able to get sweets and ice cream and Gatorade at the deli. we sat in the sun enjoying the day, chatting with other cyclists, and discussing our route options. Hans even struck up a conversation with a dutch couple touring CA in their caravan (aka RV). Hans is from Holland and speaks fluent dutch so it was fun to listen in and guess what they were talking about. after enjoying our break, we decided to opt for the 70 mile route rather than the 110 mile route. given the wind and the fact that we would rather get back to Sebastopol feeling good (not dead), it was the right choice. we ended the ride with a stop at a fabulous mexican restaurant, another dip in the hot tub, and some time at the pool before driving back to San Mateo.

all in all a great weekend! we logged 193 miles in 3 days -- 13 hours on the bike, 12,000' of climbing, and about 6,000 calories burned!

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At 5/31/2007 10:24 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Sounds like a great trip. Nothing like riding hard, and then rewarding yourself with good food and drinks! I like your picture of the ocean. I spent a week at Fort Bragg recently, and was sad to come home. I was born and raised in Nevada, but I think someday I'd like to live in some remote coastal area.

At 5/31/2007 11:02 AM, Blogger lauren said...

oh my gosh, that's sounds so luxurious. we used to do those kind of days before we had kids.

and the Tomales Bakery is so cool.

At 5/31/2007 1:54 PM, Blogger Chris said...

That sounds like some great riding. I have been to wine country for vacation, but will certainly make it a point to ride out there someday soon.

At 6/01/2007 9:24 AM, Blogger Allison said...

Hey Lori, too bad you missed the Old Caz loop. It's pretty cool. Dirt down to a big beauty of a creek, wet feet, little climb, little descent and you're back in Caz. Next time!


At 6/01/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Nome Agusta said...

Were did you get the pink mountain bike?

At 6/01/2007 12:48 PM, Blogger velogirl said...

Nome, it's a fabulous Yeti from my friends at Cyclepath!

At 6/01/2007 5:20 PM, Blogger X Bunny said...

i've gotta get a weekend like that somehow


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