Centuries & such:
2002 Waves to Wine Ride Report
(Saturday, September 28 - Sunday, September 29 in Santa Rosa, CA.)
(Click here for my photo album from this 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
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:
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.
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,
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
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
(34.9mi). This rest stop had tasty soup, available in
either chunky or broth form (I had the latter), and was complete with
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
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 :(
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).
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
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
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:
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
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.
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!
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
and vineyards. One of them (Sara Lee, on Slusser Rd.) had gorgeous
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
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:
Day 2 Ride Stats:
Overall Ride Rating: