Centuries & such:
(Saturday, September 13 - Sunday, September 14 in Santa Rosa, CA.)
See also my photo album from this ride
Pre-ride:Sarah and I arrived in Santa Rosa after an unusually-fast drive up from SF, checked in at the Luther Burbank Center, and drove to Sarah's friends Lee & Randy's place in Calistoga, where we spent the night. We woke up entirely too early at 5:30 and drove over to Santa Rosa. It was alarmingly warm at 6:30 when we arrived!
Day 1 - Waves:I ate half of a muffin, had some coffee, and found most of the rest of Team SunSpots. I bid Sarah adieu (she was riding the 50 or 75mi route while I was planning on the 100mi option). At 7:20, Stephen, Matt, Jeffrey, and I rolled out and set a fairly good clip along River Rd. I felt good on the only climb of any note (and its not much of a note), we skipped the first rest stop, just 7 miles into the ride, and had a very pleasant ride through Graton and on to Occidental. We skipped the rest stop here too, as it was under 10 miles, and almost all downhill, to the next stop. Jeffrey and Stephen rode a bit ahead, while Matt and I rode at our pace and talked about hiking and backpacking and suchlike. The road surface along the Russian River was pretty crappy, but it was nice scenery, though too shady for on-bike photography. We pulled into the third rest stop at Duncan Mills (25.8mi) at 8:53. We didn't stay very long, just enough to grab some food and top off our water.
It was a continued nice run out to Hwy. 1, south through Bodega Bay, along the coast, featuring excellent ocean views, and into rest stop 4 at Portuguese Beach (34.9mi) at 9:54. They had soup, which didn't sound very appealing to me, being as it was already getting pretty warm, but Stephen had some and said it was nice luke-cold and tasty. It seemed like a much smaller group of riders than on the other three times I've done this ride - too bad, as its a well-organized ride in lovely scenery for a great cause. After some stretching and enjoying the ocean vistas, we headed out, the fun part of the ride over.
It warmed alarmingly quickly as we left Bodega Bay - hmm, hot at the coast - this doesn't bode well for the inland leg of the ride! I rode with a nice fellow from Los Gatos fo a ways, and we traded pace-making duties up the myriad rolling hills typical of west Marin. It was hot hot hot, and I was regretting my decision to not bring my camelbak (the rest stops are mostly very close together on this ride, so I deemed two bottles sufficient). At 10:45 I rolled into lunch at the American Valley School (47.7mi).
Lunch was full of sandwichery - I enjoyed a tasty turkey pita, some pasta salad, and a couple handfulls each of pretzels and goldfish crackers. A nearby rider complained that although there was a good deal of climbing, we'd never broken 250ft. above sea level. Hurrah for rolling hills!
The first 47 miles had taken 3'ish hours, but I knew that pace wouldn't last, what with a likely rise in the temperature as I rode inland, plus an overabundance of sometimes-steep'ish rolling hills and if previous rides in this area were an indication (and they were), a headwind. After lunch it was hellishly hot as I slogged through the rolling, brown, odoriferous hills. The heat quickly withered myself along with my speed. Having been conditioned to having close-together rest stops, the 20 miles between lunch and the Green Valley Ranch (67.2mi) seemed endless, and my pace suffered greatly. My spirits weren't overly helped either, and of course the expected headwind materialized, although it wasn't too bad. At least it wouldn't have been had I not been riding in 100°F+ heat in not particularly scenic surroundings.
I don't remember too much about the remainder of the ride. Something about sweat, heat, brown rolling hills that never had a proper summit nor downhill. The last leg, from the Libby Park rest stop at 87.8mi to the end, wasn't too bad, and actually featured a small modicum of shade. I blew off the water stop at Willowside School, the start of my ill-fated attempt of this year's also-very-hot Terrible Two, and made my way back to the finish at as brisk a clip as I could muster, by now just wanting the discomfort to end. Finally at 16:23 I arrived back at the Luther Burbank Center. I found Sarah talking with a fellow VeloGirl, and SunSpot captain Jeffrey was nearby too. I was overwhelmed with a wave of nausea and had to sit down as I talked to Jeffrey. I was definitely dehydrated, moreso than I've been before, and I must say I did not like it one little bit. In a daze, I chucked back as much water as I could, and eventually started to feel more human, enough so that I managed to enjoy a glass of ice-cold sangria - a very nice touch!
Sarah drove back to Lee & Randy's in Calistoga while I spaced out, still not feeling too wonderful at all. I felt decidedly better after showering, and the four of us enjoyed a tasty pizza (but pretty poor service) in Calistoga. A cold drink and a long soak in Lee & Randy's hot tub made for an excellent cap to the evening.
Again I was reminded of why I prefer to ride the 75mi route on the first day of the Waves to Wine. The extra mileage is all brown hills, cow stink, and headwinds - not my favorite riding climes by far!
Day 2 - Wine:
- woke a little later and drove over to LBC - met Sarah's teammate Karen, with whom she'd ridden the 50mi course on Saturday - I was waffling on which route to do, being pretty sore and depleted-feeling from the super-hot century the previous day, but the 25mi route isn't too exciting, and the 50mi route is great, so I made my decision - 7:50 start w/Sarah and Karen - rolling hills skirting the east end of Sonoma Valley, then went into Napa Valley on Chalk Hill Rd. - few rollers, some steepish and some longer, but nothing difficult. - Legs definitely felt yesterday's efforts, though, and I was certainly not burning up the road. My excuse was that I wanted to ride this day with Sarah. - 8:56 arr. @ RS1 - realized that this was where I first met Sarah, almost exactly a year ago - next stretch was nearly flat, and only 7.5 miles away, so I enjoyed the scenery and company and kept a pretty mellow pace. - left knee started acting up here - 9:49 arr. @ RS2 - butt very sore! - we'd skipped this stop last year, as its very close to the previous one, but I've been curious ever since what its like, as its at the lovely grounds of the Chateau Souveraign Winery - same offerings as yesterday - I had a turkey and cheese pita, some pretzels and puffy cheesy bits - next stretch through Dry Creek Valley is gorgeous! - Sarah flatted on Dry Creek Rd and after a quick change we were on our way - continued lovely riding through copious vineyards - although warming, it was far, far, far nicer than Saturday's weather! - stopped briefly at Perry's Place RS3 on W. Dry Creek Rd. - more open vineyard views on Westside Rd., and some rollers - 12:01 arr @ RS4 - lingered a little bit, refilling our bottles with ice cubes and Gookinade - stopped at nearby bridge to take a few pics - Lovely landscaping at Saralee winery on Slusser Rd - final 4.5 miles on River Rd. a little anticlimactic, as its not too scenic, has a lot of traffic, and is a gradual uphill, but before long we all rolled into the finish - 13:02 arr @ end - showered, had tasty BBQ lunch at Lee & Randy's in Calistoga, then headed homeward
Overall Ride Rating (out of 10):