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2002 Waves to Wine Ride Report
(Saturday, September 28 - Sunday, September 29 in Santa Rosa, CA.)

Cove off of Highway 1
(Click here for my photo album from this ride)

Pre-ride:

I left Fremont at around 1:30. I foolishly thought this might be early enough to beat the Bay Area getaway traffic - ha! 3 hours later I finally arrived in Santa Rosa and set up camp on the lawn at the Luther Burbank Center. Unlike previous years, camping was permitted on most of the lawn areas, and so folks Camping at the Luther Burbank Center were very spread out. I thought this was too bad, as I had enjoyed the camraderie of closer camping quarters in 1999 and 2000 when I'd done this ride previously. I met a nice rider who had driven down from Idaho for the ride (!!), and we talked for a bit. I wandered over to where registration was, not expecting to be able to register yet, as I was a couple hours early, but fortunately, they were accepting team check-ins, so I did the usual paperwork and got my packet. Thanks to the generosity of my friends and family (and matching funds from Sun!), I managed to raise $2035 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - yay!

Since few other folks were around at this early hour, I read for a little bit, then got a call from Denise & Ralph, who were a few hundred yards away. We hung around for a bit, then went to the Hunter Steakhouse to meet the rest of Team SunSpots for our pre-ride team dinner. Folks trickled in until we had a critical mass and headed upstairs to our table. Guy (our captain for this ride) did a great job organizing everything, and his wife Lisa even made goodie bags for everyone! Being the highest fundraiser other than Guy, he picked up my dinner tab as promised, and we all headed our separate ways after a tasty meal. Once back at camp, I read for a little bit, then hit the sack at around 10:00.

Day 1 - Waves:

Team SunSpots at the start My alarm went of at 6am, and I got up, changed into my biking gear, and stumbled over to the breakfast area inside the Luther Burbank Center. They had lots of breakfast foods (yogurt, bagels, spreads, cereal, milk, etc), but no coffee! I found a woman who was in charge of coffee, and she assured me that coffee would arrive by 6:30'ish. Apparently she wasn't used to dealing with cyclists, as she didn't think that many folks would want any coffee - far from it! :) While I waited, Denise and Ralph arrived, and we joined the ever-growing crowd of caffeine addicts. As we waited and snacked, they announced that the ride start would be delayed until 7:30 to accomodate road construction on River Rd. Just as well, as it was pretty cold, and I was happy enough to let the sun rise a bit more. I didn't really like the extra 25mi route that differentiates the 100mi loop from the 75mi loop (brown hills, headwinds, and cow-smells - yay?), so Denise, Ralph, and I planned on riding the 75mi route.

Barn in vineyards After a quick group picture, we hit the road at 7:30. It was a fast and fun jaunt along River Rd., past the steaming pavement of the construction site, and along some vineyards. We made a few turns and arrived at the first rest stop at only 7.1mi. We only stayed long enough to empty our bladders, then hit the road again. The biggest hills of the day were in the first few dozen miles, and we trended upwards at a mostly-gentle rate. It was starting to warm up nicely by this point, and when we pulled into the next rest stop in Occidental (16.2mi), I removed my windbreaker. This was a pretty stop, and we Team SunSpots at Rest Stop #2 hung around for a bit, stuffing our cheeks like the good little chipmunks we were. We had our picture taken by a kind rider-by, and headed on our way. Denise had taken off a bit before us ostensibly so we would arrive at the next rest stop at around the same time (which we would, in fact).

We descended for a ways on the Bohemian Highway (best road name ever!), and I was left wondering what posessed me to take off my jacket, as it was now fully shaded, downhill, and cold. This was nonetheless a fun and scenic descent, and in short order, we turned on Moscow Rd. and paralleled the Russian River for a few miles. Moscow Rd. is pretty badly surfaced overall, and I found it difficult to effectively paceline behind Ralph and Stephen while also keeping an eye out for big potholes. It was lovely, though, so I didn't worry too much about it, mainly letting them ride their own ride, and enjoying the scenery offered.

Ocean views from rest stop #4 There was yet another rest stop at Duncans Mills Trading Company (25.8mi), where I topped off my water bottles, grabbed a handfull of eats, and headed out hot on Denise's heels. I caught up to her after a couple miles, and we rode on Hwy 116 along the Russian River until we turned south on Hwy 1. This, too, was lovely territory, affording great views of the valleys behind us. After a series of rolling climbs, we were treated to an ocean view that remained with us for the next several miles until we pulled into rest stop #4 Rest stop #4 (34.9mi). This rest stop had tasty soup, available in either chunky or broth form (I had the latter), and was complete with complimentary valet bike-holding :)

Denise left before the rest of us, not wanting to cool off too much, and after a brief rest, Stephen, Matt, Guy, Jeffrey, Ralph, and I rode out in hopes of catching Denise before lunch. It was lots of fun riding along Highway 1, with all of us in our SunSpots jerseys forming a "purple train" and overtaking a good many other riders. After a while of that, Stephen and Ralph threw the hammer down and pulled away. I wasn't in enough of a hurry to contest, and somewhat reluctantly watched them go up the road. Once they were gone, however, I settled into a fine pace, playing leapfrog with a pair of other riders. Jeffrey, Guy, and I rode along Tomales Bay, enjoying the fine views and the mild weather. After some rolling hills, we pulled into the lunch stop at Dinucci's in Valley Ford (47.4mi).

Denise and Ralph had arrived just before us, Stephen having arrived well before that. This stop was only a couple of blocks away from the first stop on this year's Holstein Hundred. I had a turkey pita sandwich, chips, and some other food, and relaxed for a few. I heard my name called out, and turned to see my friend Lorri, captain of the VeloGirl Lorri VeloGirls women's cycling club. She was with several other VeloGirls, including another friend of mine, Amy. After saying hi, I continued munching and refilled my bottles. A SAG vehicle pulled in, and the Idaho rider got out. She apparently was having stomach problems and didn't eat dinner or breakfast before the ride - uggh! We saw someone putting a bike with a severely taco'd wheel into a truck, apparently the victim of an accident on Highway 1 that seriously injured the rider :(

Roblar Rd. Soon after lunch, the 75 and 100mi route diverged, so Guy, Jeffrey, Stephen, and Matt went their merry way, while Denise, Ralph, and I continued on Hwy 1. I met up with a nice woman, Ginger, from SF, and we rode along at a good clip. This was her first organized bike ride, and one of her first rides at all in ages, but she was very strong. We rolled through cow country, very similar to the Holstein Hundred (but mercifully, much shorter), appreciating the mild weather (it can be rather hot on this part of the ride!). Ginger was great company, and the time passed quickly. Soon enough, we rolled into rest stop 6 at Libby Park (62mi).

Ginger We stretched and munched, and Denise and Ralph soon pulled in. We didn't stay long, and Ginger, her friend, and I rolled on out. The last bits of riding are pleasant enough, but aren't so lovely as the first 60 miles. We skipped the final water stop (only 6.3mi from the previous stop, and 7.2mi from the finish), and boogied onwards towards the end. Near the finish, Ginger hit the wall and had to slow down, but I had "finish fever", as I often do near the end of a ride, and continued onwards at a good clip.

Guy and Jeffrey arriving at the finish I pulled into the finish and waited a few for Ginger and her friend to finish. We talked for a bit, I went to my tent to change, and then got some grub. They had tasty cheese and crackers and spreads and such, as well as a lot of wine, and a truckfull of beer! I got a 30min massage, grateful that I returned early enough that I didn't have to wait - aaaaahhhhhhhh! The rest of the SunSpots arrived sporadically, and at 4:30, the BBQ opened, and we all chowed down on some chicken breasts, pasta, etc. There was live music playing, but it was a good deal too loud, making conversation difficult. There was the usual evening presentation, recognizing everyone who makes the event possible and reminding us why we were here, then they presented the Champagne Club "Champagne Club" jerseys to everyone who raised $2000 or more (including me!). Team SunSpots was the third largest fundraiser, raising $13,000 - pretty good since there were only 15 of us! After a cheesy team jingle competition which Team SunSpots mercifully abstained from, and a slideshow, I went back to my tent at around 9, and soon crashed out.

Day 2 - Wine:

Matt and Stephen at breakfast I woke up at 6 again, after a long, but not particularly restful sleep, and stumbled over to the tent where breakfast was being served. There was a warm welcoming sign on the doors to the Luther Burbank Center - apparently the parishoners using the facility that morning didn't want us cyclists stinking up the place! The coffee situation was much improved from Saturday, with several reservoirs available. I had pancakes and half of a bagel with spread, then joined Stephen and Matt under the tent to look over the route sheet. I had originally planned on riding 75mi on Saturday and 100mi on Sunday, but my energy levels (and backside) weren't completely restored after the Knoxville Double the previous weekend, so I decided to ride 50. I'd ridden the 25mi Sunday course the two other times I'd participated in this event, and wanted to do a different route. The 25mi Sunday route is OK, but isn't spectacular.

I met Denise and Ralph, and after they ate, we headed out at 7:30'ish. Stephen, Guy, and Matt were going to do the 75 or 100mi routes, which diverged immediately from ours, so we didn't ride with them. We headed north on the Old Redwood Hwy for a few miles, then were directed left by a staffer. This confused me because that turn wasn't on my map, and to add to my confuddlement, a passing rider had a route sheet that was different than mine! Eventually we determined we were on part of the 75/100mi course, which was fine, since, although the 50 and 75/100 routes diverged early on, they also converged early on before splitting off again. I looked at the area in my Topo software when I got home, and the staffer must have been correct - the turn indicated on the route sheet doesn't exist!

We rode in the chilly shadows past some lovely vineyards, and we saw a few hot air balloons taking off. Denise wasn't in wonderful spirits, and a couple of short, but pretty steep climbs on Chalk Hill Road didn't help any! We turned on Hwy 128 and rode past another pretty vineyard for a short ways to the first rest stop (13.6mi). There we ran into Amy and two other Velo Girls, Sarah, and ... I forget. We snacked and stretched, but didn't dally long.

The six of us rolled out together, and shortly formed a great paceline. We picked Pacelining through the wine country up a few other riders along the way, until there were 8 of us in total. Denise's mood lifted considerably as the going was pretty easy behind Ralph and I, and the company was great! We soon arrived at the lunch stop at the Chateau Souverain Winery (21.1mi), but decided to skip it, as it was way too early for lunch, and only another 10 miles to the next rest stop.

Perry's Place rest stop The next leg of the course was rolling hills not well-suited to pacelining, so Sarah and I rode together at our own pace, continuing on scenic backroads along vast fields of grapes. We soon pulled into the next rest stop at Perry's Place (31.3mi). The rest of the gang pulled in shortly after us, and we hung for a few. Denise found a nice dog, and so had to visit it for a few :). I divested myself of my leg warmers, and conveniently left them, my windbreaker, and long gloves at the rest stop, not realizing this until I was many miles down the road - oops!

Sarah on Westside Rd. We continued along vineyards, admiring the architecture of the vineyard houses (except for one very out-of-place-looking ultra-modern house). The route meandered along some verdant rolling hills for a while on Westside Rd. We saw very, very few other riders, and not many cars, along the way, and it was very pleasant going. Sarah was good company, and we chatted as the miles rolled away. Before we knew it, we were at the last rest stop at a Sonoma County Water Agency (40.4mi).

The volunteer said there were only a few people ahead of us on the course. I guess most of the other folks doing the 50mi route slept in longer than we did! There was another friendly dog here to distract Denise :). Amy and the other Velo Girl didn't stop here, but we figured we'd probably catch them eventually. Soon after the rest stop, the road crossed a really cool bridge, so I stopped to take a few pictures. The water under the bridge was amazingly still and clear - had there been any fish, we would easily have seen them. The route zigged and zagged on various roads, continuing past many wineries Sarah on Slusser Rd. and vineyards. One of them (Sara Lee, on Slusser Rd.) had gorgeous landscaping alongside the road. We caught up to Amy and the other Velo Girl on Slusser Rd., and continued on our merry way to the finish.

At the finish, we checked in and got our patch and medal, the rest of the gang pulling in shortly afterwards. Denise, Ralph, and I grabbed some grub and talked to some other riders for a little bit. We thumbed through the photo album and found our pictures from Saturday, but mine wasn't very good, so I didn't buy it. There was a good acoustic guitar band playing, at a conversational volume even!

Denise & Ralph went off to shower, while I broke camp and drove home. I'm always amazed (and not in a good way) at the amount of traffic on Highway 101 south from Santa Rosa in the middle of a Sunday! 2'ish hours later I got home - what a fun weekend! I was glad I didn't do anything longer than 50 miles on Sunday, as my derierre would have been entirely too sore, plus it was nice riding with my friends, new and old. As always, the MS society did a bang-up job with the ride. There were SAG motorcycles a-plenty throughout both days, plenty of food, and many cheerful volunteers. The Waves to Wine remains one of my very favorite cycling events. What a great way to end my 2002 organized bike riding season!

Day 1 Ride Stats:
Distance: 77.1mi
Total Time: 6h 16m
On-bike Time: 4h 45m
Average Speed: 16.2mph
Average Speed
(including stops):
12.3mph
Maximum Speed: 42.7mph
Total Climbing: 2,925ft.
Calories burned: 4,651

Day 2 Ride Stats:
Distance: 52.6mi
Total Time: 4h 6m
On-bike Time: 3h 29m
Average Speed: 15mph
Average Speed
(including stops):
12.8mph
Maximum Speed: 35.9mph
Total Climbing: 1,505ft.
Calories burned: 2,798

Overall Ride Rating:
Difficulty: 2
Support: 5
Food: 4
Route: 5
Weather: 4
Overall: 4.5


Last modified 08 February, 2011 MST
Copyright © 2009 Adam R. Paul
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